DNA studies on two strands of hair and a tooth have ended a centuries old hunt for the tomb Nicolas Copernicus, the 16th century astronomer who shocked the world by declaring that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe, experts said.
The tests confirmed that remains found in Frombork Cathedral in northern Poland in 2005 are those of the man considered the father of modern astronomy, Polish archaeologist Jerzy Gassowski said.
Born in Torun, northern Poland, in 1473 the mathematician and clergyman is celebrated for his heliocentric theory of the universe which puts the Sun, rather than the Earth, at its centre.
Scientists compared genetic material from two strands of hair found in Calendarium Romanum Magnum, a book by Johannes Stoeffler published in 1518 and owned by Copernicus for many years, to a tooth from the skull found in Frombork.
“The two strands of hair found in the book have the same genome sequence as the tooth from the skull and a bone from Frombork,” scientist Marie Allen from Uppsala University in Sweden told journalists.
The Calendarium Romanum Magnum and other books that once belonged to Copernicus were taken to Sweden during the 17th Century Polish-Swedish wars and are now held by Uppsala University.
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