DNA Testing of Sitting Bull’s Hair Confirms Great Grandson in 73-Year-old Man in South Dakota

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DNA testing has confirmed that a seventy-three-year-old man from South Dakota is Sitting Bull’s great-grandson…

Scientists have used a sample of Sitting Bull’s hair to help them confirm that Ernie LaPointe from South Dakota is the great-grandson of the Native American leader.

It comes after LaPointe insisted for many years that he was a descendant of the leader, Insider reports.

The relation was confirmed this week after scientists used a new DNA testing method.

The new method, which took DNA from a sample of Sitting Bull’s hair, allows analysis of DNA fragments from people who are dead, the BBC reports.

The method, which took fourteen years to get right, was developed by scientists who were led by Eske Willerslev, director of the Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre at the University of Cambridge, the outlet reports.

As per Insider, Willerslev spoke with Reuters and explained: “LaPointe asked me to extract DNA from it and compare it to his DNA to establish the relationship.

“I got very little hair and there was very limited DNA in it. It took us a long time developing a method that, based on limited ancient DNA, can be compared to that of living people across multiple generations.”

As per the BBC, LaPointe also told Reuters: “I feel this DNA research is another way of identifying my lineal relationship to my great-grandfather.”

“People have been questioning our relationship to our ancestors as long as I can remember. These people are just a pain in the place you sit – and will probably doubt these findings, also.”

The Insider reports that this is the first time that DNA from a deceased person has been used to prove a biological connection to a living person.

A development like this could enable further descendants to be matched to prominent historic figures.