Mice travelled to almost as many countries as the Nordic Vikings did around one thousand years ago, according to the results from a recent study conducted by scholars from the University of Uppsala, Sweden among other institutions. The results were recently published by the magazine BMC Evolutionary Biology.
The study looked at DNA of modern mice in Iceland and Greenland and compared it to the skeletons of Norwegian mice from the Viking era. “We demonstrate that they made it all the way to Greenland,” says Elenor Jones of the University of Uppsala, which is leading the study.
The study shows that the Icelandic mice are still of the same stem as mice from the Viking era. The reason is believed to be the fact that the mouse stock in Iceland has been isolated for the most part for centuries. According to Jones, the DNA in Icelandic mice today is identical to the mice DNA from the 9th century.
On the other hand, it is considered unlikely that Nordic mice made it to Newfoundland since only around 20 Vikings made it there and only stayed for a short period of time. It is however not possible to rule out since DNA from old remains of mice from that area for comparison is insufficient.
In Jones’ earlier studies, she demonstrated that Nordic mice settled in various places in the British Isles and Ireland. Most likely they got there by nesting in hay and corn which was transported in Viking ships in exchange for livestock, mbl.is reports.