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Richard III discovery spurs excitement, skepticism (+video)

Richard III's remains have been identified 'beyond reasonable doubt,' say researchers, but others are skeptical of the type of DNA match the team used to confirm his identity.

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The announcement that the bones of English King Richard III have been identified "beyond reasonable doubt" has spurred excitement — and some skepticism — among the archaeological community.

"I'm really excited by it," said Lemont Dobson, a historian and archaeologist at the School of Public Service and Global Citizenship at Central Michigan University. "This is one of those things where people are talking about archaeology and real science, not pseudoscience on television."

On Twitter, "Richard III" was trending Monday morning, a fact that generated some amusement among users.

"Man, when's the last time 'Richard III' was trending? Tewkesbury?" wrote GristList editor Jess Zimmerman, referring to a 1471 battle in the War of the Roses in which a young Richard played a role. That ongoing civil war would take Richard III's life 14 years later, two years after his ascent to the throne.

But some scientists struck a more sober note, warning that ancient DNA analysis is subject to contamination, and grumbling that the results were revealed via press conference prior to peer-review by fellow researchers. [Gallery: The Search for Richard III]


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