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Ancient Warrior, Analyzed

Ancient DNA analysis and archaeological findings suggests a medieval warrior from Finland may have been nonbinary, NPR reports.

It adds that the warrior's grave was first uncovered in 1968 and the remains were buried with traditional female clothing and jewelry as well as a sword. In their paper, researchers from Finland and Germany, noted that the finding largely had been interpreted as evidence of female leaders and warriors in Finland, though others rejected the idea and instead suggested it was a double burial site.

As they report in European Journal of Archaeology, the University of Turku's Ulla Moilanen and her colleagues conduct a new, detailed analysis of the grave and isolate DNA from the remains for analysis. They found that the individual likely had an XXY karyotype, which is characteristic of Klinefelter's syndrome, and was likely anatomically male. Individuals with Klinefelter's syndrome, they note, can have a range of clinical features from subtle to more pronounced.

Moilanen tells NPR that the findings underscore that "biology does not directly dictate a person's self-identity" and that, judging by how the remains were buried, the warrior was likely respected in the community.