The Bible claimed that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out according to God’s orders, but a new genetic research study reveals a different story.
As it turns out, the Canaanites survived God’s order, and their DNA lives on in Lebanon, where over 90% of Lebanese derive their ancestry from Canaanites, according to a study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
“We know about ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks, but we know very little about the ancient Canaanites because their records didn’t survive,” lead author Marc Haber told the New York Times.
The Canaanites once roamed in the Near East region and beyond, mostly known as modern day parts of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
To learn more about the Canaanites, DNA was retrieved from the ancient skeletons found at the Sidon excavation site in Lebanon. Out of the two dozen bones that were investigated for genetic material, only five contained ancient DNA.
The DNA was then compared with a database containing genetic information from hundreds of human populations. Results were further compared with the genomes of nearly 100 of modern-day Lebanese people, showing about 93-percent of them shared DNA with the samples from the Bronze Age.
“What we see is that since the Bronze Age, this ancestry, or the genetics of the people there, didn’t change much,” Haber said. “It changed a little, but it didn’t change much, and that is what surprised me.”
Haber added that genetics are powerful in helping answering the questions that can’t be necessarily answered by archaeology or historical records.