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There Could Be a Big Problem With the Discovery of King Richard III's Bones

There Could Be a Big Problem With the Discovery of King Richard III's Bones

"The DNA results presented today are too weak..."

Earlier in the week, the hot news was that at team of researchers at the University of Leicester had identified “beyond reasonable doubt” using DNA analysis the lost bones of King Richard III, which were found under a parking lot after being missing for centuries. But other researchers are now saying not so fast.

The 500-year-old bones were at first speculated by the Leicester researchers to belong to the supposed English monarch due to evidence of wounds that would have corresponded with Richard III's death and scoliosis, which could have earned him the description of being a hunchback, LiveScience reported. DNA analysis of a living descendant of Richard III -- Michael Ibsen -- is what lead the researchers to claim the bones were in fact that of the lost monarch.

A television screen displays the skeletal remains of what is believed to be King Richard III during a press conference at Leicester University on February 4. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

But other researchers say there could be flaws in the DNA evidence.

"The DNA results presented today are too weak, as they stand, to support the claim that DNA is actually from Richard III," Maria Avila, a computational biologist at the Center for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, said according to LiveScience. "Perhaps more in-depth DNA analysis summed to the archaeological and osteological [bone analysis] results would make a round story."

LiveScience pointed out that the announcement of the supposed finding of Richard III's bones was made before a peer review was conducted of the research. The team will be submitting their research for peer review and publication.

A facial reconstruction of King Richard III is unveiled by the Richard III Society on February 5, 2013 in London. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Still, even with some skepticism, other scientists are on board with the findings.

"I think they went about it in probably the most rigorous way," Central Michigan University  historian Lemont Dobson told LiveScience. He said those criticizing the findings are "missing the point" of the announcement, which is public interest.

And the general public was relatively interested in the find. According to LiveScience, Richard III was trending on Twitter Monday after the announcement.

Watch this video of the unveiling of Richard III's facial reconstruction:

(H/T: io9)

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