A new DNA test lets researchers in on the eye and hair colors of people who have been dead for decades—or centuries. Scientists have learned, for instance, that a woman buried among monks in a medieval tomb had brown eyes and brownish hair. They've also deduced the eye and hair colors of 12 people killed by the Nazis whose identities have never been known; their skulls were displayed in a museum as belonging to "sub-humans."
"This system can be used to solve historical controversies where color photographs or other records are missing," a scientist says. Known as HIrisPlex, the DNA test can be applied to bones and teeth. The first test was on a tooth belonging to Poland's World War II general Wladyslaw Sikorski, who died in 1943. It showed that Sikorski—of whom no color photos exist—was 99% likely to have had blue eyes and 85% likely to have had blond hair. That matches descriptions of him, AFP reports.