Work by Professor Janet Montgomery and Dr. Joanna Moore at Durham, meanwhile, revealed that 'Greta' ate a diet of mainly plants, meat and milk, supplemented between the ages of six and 13 with marine protein such as fish and shellfish.
Once considered the oldest human remains found in the UK – an idea bolstered by the discovery of a mammoth tooth in the clay near her skull - 'Greta' vanished from view for four decades until she was rediscovered in storage at The Potteries Museum in Stoke by anthropologist David Adkins.
Dr Stewart, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Applied Science at the University of Brighton, said: “Sex estimation can be done by bone analysis and then confirmed using ancient DNA analysis - but this is dependent on the quality in preservation of the material. Tooth enamel, however, is the hardest tissue, and can preserve these proteins over thousands of years.
“We discovered that you can estimate sex from the most abundant protein found in tooth enamel: amelogenin. Amelogenin exists as two different forms, which vary according to the chromosome they originated from. Females only have what is known as the X isoform whereas males have both the X and Y isoforms.”