Page last updated at 23:24 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 00:24 UK

'Hitler skull' revealed as female

Skull fragment
Scientists said the bone fragment was too thin to be from an adult male

A bone fragment believed to be part of Adolf Hitler's skull has been revealed as being that of an unidentified woman, US scientists have said.

The section of bone - marked with a bullet hole - was used to support the theory that Hitler shot himself.

Russian scientists said the skull piece was found alongside Hitler's jawbone and had put it on display in Moscow.

But US scientists said DNA tests revealed it actually belonged to a woman aged between 20 and 40.

An archaeologist from the University of Connecticut travelled to Moscow, where the fragment has been on show in the city's federal archive since 2000, to take a sample.

Cyanide pill

Nick Bellantoni said he had suspected even before the bone was tested that the fragment did not come from an adult male.

"The bone was very small and thin, and normally male bones are much more robust in our species," he said.

"I thought it probably came from a woman or a younger man."

DNA tests confirmed that the bone fragment came from a female.

Doubts about exactly how Hitler died have persisted for decades.

Russian officials said that the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun - who reportedly committed suicide in a Berlin bunker in 1945 - were removed from a shell crater shortly after they died.

The piece of skull forms part of a collection that also includes a section of a bloodstained sofa where Hitler is believed to have shot himself after swallowing a cyanide pill.

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