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Richard III discovery spurs excitement, skepticism (+video)

Richard III's remains have been identified 'beyond reasonable doubt,' say researchers, but others are skeptical of the type of DNA match the team used to confirm his identity.

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Without detailed methods and statistics, Herridge and other scientists complained, it's difficult to judge the veracity of the findings.

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Not everyone criticized the University of Leicester's immediate announcement. The team avoided sensationalism, said Central Michigan University's Dobson.

"I think they went about it in probably the most rigorous way," Dobson told LiveScience. Criticisms of the press conference are "missing the point of this kind of discovery," he said, because public interest is huge.

"Whether there's a press conference or not, it's going to be covered by the media, because that character occupies a place in our cultural psyche," Dobson said. "In one sense, they are giving the public what the public demands, which is access to knowledge that would typically be restricted."

The responsibility of archaeologists, Dobson said, is to present that knowledge without cutting corners on scientific rigor.

Nor did the DNA results trigger universal skepticism, given the multiple clues consistent with the body being Richard III.

"It's an impressive undertaking that the University of Leicester has pulled off: Not only did they find the cemetery and the body, they confirmed through numerous lines of evidence that the body was likely that of Richard III," anthropologist Kristina Killgrove, a professor at the University of West Florida who was not involved in the study, told LiveScience.

Based on the research done in this case, Killgrove said, "I trust that they know what they're talking about and that it will stand up to peer review."

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas or LiveScience @livescience. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

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