Generations of historians have questioned why the Picts seemed to disappear from history after fighting the Romans and Vikings.
But BritainsDNA has found a new DNA marker that suggests they are alive and well and “living among us”.
Dr Jim Wilson, chief scientist for the group, has found a new Y chromosome marker that arose among the direct ancestors of the Picts.
He tested the new “fatherline” in more than 3,000 British and Irish men and found an “amazing statistic” suggesting it was ten times more common in men with Scottish grandfathers, than in men with English grandfathers.
Ten per cent of the more than 1,000 Scottish men tested carry the R1b-S530 marker, while less than one per cent of Englishmen have it.
Dr Wilson said the difference was “highly statistically signiflicant” and could be applied to the general population. About three per cent of men in Northern Ireland also carry the marker, but it was only seen once in more than 200 men from the Republic of Ireland.