'Tis the season to be jolly! Archaeologists have something to celebrate this year after studying a bone fragment that was said to have been from the body of Saint Nicolas. Radiocarbon dating and careful analysis have given these scientists evidence that this piece of bone came from the body of the real-life Santa Claus.

Using DNA testing known as ancient palaeogenomics, the research team from Oxford University will be able to compare this bone fragment to the relics supposedly belonging to Saint Nicholas in Basilica di San Nicola in southern Italy.

The results will show whether or not the bones all belonged to the same individual. As of now, scientists strongly believe that the bones will be a match.

The legend of St. Nicholas

Saint Nicholas was a real person who inspired the popular myth of Santa Claus. He was a Greek who was born in 270AD in Lycia, modern-day Turkey. After becoming the Bishop of Myra, he was arrested and thrown in prison by the Romans.

With the accession of Emperor Constantine, Saint Nicholas was released from prison and later asked to join the Council of Nicaea in 325. This meeting was held to decide on the divine nature in relation to the Holy Trinity. The attendees also constructed the Nicene Creed, set an official date for Easter, and publicized canon law.

Saint Nicholas was well known for doing good deeds for his community and working with children. He died at the age of 73 in early December of 343AD, but his legend lives on in the form of Santa Claus.

Relics and fakes

Due to the popularity of Santa Claus, many churches all around the world claim to have a piece of his remains.

When a Saint passes away, the remnants of his/her body become known as relics. The majority of the bones from Saint Nicholas are said to be in Basilica di San Nicola in Italy with a few others at another location in Venice.

This particular bone fragment was discovered in Lyon, France by Father Dennis O'Neill. Results of radiocarbon dating put the bone in the 4th century AD, which coincides with the death of Saint Nicholas.

Another piece of evidence to support the theory of this bone being from Santa Claus is that the remains in Italy do not contain the pelvis. The fragment under analysis is part of the left pubis, making scientists more confident in saying that it may be from the same body.

The bones in Italy still need to be tested in order to say for certain that they all belonged to the same person. Scientists are optimistic that they will soon be able to verify that the body of Santa Claus has been found.