"Santa's bone," a fragment that has been said to belong to the remains of the fourth-century saint that inspired the story of Father Christmas, has been dated to that era, BBC reported.
Scientists have long speculated that the relic comes from St. Nicholas, but there has never been any conclusive proof. Radiocarbon testing has now placed the bone fragment in the same era that the Christian saint lived — the fourth century AD, according to BBC.
While this may still not prove that the bone, a pelvis fragment, is that of St Nicholas, it is the first test performed on the relic and takes researchers from the University of Oxford a step closer in positively identifying the remains.
"Many relics that we study turn out to date to a period somewhat later than the historic attestation would suggest," said Professor Tom Higham, director of the Oxford Relics Cluster at Keble College's Advanced Studies Centre, according to The Telegraph. "This bone fragment, in contrast, suggests that we could possibly be looking at remains from St. Nicholas himself."
Archaeologist widely believe that St. Nicholas lived in Turkey, previously known as Myra and, according to The Mirror, the majority of his remains have been held in a crypt in Basilica di San Nicola, in Bari, Italy, since 1087.
Over the years, various fragments have been obtained by churches across the world and the bone tested by Oxford belongs to Father Dennis O'Neill, of St Martha of Bethany Church, in Illinois, United States.
With hundreds of fragments believed to belong to St Nicholas being distributed far and wide, researchers now intend to use DNA testing to establish whether the pelvis bone belongs to the relics from the remains in Bari.
"It is exciting to think that these relics, which date from such an ancient time, could in fact be genuine," said Dr Georges Kazan, co-director of the center at Keble College, according to BBC.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.