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Video: Queen's University Belfast boffins get to bottom of Hannibal Alps riddle in piece of 2,000-year-old elephant poo

One of the greatest historical questions ever may finally have been answered in the shape of 2,000 year old dung.

Scientists from Northern Ireland believe they may have pinpointed the route taken by Hannibal as he crossed the Alps with 30,000 men, 37 elephants and more than 15,000 horses and mules in a bid to bring the mighty Roman army to its knees.

Microbiologists from Queen's University are part of a team that has found traces of faeces in earth taken from a site in France and have established it dates back to 218 BC - the time when Hannibal and his troops were making their way through the region.

It is an incredible breakthrough that could bring to an end 2,000 years of furious debate by historians, statesmen and academics.

Dr Chris Allen, from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's, explained: "It is very exciting. It is one of those questions - an enigma if you like - that has been around for an awful lot of time and that no one has been able to find the answer to."

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