Scholars to Link Ancient Artefacts to Prehistoric Individuals by DNA

An image of ancient Paleolithic pendantInternationalIndiaAfricaArchaeologists have discovered an Upper Paleolithic deer tooth pendant in the famous Denisova Cave in Russia. The pendant was made between 19,000 and 25,000 years ago, and the researchers were able to reconstruct a precise genetic profile of the woman who used or wore the pendant, as well as of the deer from which the tooth was taken.An interdisciplinary research team, led by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, has developed a novel, non-destructive method for DNA isolation from bones and teeth. This breakthrough in ancient DNA research will enable researchers to directly link cultural objects to specific individuals and thus gain deeper insights into Paleolithic societies.Artifacts made of stone, bones, or teeth provide important insights into the subsistence strategies of early humans, their behavior, and culture. However, until now, it has been difficult to attribute these artifacts to specific individuals, since burials and grave goods were very rare in that era. This has limited the possibilities of drawing conclusions about, for example, division of labor or the social roles of individuals during this period.

The scientists focused specifically on artifacts made from skeletal elements, because these are more porous and are therefore more likely to retain DNA present in skin cells, sweat, and other body fluids. They tested the influence of various chemicals on the surface structure of archaeological bone and tooth pieces and developed a non-destructive phosphate-based method for DNA extraction.Beyond PoliticsTwo Large Viking Stashes From Harald Bluetooth-Era Unearthed in Denmark20 April, 06:47 GMTThis new way for DNA isolation from bones and teeth will enable researchers to directly identify the users of ornaments and tools produced in the distant past, providing deeper insights into Paleolithic communities. Artifacts made of stone, bones, or teeth provide important information about the subsistence strategies of early humans, their behavior, and culture.

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