DNA of ancient humans found in mud. New method will transform archaeology?
Scientists have developed a new method for extracting DNA even in the absence of skeletal remains. It has established genetic material of ancient humans from sediments at archaeological sites.
There are many research sites in Europe and Asia, in whichórych tools and other artifacts of prehistoric humans have been found, but remains of the humans themselves are rare.
Researchers at the Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology of the im. At the Max Planck University of Leipzig, researchers have developed a new method for extracting DNA material. With próbek settlementsóin collected from seven archaeological sites, researchers have fished out small fragments of mitochondrial DNA belonging to ró¿mammalsówku, including to our extinct relatives.
The researchers analyzed nearly 100 próbek of sediment collectedów from archaeological sites from seven caves located in Asia and Europe. Mud and other sediments so far removed proved to be an extremely valuable source ofóI found a place where information about our ancestors.
The new method may helpóc unveil previously unknown facts about the ancient inhabitants of theóin the surveyed areaów. It will also allow scientists to discover genetic links between extinct human species and shed new light on the evolutionary history of the.
– We already knew that several components of theóIn the settlementsów can bind DNA. That’s why we decided to investigate whether the DNA of ancient people could have survived in the settlements at the archaeological sites, about which weór which are known to have been inhabited by ancient hominids – said Matthias Meyer of the Max Planck Institute.
To this end, Meyer and his teamóThey have started aóThey collaborated with archaeologists from Belgium, Croatia, France, Russia and Spain. They analyzed próbki settlementsów covering the time span from 14,000 to over 550,000 years ago. In doing so, they obtained fragments of mitochondrial DNA and identified them as belonging to twelve róof sedentary mammalian familiesów. The sediments contained traces of DNA m.In. The mammoth woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, cave bear or cave hyena. They also found traces of Neanderthal DNAów and Denisovans – a little-studied variety of hominidów.
Most of the próbek came from archaeological sites where no skeletal remains were found. – Thanks to a new method, we can detect the presence of hominidóin places and areas where this cannot be achieved by other methods – said Svante Pääbo, wspóroutor of research. – This shows that DNA analysis of settlementsów are a very useful archaeological procedure, whichóra may become routine in the future – added.
The new method, German researchers say, can detect DNA even in próbkach settlementsóin, które stored at room temperature for many years. Analysis of these and freshly dug próbek of settlementsóIn obtained from archaeological sites, in which theórych no human remains have been foundów, could shed new light on settlements in the excavation sites and on our support ofóln genetic history.