miércoles, 11 de junio de 2014

The Siberian jaw that could unlock our genetic secrets

Unique Paleolithic prize for scientists, a jaw of an early human who 'feasted on woolly mammoth' - but may have been cannibalised. 

1/7. 'This jaw is really unique because it is perfectly preserved. We can glean a lot of data: age, gender, race, even some diseases this person might have suffered from.' Picture: 'Krasnoyarsk Geoarheologiya'

Embedded in a hillside where it has lain for around 14,000 years, the adult jaw from Afontova mountain on the outskirts of Krasnoyarsk was found alongside the bones of animals and ancient tools.

Detailed DNA analysis, probably in Germany, will indicate to experts the age, gender, race (Caucasian or Mongoloid or a mix), and even possible diseases from ancient times.

Scientists will examine the jaw, which includes teeth, for evidence of ancient cannibalism, an initial suspicion which they cannot immediately confirm, but also for the possibility that mammoth meat was part of his diet.
These human remains did not lie in a grave but alongside the remnants of animals that were butchered, said research fellow Ivan Stasyuk. 'Why cannibalism? Because this jaw lies alongside weapons and chipped of bones of large ungulates,' he said, surmising that this human was slaughtered, and eaten, too.

'I would not jump to the conclusion of cannibalism,' countered his colleague Leonid Galuhin, also a research fellow at the company 'Krasnoyarsk Geoarheologiya', the deputy leader of excavation. 'For now the jaw has been taken to a Novosibirsk laboratory for all analyses, including trasological analysis, which will allow us to say for sure if there act of cannibalism or not.'

The jaw is likely to be sent to the world famous Max Plank laboratory in Germany for a full scale DNA analysis. [...] siberiantimes.com via archaeology.org


Actualización 13-06-14: Hallada en Siberia una mandíbula humana de hace 14.000 años
Incrustada en la ladera de una colina, donde ha yacido durante unos 14.000 años, la mandíbula de adulto procedente de Afontova, en el límite exterior de Kransoyarsk, ha sido hallada junto a los huesos de otros animales y herramientas. Sus investigadores plantean la posibilidad, aún no confirmada, de que el individuo fuera canibalizado...