What are two ways of dating fossils
Amelogenin has previously been used as a forensic sex determination test in humans and in other mammal species.
To the researchers who discovered them, these carefully arranged horns and skulls looked almost like modern-day hunting trophies.They use a mass spectrometer to detect the signatures of the Y chromosome and X chromosome specific peptide variations.The ability to determine the sex of infant and juvenile remains completely revolutionizes studies of growth, child care, epidemiology, and demography in the past.A recent paper by Nicolas Stewart and colleagues presents a way to determine the sex of ancient individuals by examining the composition of their tooth enamel: “Sex determination of human remains from peptides in tooth enamel”. Humans have two different genes for amelogenin, on the Y chromosome.The protein products of these genes have slightly different amino acid sequences.Enamel from males, who have both X and Y chromosomes, has a mix of the two proteins, while females have only the AMELX product.
Stewart and coworkers etch the ancient enamel with an acid, freeing protein fragments, or peptides.
Indeed, at 40,000 to 45,000 years old, Descubierta Cave may contain “possibly the strongest evidence yet for symbolic behavior in Neanderthals,” Arsuaga concludes—although, he says, alternative explanations are welcome.
I’ll be looking forward to hearing more about these discoveries.
For the first time, it will allow osteologists to examine sex-specific cultural treatment and differentiate between the health of boys and girls, as well as sex-specific growth trajectories and past developmental milestones, such as age of puberty and subsequent repercussions for fertility.
Sites with poor preservation are common in archaeological contexts, and at such sites teeth generally survive better than bone, and thus sex can be established for adults as well as juvenile skeletons in the absence of key skeletal identifiers.
I was especially impressed to learn about the glacial lake that extended across parts of the West Siberian Plain, in the Ob and Yenesei drainages. In the hatched area the ice margin position is unknown, probably because it was overrun by the 60 ka ice advance.