University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series > Deep time proteins: an eggcellent resource for reconstructing past human-environment interactions

Deep time proteins: an eggcellent resource for reconstructing past human-environment interactions

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  • UserBeatrice Demarchi, University of Turin World_link
  • ClockFriday 08 October 2021, 13:15-14:00
  • HouseOnline via zoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ruairidh Macleod.

Email organisers for zoom link: mae52@cam.ac.uk

Protein sequences preserved in the fossil record encode genetic information which, in some instances, can survive approximately ten times longer than DNA under the same conditions. As a consequence, the new discipline of palaeoproteomics (the study of ancient proteins by mass spectrometry) is currently having a tremendous impact on the study of the past, allowing us to address open questions in archaeology and palaeontology over unprecedented timescales, encompassing the whole of the Pleistocene and beyond. Here I discuss the role of deep-time proteins from non-conventional substrates, such as avian eggshell, in reconstructing past human-environment interactions. Focussing on the hotly debated issue of the early anthropic impact on natural landscapes, I tell the story of how ancient proteins helped us resolve a long-standing mystery involving giant extinct flightless birds, the first inhabitants of Australia, and the leftovers of cooked eggs.

This talk is part of the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series series.

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