Molecular and morphological analyses of avian eggshell excavated from a late thirteenth century earth oven
Oskam, C.L., Jacomb, C., Allentoft, M.E., Walter, R., Paul Scofield, R., Haile, J., Holdaway, R.N. and Bunce, M. (2011) Molecular and morphological analyses of avian eggshell excavated from a late thirteenth century earth oven. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38 (10). pp. 2589-2595.
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Using ancient DNA (aDNA) extracted from eggshell of the extinct moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes) we determined the species composition and number of eggs found in a late thirteenth century earth oven feature at Wairau Bar (South Island, New Zealand) - one of New Zealand's most significant archaeological sites. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA signatures confirmed this oven feature contained fragments of at least 31 moa eggs, representing three moa genera: Emeus; Euryapteryx; Dinornis. We demonstrate through the genetic identification of 127 moa eggshell fragments that thickness is an unreliable character for species assignment. We also present a protocol for assessing the preservation likelihood of DNA in burnt eggshell. This is useful because eggshell fragments found in archaeological contexts have often been thermally modified, and heat significantly increases DNA fragmentation. Eggshell is widely used in radiocarbon dating and stable isotope research, this study showcases how aDNA can also add to our knowledge of eggshell in both archaeological and palaeoecological contexts.
|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology|
|Copyright:||© 2011 Elsevier Ltd.|
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