It seems that scientists, especially archaeologists, have found a way to uncover the past of the first men by digging and analyzing DNA in the earth. It is more precisely the sedimentary DNA recovered in archaeological sites pretty much everywhere in the world. The results of this great discovery were recently published in a journal.
Generally, archaeological sites consist of the remains of animals and plants. Sometimes archaeologists manage to find some bones. But thanks to recent advances in genetic research and some microscope technology, it is now possible to search DNA molecules.
After hard work and a long process, scientists are finally sharing the results of their research. This is undoubtedly a big step towards discovery of the origin of the first men.
How did the scientists do it?
The team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig is on the right track to detect thehistory of ancient men. Published in the newspaper Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, their research focused on DNA conservation in sediments. These have been recovered from 13 archaeological sites in Europe, the United States, but especially in Africa and North America.
In reality, these sediments are already collected and prepared for 40 years in the sites. Scientists only had to split them into several blocks to better study them. The blocks are then immersed in a synthetic resin of the plastic type. This process allows first to understand how the sites were formed.
Then, the sediments soaked in resins are sliced in a thin layer for themicroscopic imaging and thegenetic analysis. Using a dental burr, the scientists drilled a hole in the slice of sediment to recover as much DNA as possible.
Obviously, to achieve this kind of feat, you need a sophisticated material state-of-the-art that ancient archaeologists had never had the chance to possess.
Can the origin of man be explained?
Targeting and genetic analysis of sedimentary DNAs is then the easiest. It’s just a matter of time before science shows the hidden clues about the past of the human being. In addition to the remains of plants and animals, researchers easily obtained DNA molecules from ancient humans. Thus, archaeologists were able to identify the species that once lived on earth as well as their age and sex.
They discovered several species of mammals, including the famous Neanderthals and the modern men. Scientists have also been able to identify a mysterious group known as the “Denisovans” from sediment in Denisova Cave, southern Siberia.
These recent discoveries and in particular genetic research make it possible to study the geographical distribution, the chronology and the population behavior human beings of the past. Now scientists know where to look for ancient DNAs and how to analyze them for future research.