Friday, December 2, 2011
Genetic forensics that have a more "artistic" approach
Cave paintings drawn over 20,000 years ago depict images of many animals, most notably in France, those of horses. Archaeologists have been trying to determine for years whether or not these cave images represent actual creatures that coexisted with the human artists that drew these cave wall frescos, or creatures derived from their imaginations. DNA from the bones and teeth of remains found in the area showed that the creatures have black or brown coats, the same colors depicted in many of the drawings, with aesthetic traits such as spotted patterns known as leopard, being prevalent in both pieces of evidence. The DNA extraction from such old remains was a difficult process; factors such as contamination, which plagued DNA evidence from the Netharlands years before, needed to be taken seriously. In order to combat said issues, precautionary measures include UV lights for sterilization, HEPA filter air flow, clean suits and bleach. With biological data and artistic history filling each remnant to the brim, no amount of safe collection procedure is too great.