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Ancient microbial DNA in dental calculus: a promising tool for studying past human movements
Image of dental calculus (c) Dr Raphael Eisenhofer
Thirty years ago, Keith Dobney and Don Brothwell discovered that ancient dental calculus from humans and other animals contains calcified microorganisms. Today, technological and analytical improvements have given us an opportunity to investigate the DNA of these ancient microorganisms and harness this information to learn more about human prehistory. In this seminar I will explore the potential (and challenges) of applying ancient DNA techniques to human dental calculus and explain how the microbial DNA preserved within dental calculus may be well suited to inferring past human movements. I will present the latest work on applying these techniques to ancient dental calculus from the Pacific, with the goal of reconstructing past human movements in Polynesia.
Raphael obtained his bachelor’s degree (honours) in molecular microbiology at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. He then undertook a PhD at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. His PhD thesis has just been accepted, and he is now working as a post-doctoral researcher for the Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage at the University of Adelaide.
This is a combined Biological Anthropology Research (BAR) and Centre for Archaeological Research (CAR) seminar
Date & time
Thu 04 Oct 2018, 4–5.30pm
SIR ROLAND WILSON BUILDING SEMINAR ROOM 2/3 (3.03/3.04)