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A title to include the word “baa”

File this under d’oh — why didn’t I think of that? Important documents have been written on parchment for thousands of years, right? Some still are. Parchment is made from the skin of cows, goats and sheep, right? We’ve got millions and millions of ’em. In the case of many documents, with actual dates written on.

In other words, stuff that can be DNA sampled!

Eh? Eh? Millions of precisely dated DNA samples going back millenia. What an awesome reservoir of information! I mean, if you think the evolution of domestic animals is interesting (and who doesn’t?).

If you’re at all interested (and who isn’t?) have a look at the Royal Society’s longer explanation of some of the ongoing studies. Good stuff.

Some samples, for example, show the DNA of several species…meaning that a variety of different animal hides were being batch-processed. Thereby telling us a little bit about industrial production methods.

Selective breeding didn’t start until the 18th C in Britain and, apparently, the shift from somewhat random characteristics to breeding for specifics is showing up the in the record.

Oh, and the Dead Sea scrolls were written on ibex and goat skin.

By the way, if you hit the Society link and are fascinated (as I was) by the thumbnail in the sidebar, the cover of the January 2015 Philosophical Transactions, I am sorry to tell you that is a photo of a pile of bones, not the skull of a single fabulous monster. Boo.

sock it to me

December 10, 2014 — 7:59 pm
Comments: 6