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From molecules to animals: using ancient proteins to document human-animals interactions in Africa

Abstract : Proteins are the major component of bone organic fraction. Their long-term survival in the palaeontological and archaeological record has been attested up to 3.8 My in ostrich eggshell. Because they are translated during gene expression, proteins carry genetically derived features, providing crucial information in the absence of preserved DNA in archaeological remains. We will hereby focus on the advent of domestication, a major step that transformed the subsistence strategies of past human societies. In Africa, domestic caprines (sheep and goat) have not been domesticated locally, but rather imported for the Near East during the VIth millennium BCE. However, their diffusion across the continent was slow and their first appearance in the southern part of the continent is only documented since the IVth century BCE. Through the review of the methodological advances that occurred in the past two decades in the field of palaeoproteomics, we will see how ancient proteins can help documenting herds and population migrations in arid environments, thus becoming a valuable tool for the study of past human’s subsistence strategies.
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Contributor : Louise Le Meillour Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 1:54:28 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 7, 2022 - 5:55:04 AM


  • HAL Id : mnhn-03202775, version 1



Louise Le Meillour, Pleurdeau David, Severine Zirah, Joséphine Lesur, Antoine Zazzo. From molecules to animals: using ancient proteins to document human-animals interactions in Africa. Journée thématique du Réseau national CAI-RN « Compétences archéométriques interdisciplinaires » de la Mission pour initiatives transverses et interdisciplinaires du CNRS - Approches physico-chimiques pour la caractérisation des matières organiques en archéométrie et sciences de la conservation : un état de la question, Nov 2019, Paris, France. ⟨mnhn-03202775⟩



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