Skip to comments.We should gene-sequence cave paintings to find out more about who made them
Posted on 02/16/2019 5:29:24 PM PST by SunkenCiv
...the origin of these artworks is shrouded in mystery. Nobody is quite sure what the artists used for paint or binder, how the pigmentation has been preserved for so long, and -- most controversial of all -- exactly when the images were made... Today we get a unique insight into this question thanks to the work of Clodoaldo Roldán at the University of Valencia in Spain and colleagues... One way to date ancient artifacts is with carbon dating. But this works only with pigments that have a biological origin, and with the exception of black, most of them do not. That's one reason there is widespread disagreement over dates. Roldán and co take an entirely different approach. They used a sterile scalpel to take tiny scrapings from the surface of the art. These samples include some pigment, its binding material, and any bacteria on the surface. They also took scrapings from blank rock that had been recently exposed because of rock fall... The sequencing techniques also revealed a wide range of proteins in the pigment, including bovine albumin and casein. That's an important result. One theory for the way these rock paintings were made is that ancient painters mixed the pigment into cow butter and then smeared it over the rock walls... If the images were created with cow butter, that could only have been possible in communities that had domesticated cows. In other words, the paintings must have been produced in Mesolithic communities that had begun to farm, and not in Neolithic communities based on hunting and gathering... if the art contains biological materials, radiocarbon dating should be possible. So the new work opens the possibility that this technique should work, provided a big enough sample can be obtained.
(Excerpt) Read more at technologyreview.com ...
Shaving the article down a little got rid of some of the gee-whiz vibe.
if they can pull DNA from ‘cow butter’ wouldn’t they also be able to potentially isolate human dna from scraping the skin of fingers on the rock as they painted with the butter?
That would be nice, but since the cow butter may not exist in large enough quantity, it's unlikely human DNA would remain in sufficient quantity (and quality). The cow butter wasn't ID'd at all, but is guessed to have been present because "a wide range of proteins in the pigment, including bovine albumin and casein" is present.
It's all about the primer.
A five legged elk?
My guess is that this painting comes from Drunken Og during his Elk Period.
Its a warning!
Animal farts will kill you!
Look at the artists bold depiction of elk flatulence.
Its like you can smell it today!
Wait a minute......filthy dogs! Smells like they ate a skunk.
WE always make the animals sleep outside the cave. Just saying.,
I thought that was going to be a hunting painting with like a dog pointing a pheasant.
Imagine my surprise to find a painting of my family reunion.
Cousin Mike does have three legs, but nobody can run with the bread like him!
Alas, I muffed the image URL.
Yeah, but you probably have obedient dogs.
My dogs are gassy, obedience school dropouts.
Its not like you forgot which basket was yours and scored the winning basket for your crosstown rival, Central School Of Art and Ditch Digging.
Ill never live that one down.
They even put me in their yearbook as a member of their basketball team.
Hold on a minute.
You live in a cave?
Does it have marble countertops in the kitchen?
If so, itll be on the market 25 days less than the average cave.
At least in this area.
Oh, youve met my family.
You mean one of those rooms in the basement where a husband can have a bar and sports stuff and a big screen tv.
I dont have one of those.
The closest thing Ive got to that is a Man Closet.
Well, half a closet.
Ok, its like four shirts and my good pants, but its mine.
I can refer you to either a RE broker or an attorney
My experience with Realtors and Lawyers has not been good.
They got their hands in my pockets faster than my wife.
And at least its kind of fun with her.
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