Identifying outdated bones by scanning the collagen in them utilizing mass spectrometry

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Figure 1. Examples of peptide mass fingerprints for O. rufus, P. cinereus, S. harrisii, T. aculeatus, T. cynocephalus and V. ursinus. Credit: DOI: 10.1098/rsos.211229

A group of researchers from Australia, Germany, the U.S. and Canada has discovered that it’s attainable to determine outdated bones by scanning the collagen they comprise utilizing mass spectrometry. In their paper revealed within the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes utilizing the approach to determine extant monotreme and marsupial species on Australia’s Barrow Island.


Collagen is a fibrous protein sometimes present in connective tissue in people and different animals. Prior analysis has proven that it has a novel chemical signature between species. In this new effort, the researchers utilized that information to the research of bones discovered on Barrow Island.

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As the researchers word, determining which animal left its bones behind is very often troublesome, notably after they have change into fragmented. In the previous, zooarchaeologists have needed to depend on the form of the bones or tooth to determine them. To enhance on these strategies, the researchers studied the usage of mass spectrometry to determine collagen sources of their lab. Such efforts led to the event of a method they name ZooMS (zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry.)

The approach includes accumulating samples as small as a number of milligrams, dissolving them with sure enzymes after which scanning the outcomes with a mass spectrometer. Once scanned, the outcomes are in contrast with different samples which have already been recognized. During testing, the researchers recognized 24 distinctive species of creatures residing in Australia.

The researchers word that the approach just isn’t excellent, notably if there may be high diversity in a group of bones. They word that in some circumstances, the approach might solely have the ability to go so far as figuring out a genus for the bones underneath research. Still, the researchers had been in a position to make use of the approach to determine one species of turtle at a dig web site on Barrow’s Island. Prior analysis had proven that the massive assortment of bones there have been left on the island by indigenous divers within the nineteenth century who had been pressured to dive for pearls by European masters. The bones had been the stays of the animals the divers had captured to feed themselves.


New insights on animals in the African past


More info:
Carli Peters et al, Species identification of Australian marsupials utilizing collagen fingerprinting, Royal Society Open Science (2021). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.211229

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Identifying outdated bones by scanning the collagen in them utilizing mass spectrometry (2021, October 27)
retrieved 27 October 2021
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