W5 Reflection Post

1. For me the most interesting discovery among the top 10 discoveries found in 2015 is the skull that was found in St. Martin. I think it is really amazing that archaeologists could actually combined the technique used in molecular biology by tracing the genetic materials. I am also curious and amazed that long time buried DNA can still be retrieved and analyzed with next generation sequencing technology. As far as I know, genetic material would be degraded easily after certain period of time. However, this is a really great discovery and analysis overall, where they could date back and compare with modern African populations.

2. The cultural material found is a skull displaying a filed teeth of a person of African origin, but it was discovered in the Caribbean island of St. Martin. It had been found by construction workers in 2010. From this discovery of skeletal remain, they successfully analyzed it with a new technology which then figured a way to trace back to their ethnic origin.

3. In my perspective as a student majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, I am really impressed on how sequencing technology, which recently used by scientists and researchers, is actually useful in archaeology as well. I never thought that fragmented DNA which might have been buried more thousands years ago can still be retrieved and analyzed. Because in the laboratory settings, pure isolated DNA would be really vulnerable to degradation and would not be accurate anymore if they are degraded. So, I believe that retrieval of genetic material from the skull is not a usual things that have been used by archaeologists, and must have been followed a strict rule to be able to recover them.

I choose this discovery as my #1 because it is discussing about how archaeologists used the analytical method in the field of molecular biology (DNA sequencing technology). I am quite familiar with how this technology worked, and so I am amazed that this technology is actually helpful not only for researchers in the field but also archaeologists. The other discovery that also attracted me is the world’s oldest pretzel which was recovered in Germany. I still feel that it does not make sense at all that baked goods have been staying there since 18th century. I imagine that baked goods when left in one place even only for a year will be totally covered with mold, or it might have been eaten by animals or microorganisms.

2 thoughts on “W5 Reflection Post

  1. That is awesome I am a BMB major too, small world! Anyways, like you, I thought that this was by far the coolest discovery out of the ten. I was really shocked they could use such recent scientific experiments like that to test for DNA that old too. And yes I also agree with you how it’s really cool to see archaeologists using these tests on their sites as well, unlike us only doing them in a lab setting. Another thing I thought was crazy was that from all that old segmented DNA, they gained a great amount of information about the origins of the people and what slave patterns they might have traveled.

  2. I thought it was a worthy find from 2015 as well. I did not choose this article for the number but after reading your review of it I see it has a lot more worth than I originally thought. Using technology in news ways to discover so much about a site and even cultural patterns from the past. As a history major this article does not resonant with me like it does with you. I find that interesting in itself and wonder how many people were influenced by the major they were in. It is very helpful to see how perspectives change a neutral article and how different the thoughts of two people reading it are.

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