Ancient proteins resolve controversy over the identity of Genyornis eggshell.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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Demarchi, B., Stiller, J., Grealy, A., Mackie, M., Deng, Y., Gilbert, T., Clarke, J., et al. (2022). Ancient proteins resolve controversy over the identity of Genyornis eggshell.. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, e2109326119. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2109326119
SignificanceThe controversy over the taxonomic identity of the eggs exploited by Australia's first people around 50,000 y ago is resolved. The birds that laid these eggs are extinct, and distinguishing between two main candidates, a giant flightless "mihirung" Genyornis and a large megapode Progura, had proven impossible using morphological and geochemical methods. Ancient DNA sequencing remains inconclusive because of the age and burial temperature of the eggshell. In contrast, ancient protein sequences recovered from the eggshell enabled estimation of the evolutionary affinity between the egg and a range of extant taxa. The eggs are those of a Galloanseres (a group that includes extinct Dromornithidae, as well as extant landfowl and waterfowl), Genyornis, and not of the megapode (Megapodiidae, crown Galliformes).
Australia, Genyornis eggshell, ancient DNA, megafaunal extinction, paleoproteomics
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2109326119
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/337712
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