A whole mitochondria analysis of the Tyrolean Iceman’s leather provides insights into the animal sources of Copper Age clothing
Niall J. O’Sullivan, Matthew D. Teasdale, Valeria Mattiangeli, Frank Maixner, Ron Pinhasi, Daniel G. Bradley & Albert Zink
Abstract The attire of the Tyrolean Iceman, a 5,300-year-old natural mummy from the Ötzal Italian Alps, provides a surviving example of ancient manufacturing technologies. Research into his garments has however, been limited by ambiguity surrounding their source species. Here we present a targeted enrichment and sequencing of full mitochondrial genomes sampled from his clothes and quiver, which elucidates the species of production for nine fragments. Results indicate that the majority of the samples originate from domestic ungulate species (cattle, sheep and goat), whose recovered haplogroups are now at high frequency in today’s domestic populations. Intriguingly, the hat and quiver samples were produced from wild species, brown bear and roe deer respectively. Combined, these results suggest that Copper Age populations made considered choices of clothing material from both the wild and domestic populations available to them. Moreover, these results show the potential for the recovery of complete mitochondrial genomes from degraded prehistoric artefacts.
At the elite end of athletics one often sees extreme specialization of body type (other things too - muscle type, proportions, etc). I've sometimes thought it would be interesting to make a poster of the most elite for all sports. Now someone is doing that for the women of the Rio games. A Kickstarter project. This might make a nice gift for girls - showing them so many types can excel.
Some of the rewards are a bit spendy. Perhaps the way to go, assuming the project funds, would be the pdf... you can have those printed as books or booklets - or just read them on whatever glass you like.
a tip of the hat to Greg who sums it up with 'god, I love evolution'
Can the elongated hindwing tails of fluttering moths serve as false sonar targets to divert bat attacks?
Wu-Jung Lee and Cynthia F. Moss
It has long been postulated that the elongated hindwing tails of many saturniid moths have evolved to create false sonar targets to divert the attack of echolocation-guided bat predators. However, rigorous echo-acoustic evidence to support this hypothesis has been lacking. In this study, fluttering luna moths (Actias luna), a species with elongated hindwing tails, were ensonified with frequency modulated chirp signals from all angles of orientation and across the wingbeat cycle. High-speed stereo videography was combined with pulse compression sonar processing to characterize the echo information available to foraging bats. Contrary to previous suggestions, the results show that the tail echoes are weak and do not dominate the sonar returns, compared to the large, planar wings and the moth body. However, the distinctive twisted morphology of the tails create persistent echoes across all angles of orientation, which may induce erroneous sonar target localization and disrupt accurate tracking by echolocating bats. These findings thus suggest a refinement of the false target hypothesis to emphasize sonar localization errors induced by the twisted tails, and highlight the importance of physics-based approaches to study the sensory information involved in the evolutionary arms race between moths and their bat predators.