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Publications

Members of the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre are active in different research projects.

Evolution of the Mylodontidae and Arborealism in Sloths

Nuclear and mitochondrial data from Darwin's extinct ground sloth shows close relation to two-fingered sloths and supports multiple origins for arboreality.

May 25, 2018

Ancient DNA and Isotopes Reveal Roman Italian Ancestry and Family Relationships

McMaster Researcher reveal complex population dynamics in the wake of Roman subjugation of the Italian Peninsula (3rd century BCE)

May 09, 2018

Whole genomes reveal messy history of promiscuous proboscideans

A new collaboration between researchers at the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre and international researchers from across the United States, Europe, and Australia has resulted in the most comprehensive study of elephant evolution to-date.

Feb 27, 2018

Testing the validity of stable isotope analyses of dental calculus as a proxy in paleodietary studies

Stable isotopic analyses (δ13C, δ15N) of dental calculus have been suggested as a proxy for the study of diet of ancient populations but questions about their validity have been raised.

Feb 06, 2018

The paradox of HBV evolution as revealed from a 16th century mummy

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a ubiquitous viral pathogen associated with large-scale morbidity and mortality in humans. However, there is considerable uncertainty over the time-scale of its origin and evolution.

Jan 04, 2018

Genetic Discontinuity between the Maritime Archaic and Beothuk Populations in Newfoundland, Canada

By examining the mitochondrial genome diversity and isotopic ratios of 74 ancient remains in conjunction with the archaeological record, we have provided definitive evidence for the genetic discontinuity between the maternal lineages of these populations. This northeastern margin of North America appears to have been populated multiple times by distinct groups that did not share a recent common ancestry, but rather one much deeper in time at the entry point into the continent.

Oct 16, 2017

A molecular portrait of maternal sepsis from Byzantine Troy

Pregnancy complications are poorly represented in the archeological record, despite their importance in contemporary and ancient societies. While excavating a Byzantine cemetery in Troy, we discovered calcified abscesses among a woman’s remains.

Jan 12, 2017

17th Century Variola Virus Reveals the Recent History of Smallpox

The partially mummified remains of a young child have offered a unique insight into the history of a once-feared disease. The remains, recovered from the crypt of the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, Lithuania, have been dated to the mid-17th century.

Dec 08, 2016

Plasmodium falciparum malaria in 1st–2nd century CE southern Italy

Using ancient DNA technology, we were able to retrieve over 50% of the Plasmodium falciparum mitochondrial genome from two adults in different localities.

Dec 05, 2016