Anthropology and Human Genetics

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Decomposition research

All investigations of skeletal finds, whether histological or molecular biological, depends on the degree of preservation. Decomposition research therefore belongs to the research focusses of our research group. Causes and processes leading to decomposition or preservation of the inorganic and organic compounds of a skeleton are investigated.

It is indispensable to tell the degree of preservation until which a molecule still preserves its original, biological signal (e.g. isotopic ratio). Furthermore, means must be found for a quick and reliable assessment of the general state of preservation before the application of time and money intensive archaeometric methods. E.g., does a relationship exist between histological appearance, collagen and DNA preservation?

Gisela Grupe (2007): Taphonomic and diagenetic processes. In: Winfried Henke, Hartmut Rothe, Ian Tattersall (eds): Handbook of Palaeoanthropology. Volume 1: Principles, Methods, and Approaches. Springer Verlag, Berlin et al., pp 241-259.