Texas A&M University researchers
have reported finding DNA traces in
the pigment used in 3,000-4,000
year old cave paintings discovered
in Texas (Science, Vol 268, No 5210).
Paint samples were analysed using the polymerase chain reaction to amplify a section of DNA. The researchers eliminated the possibility of later day bacterial contamination and are confident that the DNA is most likely from a bison.
Because bison were not found in the region in that era, the painters must have gone through a lot of trouble to procure the pigment, suggesting that the cave paintings may have a broader significance than just adornments of dreary dwellings.
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