3 Mule Teeth

A mule has neither pride of ancestry nor hope of posterity Robert Green Ingersoll

Project brief:

It is very difficult to identify hybrid animals in the archaeological record and mules are one of the most challenging although written and pictorial evidence suggests this has occurred for many thousand years. Syro- Mesopotamian documents from the mid- and late 3rd millennium BCE mention the kunga, bred, traded, gifted (especially by royalty), eaten by dogs, and associated with 4-wheeled chariots which is thought to be a hemione (Equus hemionus) x domestic donkey (Equus asinus) hybrid.

DNA survives poorly at sites in this region of this antiquity and the project seeks to use proteins to identify hybrids. The project will use standard methods to extract proteins from horse teeth and then attempt to sequence these and compare with genomic predictions

Aims:

  • Extract and sequence proteins from the teeth of horse, donkey and hybrids.
  • Confirm that sequences differences between the species can be identified.
  • Test the method on teeth from the region
  • If there is sufficient time attempt to develop a rapid screening system (ZooMS)

Learning objectives:

  • Protein extraction
  • Protein sequencing
  • Genomics comparison
  • MALDI-TOF fingerprinting (ZooMS)

If you are interested in this project please complete the online application form.