An archaeological excavation of a cave in Spain has revealed that 150,000 years ago (100,000 years earlier than previously thought) Neanderthals supplemented their diet with various marine animals an molluscs.
This new technique, which is based on capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry, has great potential to improve the authentication and dating of the priceless silk artifacts held in museum and other collections around the world.
The new method uses the natural deterioration of the silk’s amino acids–a process known as racemization–to determine its age. As time goes by, the abundance of the L-amino acids used in the creation of the silk protein decreases while the abundance of D-amino acids associated with the silk’s deterioration increases. Measuring this ever-changing ratio between the two types of amino acids can reveal the age of a silk sample.
Story: Fiona Govan, The Telegraph | Photo: REX