Faculty Seminar: Dr. Viviane Slon, Monday 26/6 at 13:00
26/06/2023 13:00
Dr. Viviane Slon

Sedimentary Ancient DNA as a tool to study Human Evolution


Viviane Slon1,2


  1. Department of Anatomy and Anthropology and Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  2. The Dan David Center for Human Evolution and Biohistory Research, Tel Aviv University, Israel



In the past years, DNA retrieved from ancient human remains have been instrumental in furthering our understanding of our own evolutionary past, as well as that of our closest extinct relatives, the Neandertals and the Denisovans. Such studies, however, are inherently limited to sites and timeframes where such remains have been found and made available for sampling. A complementary approach can be to recover human DNA fragments from ancient sediments – a source material present in any archaeological site. Yet, this approach is complicated by the need to accurately identify the genuinely ancient human DNA fragments present in a sample, out of a mixture of DNA from various sources. Here, I will outline a methodology to do so, including its highlights and pitfalls, and demonstrate the potential of this research avenue using examples from prehistoric sites in Europe and Asia.