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Baleen whales are found worldwide, and have been traditionally hunted by indigenous people in the Arctic and North Pacific for more than 4,000 years. Prehistorically, baleen was used to make artefacts from clothing to fishing and hunting implements. While DNA analysis of tissues from museum specimens is common, this technique is often difficult or impossible on old baleen.
Solazzo and colleagues assessed whether peptide mass fingerprinting could identify species from baleen, which like hair and fingernails is made mainly from the protein alpha-keratin.
Researchers - Mass - Fingerprint - Species - Samples
The researchers developed a peptide mass fingerprint for each baleen whale species, using 27 baleen samples from 10 known species of baleen whales to develop the technique. They then tested the technique on 29 archaeological baleen samples of unidentified species from sites in Labrador, Canada, spanning 1,500 years of aboriginal whale use.
The researchers found...
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