Pointers at Glance
- Using AI, a research team has accurately developed a dating method to date nearly 10000-year-old archeological remains.
- They can now seriously begin tracing ancient people’s origins and mapping their migration routes.
By analyzing DNA using artificial intelligence (AI), an international research team led by Lund University in Sweden has developed a method that can accurately date up to ten-thousand-year-old archeological remains.
Dating ancient humans accurately is a key when mapping how people migrated during world history. Since the 1950s, the standard dating tool has been radiocarbon dating. The method has revolutionized archaeology based on the ratio between two different carbon isotopes.
However, the technology is not entirely reliable in terms of accuracy, making it complex to map ancient people and how they moved and are related. In a new study published in Cell Reports Methods, a research team has developed a dating method that could enhance archeological remains.
Eran Elhaik, a researcher in molecular cell biology at Lund University, says that unreliable dating is a significant problem, resulting in vague and contradictory results. The method uses artificial intelligence to date genomes through their DNA accurately.
The method is known as Temporal Population Structure (TPS) and can be used to date genomes up to 10,000 years old. In the study, the research team analyzed nearly 5,000 archeological remains from the Late Mesolithic period (10,000-8,000 BC) to modern times.
Eran Elhaik also said that the information about the period in which people lived is encoded in the genetic material. By figuring out how to interpret it and position it in time, they managed to date it with the help of AI.
The researchers do not expect TPS to eliminate radiocarbon dating but instead see the method as a complementary tool in the paleogeographic toolbox. The method can be used when uncertainty involves a radiocarbon dating result.
One example is the famous human skull from Zlatý kůň in today’s Czech Republic, which could be between 15,000 and 34,000 years old. Eran concludes that radiocarbon dating can be volatile and affects the quality of the material being examined. Their method is based on DNA, which makes it very solid. Now they can seriously begin to trace the origins of ancient people and map their migration routes.