Identifying bird remains using ancient DNA barcoding

Love Dalén, Vendela K. Lagerholm, Johan A. A. Nylander, Nick Barton, Zbigniew M. Bochenski, Teresa Tomek, David Rudling, Per G. P. Ericson, Martin Irestedt, John R. Stewart*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Bird remains that are difficult to identify taxonomically using morphological methods, are common in the palaeontological record. Other types of challenging avian material include artefacts and food items from endangered taxa, as well as remains from aircraft strikes. We here present a DNA-based method that enables taxonomic identification of bird remains, even from material where the DNA is heavily degraded. The method is based on the amplification and sequencing of two short variable parts of the 16S region in the mitochondrial genome. To demonstrate the applicability of this approach, we evaluated the method on a set of Holocene and Late Pleistocene postcranial bird bones from several palaeontological and archaeological sites in Europe with good success.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number169
    Number of pages8
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2017


    • 16S
    • Archaeology
    • Aves
    • Biodiversity
    • Palaeogenetics
    • Palaeontology
    • Species identification


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