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Molecular caving

Since fecal remnants are probably one of the major components of dry cave sediments, we decided to extract ancient DNA from the sediment of Rampart Cave, Arizaona (dated to approximately 11 thousand years old). Amplification of the extracted DNA with both 12S and 16S primers identified a variety of taxa including the Shasta ground sloth.

Jan 01, 2003

Authors: M. Hofreiter, J.I. Mead, P. Martin and H.N. Poinar

Current Biology, Vol. 13, Issue 18, September 2003, pp. R693–R695. DOI:

Cave sediments contain an inorganic component, which is derived from the roof and walls of the cave, as well as influx of sediment and soil from the exterior. They also contain an organic component, which is derived from the remains of organisms.

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