Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Ancient DNA recovers the origins of Maori feather cloaks"

This study is of significance to me personally because my father was born and raised in New Zealand, and I spent a lot of my youth there getting to know a number of native islanders. These natives - Maoris - traditionally wore feather cloaks - "kakahu" - but little was known about the origins of the feathers which comprised these cloaks until this study. This study showed that almost 99% of the cloaks were constructed using feathers from North Island brown [kiwi birds]. Molecular sexing of nuclear DNA recovered from 92 feather cloak samples also revealed that the sex ratio of birds deviated from the 1:1 ratio observed in reference populations." 

For me, this was an interesting article to read given my heritage and what we have my been all semester in this class. In contrast to the previous study I posted, this one is less technical (at least in its presentation) and articulates its findings in terms that most people can understand and thus its significance is manifest.

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