Organisers: Ana García Vázquez1,2 and Aurora Grandal d’Anglade1
1Instituto Universitario de Xeoloxía Isidro Parga Pondal, Universidade da Coruña, A Coruña, Spain
2ArchaeoScience#RO Platform, Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB), Bucharest, Romania
Molecular palaeontology reaches where classical palaeontology cannot. The presence of biomolecules preserved in fossils makes it possible to recover information about past events that would otherwise be very difficult to obtain.
The most frequently used molecules in palaeontology are DNA, proteins, amino acids or fatty acids, although inorganics like phosphates and carbonates are also used. Those are preserved inside bones, shells, trees, seeds, bacterial formations, sediments, etc. The principal techniques are ancient DNA, proteomics, stable isotopes, radiocarbon dating and amino acid racemization. Ancient DNA has made it possible to identify species, establish phylogenetic relationships and the divergence between taxa, hybridisations, migrations, distributions in the past, physical characteristics not fossilized, etc., which otherwise would not have been possible simply by observing bone remains. Proteomics, likewise ancient DNA, allows us to identify species or know their phylogenetic relationships, although due to its better preservation, it allows us to go further back in time than DNA. Stable isotopes bring us closer to palaeoecology thanks to the knowledge of the diets and mobility of living beings of the past, and radiocarbon dating and amino acid racemization help us to chronologically frame the remains. We welcome all researchers from the field of palaeontology or archaeology with a focus on ancient DNA, proteomics, stable isotopes or other molecular techniques to send contributions in order to improve and share their knowledge in this field.