Cracking the Code: AI, Proteins, and the Demise of Extinct Species

Researchers from the University of Turin, University of Copenhagen, and University of Cambridge have used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to study extinct species from 50,000 years ago. The team, including Beatrice Demarchi, Josefin Stiller, and Matthew Collins, aimed to understand the disappearance of the giant flightless bird Genyornis newtoni.

The discovery of burned eggshells led scientists to believe that early humans eating their eggs might have caused the extinction of Genyornis. However, the evidence was not clear cut, as the burned eggshells seemed too thin to come from such a large bird.

To prove that the burnt shell fragments were indeed from eggs laid by Genyornis, the researchers turned to proteins and AI. They used a multidisciplinary team including specialists in ancient fossils, bird genetics, and archaeology to crack the eggshell code. The evidence suggests that the large eggs were indeed those of Genyornis.

To know more about their study, you can read the full paper by Beatrice, Josefin, Matthew and their colleagues in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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