Unlocking past diets through the analysis of ancient dental calculus

Ancient DNA teeth

Dental calculus (calcified dental plaque) on our teeth may trap food during its formation.

Therefore, the study of ancient dental calculus may offer unprecedented insights into past human cultures around the world.

However, as dietary DNA makes up a small proportion of the total DNA in dental calculus, its analysis is computationally challenging. 

This project will seek to enhance our ability to infer the diets of past humans through optimising existing and developing new approaches for analysing the DNA preserved in ancient dental calculus. 

This study is largely bioinformatics based.

Raphael Eisenhofer


Dr Raphael Eisenhofer | Dr Laura Weyrich (co-supervisor)

Research area: Microbiology/bioinformatics - Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD)

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology

Tagged in Honours projects - Evolution and palaeobiology, Honours projects - Laura Weyrich, Honours projects - Raphael Eisenhofer