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Author Topic: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?  (Read 23118 times)

Chris Johnson

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2014, 03:25:32 PM »

I wonder if islanders subject to British influence wouldn't tend to pick up any "refinement" in toilet practices over 25 years. 

After a daily regimen of God Save the Queen, tea and crumpets and fish and chips, taking a dump off the pier seems somehow out of place.

When in Rome...

Have you ever seen the toilets in Rome?
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2014, 04:04:14 PM »

I wonder if islanders subject to British influence wouldn't tend to pick up any "refinement" in toilet practices over 25 years. 

After a daily regimen of God Save the Queen, tea and crumpets and fish and chips, taking a dump off the pier seems somehow out of place.

When in Rome...

Have you ever seen the toilets in Rome?

No, but I have seen the ones in Ephesus!
LTM,

Bruce
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Chris Johnson

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2014, 01:48:13 AM »

Lets just say that since the fall of the Roman Empire the plumbing has gone down hill :D - IMO
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Doug Ledlie

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2014, 05:36:22 AM »

Quote
BTW stereo typing colonial Britain or Britain in general is my job on this forum]

Sorry Chris, I didn't know...would you be open to a royalty arrangement of some sort (that's royalty in the purely compensatory sense of the word, nothing to do with Charles/Camilla etc)

Perhaps a Yorkshire pudding by Express Royal Mail for each related breach of protocol, going forward?
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Doug Ledlie

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2014, 06:10:03 AM »

If the depositor of our favorite gastrological remnant was a mercury-containing-freckle-cream user, would/could/should we reasonably expect a higher than background level of mercury in the artifact?  I read somewhere that mercury absorbed by the body is processed by the liver and is typically detectable in fecal samples.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 07:32:34 AM by Doug Ledlie »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2014, 07:29:20 AM »

If the depositor of our favorite gastrological remnant was a mercury-containing-freckle-cream user, would/could/should we reasonably expect a higher than background level of mercury in the artifact?  I read somewhere that mercury absorbed by the body is processed by the liver and is typically detectable in fecal samples.

That's an interesting point Doug and one we should check.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 10:12:11 AM by Jeffrey Neville »
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Chris Johnson

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2014, 01:34:06 PM »

The Franklin Expedition story has some theories on Lead and more importantly how you measure lead content in the body and exposure time to Lead.  Make up your own mind but she'd have to be eating the stuff by the bucket full for her lead levels to be regarded as abnormal.
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JNev

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2014, 03:56:09 PM »

True enough, Chris - but not literally so much needed to turn up.

Modern day cosmetic preservatives are turning up in body masses like tumors - and can be detected in urine (but not to worry - just because they are "there" doesn't mean they harm you or actually CAUSED the tumor, of course... ).  This includes trace amounts.

Seems like this is worth looking at - but we might also find that the fecal matter came from someone with a high game-fish content diet as well, I suppose.
- Jeff Neville

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Jennifer Hubbard

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2014, 07:28:45 PM »

Your friendly neighborhood toxicologist chiming in here ...

I have always associated mercury more with urinary excretion, as it has a well-known affinity for the kidneys. But I did some checking, and the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for mercury confirms that it can be excreted in fecal matter as well:

"ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Mercury, Chapter 2"

See Section 2.3, Toxicokinetics, which starts on page 133 of the PDF file (the text itself is labeled page 161); see especially page 134/162. For those who want to read more, see also Section 2.3.4 starting on page 157/185.

It's less clear on how effective mercury would be at penetrating the skin, and whether someone who used it topically would excrete significant amounts. However, the above reference does describe a few case studies of toxic effects in people who used mercury-containing skin creams for long periods (see p. 129/157), suggesting that they did accumulate mercury.

If the area where the fecal matter was collected was suspected to have been used as a latrine, urinary or other material might be in the soil at that location. I recall a research project in the American West, studying a suspected campsite of the Lewis + Clark expedition. It was well documented that the expedition used mercury medicinally, and so the researchers tested the soil to see if they could find higher-than-usual levels of mercury.

In this case, the question would be not only whether this particular sample had mercury, but whether it was higher than that of any other islanders/visitors (control samples).

As for lead, I wasn't aware that AE had any sources of high lead exposure--if so, what were they?
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JNev

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2014, 07:20:09 AM »

Excellent contribution here, Jennifer, thanks.

I didn't catch that Earhart was thought to have lead exposure, just the idea of mercury, perhaps.  That said, aviation fuel is loaded with tetra-ethyl lead for anti-detonation ("anti-knock") - and was at that time, so far as I know.

Earhart was a bright lady - but maybe heavy metal exposure could explain something about a lapse or two where the radio, etc. were concerned...  :P
- Jeff Neville

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Chris Johnson

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2014, 08:00:14 AM »

Whoops, I posted becasue for some reason I got Mercury and Lead mixed up in my mind.  Interesting idea though is that lead in the AV fuel could hae got into her system.  A recent study over here (no link) suggests a fall in crime since the removal of lead from petrol.
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JNev

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2014, 08:28:08 AM »

So to look at this a bit more broadly, if the fecal matter were to be examined for traces of telling metals, etc., perhaps we should look beyond the bottle as a source of mercury and toward whether Earhart or Noonan might have left feces with traces of lead, as well, having been around Avgas with its attending lead content.

Leaded fuel was common then of course - not just in aviation fuel.  I don't know how exposed islanders would have been - and it's already been noted that their toilet habits might discourage the notion of finding land-bound leavings such as this.  Westerners were certainly exposed to fuel, however. 

Aviators tend to be exposed by touch very frequently by draining sumps and handling fuel manually, such as was done on Earhart's trip for refueling, etc.  Don't know how much 'touch' she actually had, but we do have pictures of her all over the airplane during ground ops.
- Jeff Neville

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Bruce Thomas

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Re: any updates on the DNA analysis of fecal matter?
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2014, 10:49:51 AM »

Whoops, I posted becasue for some reason I got Mercury and Lead mixed up in my mind.  Interesting idea though is that lead in the AV fuel could hae got into her system.  A recent study over here (no link) suggests a fall in crime since the removal of lead from petrol.

A recent BBC article (4/20/2014) describes the theoretical association between a falling crime rate and conversion to unleaded gasoline ("petrol").
LTM,

Bruce
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