Richard III's remains....

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11/02/2013 at 14:28
Screamapillar wrote (see)

Whose do you think they are then? Given that there's a DNA match?

Some bloke they're pretending used to be a king.

These things happen.

 


 

11/02/2013 at 14:42

Yes because that's what archaeologists do - lots of scientific testing just to make something up.

Anyway, stop trolling and go and sell some blood.

11/02/2013 at 14:51

How easily you exclude the possibility you may be being deceived.

11/02/2013 at 17:37
Colin I'd pay you for blood, but I'd want about 11 pints of it
12/02/2013 at 11:04

Screamapillar wrote (see)

Whose do you think they are then? Given that there's a DNA match?

 

Screampillar:

 A person who is alive now will be related to thousands of people who lived 500 years ago.

Their DNA will presumably therefore "match" to some extent thousands of people who were alive 500 years ago.

There is no reason why a "match" should mean that a skeleton found dating from 500 years ago should be one specific relative rather than any other of the thousands of dead people the living person is related to.

Correct me if I'm wrong on the science by all means, but I don't see that saying there is a "match" means this is Richard III. There are thousands of other past relatives an ancient matched skeleton could be.

 

Edited: 12/02/2013 at 11:06
12/02/2013 at 11:28

That might be true - but I'm guessing there are not thousands buried in the particular place where Richard III was said to be buried, who died of traumatic injury to the head, who had severe scoliosis, who are a genetic match for the living relative of Richard III

Come on, it's him.  

12/02/2013 at 11:35

A layman's intuition vs. an expert's "beyond reasonable doubt".

 

Hmmm... tricky one!

cougie    pirate
12/02/2013 at 11:38
Yeah and the parking place had R on it.

I'm convinced.
12/02/2013 at 11:47
popsider wrote (see)

That might be true - but I'm guessing there are not thousands buried in the particular place where Richard III was said to be buried, who died of traumatic injury to the head, who had severe scoliosis, who are a genetic match for the living relative of Richard III

Come on, it's him.  

Sorry, is it true or isn't it?

"traumatic injury to the head" - The skull had a hole in the top, not surprising since it's been in the ground in the middle of various parcels of redeveloped land and the land has been used for parking. A flappy bit at the back: so what? A flattening in a certain place, so what? I didn't feel the "armoury" expert could make the findings he did. And the bit about the injury to the buttock because the body was lain across a horse was laughable.

"who had severe scoliosis" - the Channel Four programme itself said one in a hundred people suffer from scoliolis.

"who are a genetic match for the living relative of Richard III" - this comes back to my question above. It may well be a genetic match for the living relative of Richard III, but so would thousands of other corpses interred in the 16th century.

 

The Channel Four programme lacked scientific rigour. A team went onto the site wanting to find the remains of Richard III, they found one set of remains with a curved spine and went public with the information too soon, and thereby painted themselves into a corner, needing to prove it was Richard III rather than being objective. (They'd put all their eggs in one basket.) The carbon dating was out, so they shuffled it along to a later date with some schpeel about diet - if in doubt, massage the facts, hey! The reconstruction of the face was a joke: lay all this material on a skull, look at a picture of Richard III, then present a model that - lo and behold! - looks exactly like the portrait (quelle surprise!).

It was admitted in the Channel Four programme that aspects of the bones were FEMININE – e.g, the shape of the pelvis - that this could even be the remains of a woman,  not a man. This was brushed aside by the so-called bones "expert" with a reference to literature that suggested that Richard III was himself a bit feminine.

The whole approach to this appalled me. It reminded me of watching a two-year-old nephew trying to bash a square block into a round hole, and if it wouldn't go, keep bashing...bashing... bashing. Seemingly a nation is easily duped. Some of us like to see a case PROVED, rather than nonsense masquerading as science.

 

Edited: 12/02/2013 at 11:50
12/02/2013 at 11:57

And the "match" was dealt with in the Channel Four programme in about fifteen seconds. A woman in a room, to a small group, "we have a match".Then the programme moved on.

There wasn't any analysis of what that meant, or didn't mean. It was just left on an implication that saying there is "a match" automatically means "This is Richard III". Hey presto !

My question above - Does "a match" mean it's Richard III, or does "a match" merely mean the DNA loosely matches one of the thousands of people the living relative will be related to in the distant past? If it means it's definitely Richard III, by all means correct me. I don't see how it can mean more than, you match, loosely, one of the thousands of distant relatives you are related to of 500 years ago. If so, this isn't proof of anything of much worth. The corpse could simply be a monk.

Or indeed a nun, since the hips are a bit on the wide side.

 

Edited: 12/02/2013 at 11:59
cougie    pirate
12/02/2013 at 12:01
Colin - you said - A person who is alive now will be related to thousands of people who lived 500 years ago.

Their DNA will presumably therefore "match" to some extent thousands of people who were alive 500 years ago.


Isnt this the other way round ? I'm not a real archaeologist though.
12/02/2013 at 12:13

You're only looking down one line of descent, cougie.You have hundreds of lines of descent. Different individuals in the past joined your line of descent at different times, directly or more remotely, as they joined the "fornication process" that makes you what you are. I presume we are a hotchpotch of all that DNA that's come down the various lines of descent. We are related to all those people who provided the DNA to us, and we are related to all the people who provided the same DNA to other people.

I think we need a scientist to join in the thread who knows about these things. I don't. I just don't see how finding a living relative and finding the same stuff that's in him is in an ancient skeleton makes that skeleton one particular person from his (vastly numerous) relatives (the one you actually want him  to be - "Eureka! It's Richard!") rather than any other of his (vastly numerous) relatives. Merely saying "there's a match" doesn't seem to be enough to prove the case.

 

Edited: 12/02/2013 at 12:15
12/02/2013 at 12:18

It is unfortunate that they decided to go for the TV route, rather than publishing the paper in a journal first, as it means people don't think it's "real" science. But, do you honestly think these eminent scientists, would have been happy putting their reputations on the line, on TV for the whole world to see, if they weren't sure? One of them refused to have Richard's standard laid over the box of bones they'd just dug up purely because they were uncertain at that point in time. Reputation is pretty much everything to a scientist, it governs who will work with you, who will employ you, your promotion prospects etc. Any data fraud in a case as high profile as this would result in lifetime unemployment in their chosen career.

Regarding the DNA, you are right that standard DNA testing over so many generations would have resulted in many possible ancestors. However, there are other techniques rather than the standard DNA tests you are talking about, that they probably used. I think the most likely is analysis on DNA found in mitochondria, which is passed exclusively down from mother to child. I believe they were able to match this to the last surviving descendent of Richard's mother.

Face reconstruction is more of an art than a science, and it is difficult to be objective when (famous) portraits exist, but I think it would have been revealing if they'd decided the skull could not support the face structure portrayed in his portraits.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhumation_of_Richard_III_of_England

12/02/2013 at 12:33

Colin - unfortunately your hypothesis about gene dilution over the years doesn't hold any scientific credence.

the way ancestral DNA is analysed is to look at certain chromsomes - usually the Y chromosome which is male specific or mitochondrial DNA which is usually female specific. these carry regions of DNA that are carried down the generations - they are not diluted - and are relatively unique to an individual.  so you find a cluster of markers in the DNA being analysed (RIII in this case) and see if an ancestor with a known lineage (in this case RIII's descendant) matches. if so - bingo - you have a match.  the more markers you look at, the more certain the match. it's as simple as that. 

to an extent you are right with the "hotpotch of DNA" - aka autosomal DNA that is shuffled about with each generation - but these are carried on other chromosomes (we have 23 pairs) and aren't analysed - only the sex-specific ones are as these rarely vary over generations.

 

12/02/2013 at 12:46

Could you apply this to the case in question please (if you will) and say something like:

- It's definitely him beyond a shadow of a doubt, or

- It may be him but it might also be 200/2000/20000 others related to the living relative.

There must be maths on this, and probability.

12/02/2013 at 12:46

Presumably

12/02/2013 at 12:52

Another thing that struck me, watching the Channel Four documentary.

The "bones expert" woman doubted at first (at the dig) that (a) the head and (b) the bones from a body were from the same person, because they were found at different levels. She dropped the point a minute or so later, but she definitely said it.

It wasn't clear from the "we have a match" meeting whether both the skull and the bones from the body had their DNA tested, to deal with this concern, or whether only one of them was tested.

If only one was tested, on either the skull or on bones from the body but not both, it may remain to be verified whether the skull and the bones from the body do actually have the same DNA, or whether the original concern was right: that they are two different people, not one person.

 

Edited: 12/02/2013 at 12:53
cougie    pirate
12/02/2013 at 13:03
Didn't she say that before uncovering the very bent spine ? I thought they told us that ?
12/02/2013 at 13:11

I thought so too Cougie - I'm pretty sure they explained that the reason the head was where it was, was because of the curvature of the spinal column.

Either way, I do still remain sceptical about it too Colin - my thoughts regarding how many generations back they're trying to match are the same as yours.  Perhaps they now need to publish a paper with the exact science on it to back up the rather 'airy fairy' way they brushed over their statements in the programme. 

Just a thought.

12/02/2013 at 13:21
Colin McLaughlin wrote (see)

Could you apply this to the case in question please (if you will) and say something like:

- It's definitely him beyond a shadow of a doubt, or

- It may be him but it might also be 200/2000/20000 others related to the living relative.

There must be maths on this, and probability.

doing a bit of digging into this - so far they have only done mitochondrial DNA tests (which comes down the maternal line) and have found a match to two of RIII's sisters DNA - which for many is good enough but the comment "“rare enough to be interesting, but not rare enough to be conclusive.” has been made

they now plan to study the Y-chromosome DNA (paternal line) and if that gives a good match against 4 living ancestors of RIII's great-great-grandfather (he had no male heirs so it has to be a known antecedent to work) then it will be conclusive proof as the 4 ancestors DNA matches precisely that of RIII's GGF.

the maths of the probability of matches is beyond me I'm afraid - I'm a life scientist not a mathematician - but suffice it to say that if the Y tests give the same outcome as the mitochondrial tests then it will be conclusive proof.

 

Edited: 12/02/2013 at 13:27
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