The importance of data hygiene
New analysis of the ‘mystery’ equis found in 2004 at Pompeii reveals that the initial data was corrupted. The find and the subsequent DNA analysis generated much excitement about a previously unknown extinct breed of horse, but upon reexamination it was discovered that there had been a laboratory error that created the hybrid DNA. That such small errors can lead to years of wasted energy is one of the many reasons why the Art of Counting team is freakishly attentive to data integrity. The new master database will be built to require multiple vetted collaborators to sign off on the accuracy of a record prior to its use in statistical analyses.