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What kind of objects can be qualified as artifacts? How do we distinguish such objects?

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Can you give a little context? Where did you read or hear about it? – Amory Oct 9 '13 at 21:54
During a microbiology lecture, though I can't recall right now what exactly was called artifact during that lecture. – ΔλЛ Oct 9 '13 at 21:55
Could you perhaps mean as seen in a microscope? – Amory Oct 10 '13 at 0:48
I believe what you are asking about- artifacts in biology - generally means characteristics or behavior of living things which are not advantages to reproduction. Does that sound right? If so lmk and I can write a response. – shigeta Oct 10 '13 at 14:38
My understanding of an artifact is something inadvertently (or otherwise) introduced by the experimenter that is not 'real'. For example, if you contaminate your protein samples with keratins from hair, you may see artefactual bands on an SDS-gel. But as it was a Microbiology lecture you attended, perhaps what was meant was 'absence of fact' :-) – TomD Oct 10 '13 at 15:43
up vote 1 down vote accepted

An artifact in biology usually refers to experimental error or other spurious results. In the context of microbiology, you will get artifacts if, for example, you sneeze on the plate you are growing a colony on.

The term is generally used for any result that is not actually true but stems from bad analysis or experimental procedures. Take, for example, this definition from

Something artificial, a distortion that does not reflect normal anatomy or pathology, not usually found in the body. For example: in radiology, the appearance on an x-ray of a surgical metal clip that obscures the clear view of an anatomical structure.

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This is a very good question! There are many factors there so the list would be very long. There are many kinds of artifacts too, some related to processes and the other on technical devices. Some of the processes we do not know or we have not defined those rigorously mathematically. It depends on the methods used to get the final list. You need to specify exactly the research tool(s) and narrow the scope still to be able to define exactly some artifacts.

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