Navigation Links
Ancient DNA, not fossilized bones, shows late survival of Ice Age megafauna

University of Alberta researchers are part of an international team that has used DNA samples from frozen dirt, not fossilized bones, to revise the history of North America's woolly mammoths and ancient horses.

The work of U of A Earth and Atmospheric Sciences professor Duane Froese and his colleagues counters an important extinction theory, based on radiocarbon dating of bones and teeth. That analysis concluded that more than half of the large mammals in North America (the 'megafauna') disappeared about 13,000 years ago.

In the new research, DNA samples recovered from Alaskan permafrost showed that woolly mammoths and ancient horses were still roaming through central Alaska about 10,000 years ago, and possibly as recently as 7600 years ago. That predates the established record from fossil bones and teeth by at least 3,000 years.

The DNA samples were recovered from permafrost near the central Alaskan community of Stevens Village, on the banks of the Yukon River. Analysis of the samples from soils that formed between 10,000 and 7600 years ago showed the presence of mammoth and horse DNA together with animals typically found in the region today, such as moose and arctic hare.

The challenge of dating extinction events is finding fossilized remains from the last animal left standing of any given species. The chances of finding those exact bones are remote. But animals are constantly leaving behind tell-tale samples of DNA in the form of skin cells and feces in the environment. That's what Froese and the other researchers found in the permafrost, at a depth and time line that radically changes the extinction date for two members of North America's megafauna in the late Pleistocene.


Contact: Brian Murphy
University of Alberta

Page: 1

Related biology news :

1. Studying hair of ancient Peruvians answers questions about stress
2. Californias ancient kelp forest
3. Ancient penguin DNA raises doubts about accuracy of genetic dating techniques
4. A new wrinkle in ancient ocean chemistry
5. Volcanoes played pivotal role in ancient ice age, mass extinction
6. Genetic sex determination let ancient species adapt to ocean life
7. Biologists discover death stench is a universal ancient warning signal
8. Ancient oceans offer new insight into the origins of animal life
9. Scientists help explain effects of ancient Chinese herbal formulas on heart health
10. Climate-caused biodiversity booms and busts in ancient plants and mammals
11. Scary ancient spiders revealed in 3-D models, thanks to new imaging technique
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... New York , June 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by ... and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the report, ... USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is estimated ... reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio ... that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" ... collaboration will result in greater convenience for SACU ... while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign ... to envision new ways to harness living systems and ... Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City ... than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced ... of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials ... dose studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, ... in healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects ... single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on Performing Quality ... 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still ...
Breaking Biology Technology: