Ancient DNA

Ancient DNA News -- ScienceDaily Read latest scientific findings on ancient DNA, including research on DNA preserved from early life forms and early humans.

  • New tyrannosaur fossil is most complete found in Southwestern US
    on October 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    A fossilized skeleton of a tyrannosaur discovered in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was airlifted by helicopter Oct 15, and delivered to the Natural History Museum of Utah where it will be uncovered, prepared, and studied. The fossil is approximately 76 million years old and is likely an individual of the species Teratophoneus curriei. […]

  • Ancient DNA offers new view on saber-toothed cats' past
    on October 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Researchers who've analyzed the complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient samples representing two species of saber-toothed cats have a new take on the animals' history over the last 50,000 years. The data suggest that the saber-toothed cats shared a common ancestor with all living cat-like species about 20 million years ago. The two saber-toothed cat species under study diverged from each other about 18 million years ago. […]

  • Newfoundland populated multiple times by distinct groups, DNA evidence shows
    on October 12, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Researchers who've examined genetic evidence from mitochondrial DNA provide evidence that two groups of indigenous people in Canada, known as the Maritime Archaic and Beothuk, brought different matrilines to the island, adding further support to the notion that those groups had distinct population histories. […]

  • Paleogenomic analysis sheds light on Easter Island mysteries
    on October 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    New paleogenomic research appears to rule out the likelihood that inhabitants of Easter Island intermixed with South Americans prior to the arrival of Europeans on the island in 1722. […]

  • 'Fake fin' discovery reveals new ichthyosaur species
    on October 10, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    An ichthyosaur first discovered in the 1970s but then dismissed and consigned to museum storerooms across the country has been re-examined and found to be a new species. […]

  • Dinosaur blood? New research urges caution regarding fossilized soft tissue
    on October 10, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Scientists have conducted experiments to accelerate degradation in keratinous tissues such as feathers, scales and hair in order to simulate the processes that occur over deep time as something becomes a fossil. […]

  • Prehistoric squid was last meal of newborn ichthyosaur 200 million years ago
    on October 3, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Scientists have identified the smallest and youngest specimen of Ichthyosaurus communis on record and found an additional surprise preserved in its stomach. […]

  • Ancient petrified salamander reveals its last meal
    on October 3, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    A new study on an exceptionally preserved salamander from the Eocene of France reveals that its soft organs are conserved under its skin and bones. Organs preserved in three dimensions include the lung, nerves, gut, and within it, the last meal of the animal, according to a new study. […]

  • Did life on Earth start due to meteorites splashing into warm little ponds?
    on October 2, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Life on Earth began somewhere between 3.7 and 4.5 billion years ago, after meteorites splashed down and leached essential elements into warm little ponds, say scientists. Their calculations suggest that wet and dry cycles bonded basic molecular building blocks in the ponds' nutrient-rich broth into self-replicating RNA molecules that constituted the first genetic code for life on the planet. […]

  • Modern humans emerged more than 300,000 years ago new study suggests
    on September 28, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    A genomic analysis of ancient human remains from KwaZulu-Natal revealed that southern Africa has an important role to play in writing the history of humankind. […]

  • Saber-toothed kittens may have been born with thicker bones than other contemporary cats
    on September 28, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Saber-toothed kittens may have been born with thicker bones compared to other contemporary cats, but they have a similar pattern of bone development, according to a new study. […]

  • Mapping the Tasmanian tiger's mysterious loss from mainland
    on September 28, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Ancient DNA extracted from fossil bones and museum specimens has shed new light on the mysterious loss of the Tasmanian tiger (thylacine) from Australia's mainland. […]

  • Ancient DNA data fills in thousands of years of human prehistory in Africa
    on September 21, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    By sequencing the ancient genomes of 15 individuals from different parts of Africa, researchers reporting in the journal Cell on Sept. 21 have reconstructed the prehistory of humans on the continent, going back thousands of years. The findings shed light on which human populations lived in eastern and southern Africa between 8,000 and 1,000 years ago, the researchers say. […]

  • Early trilobites had stomachs, new fossil study finds
    on September 21, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Exceptionally preserved trilobite fossils from China, dating back to more than 500 million years ago, have revealed new insights into the extinct marine animal's digestive system. The new study shows that at least two trilobite species evolved a stomach structure 20 million years earlier than previously thought. […]

  • 3-D analysis of dog fossils sheds light on domestication debate
    on September 20, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    In an effort to settle the debate about the origin of dog domestication, a technique that uses 3-D scans of fossils is helping researchers determine the difference between dogs and wolves. […]

  • Celebrity fossil reveals all for science
    on September 15, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    With the help of an artist, a geology professor has figuratively speaking breathed life into one of science's most well-known fossil species; Agnostus pisiformis. The trilobite-like arthropod lived in huge numbers in Scandinavia a half-billion years ago. Today, this extinct species provides important clues for science in several ways. […]

  • Humans no longer have ancient defense mechanism against viruses
    on September 15, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Insects and plants have an important ancient defense mechanism that helps them to fight viruses. This is encoded in their DNA. Scientists have long assumed that vertebrates -- including humans -- also had this same mechanism. But researchers have found that vertebrates lost this particular asset in the course of their evolution. […]

  • When ancient fossil DNA isn't available, ancient glycans may help trace human evolution
    on September 11, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Researchers have discovered a new kind of glycan (sugar chain) that survives even in a 4-million-year-old animal fossil from Kenya, under conditions where ancient DNA does not. While ancient hominin fossils are not yet available for glycan analysis, this proof-of-concept study sets the stage for unprecedented explorations of human origins and diet. […]

  • Half-a-billion-year-old fossils shed light animal evolution on Earth
    on September 11, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Scientists have discovered traces of life more than half-a-billion years old that could change the way we think about how all animals evolved on Earth. […]

  • An officer and a gentlewoman from the Viking army in Birka
    on September 9, 2017 at 12:55 am

    War was not an activity exclusive to males in the Viking world. A new study shows that women could be found in the higher ranks at the battlefield. […]

  • Human bones in south Mexico: Stalagmite reveals their age as 13,000 years old
    on August 31, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    A prehistoric human skeleton found on the Yucatán Peninsula is at least 13,000 years old and most likely dates from a glacial period at the end of the most recent ice age, the late Pleistocene. A German-Mexican team of researchers has now dated the fossil skeleton based on a stalagmite that grew on the hip bone. […]

  • How Neanderthals made the very first glue
    on August 31, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    The world's oldest known glue was made by Neanderthals. But how did they make it 200,000 years ago? Archaeologists have discovered three possible ways. […]

  • Forensic science techniques help discover new molecular fossils
    on August 31, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Researchers believe they have found new molecular fossils of archaea using a method of analysis commonly used in forensic science. […]

  • Shaking up the fish family tree: 'Living fossil' not as old as we thought
    on August 30, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Polypterids are weird and puzzling African fish that have perplexed biologists since they were discovered during Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in the late 1700s. […]

  • Infested fossil worms show ancient examples of symbiosis
    on August 30, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    One of the earliest examples of two invertebrate species living together in a symbiotic relationship has been found in 520-million-year-old fossils from China. The fossils show two species of marine worms with other, smaller worm-like animals attached to the outer surface of their body. […]

  • Largest Ichthyosaurus was pregnant mother
    on August 28, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Scientists have discovered the largest Ichthyosaurus on record and found it was pregnant at the time of death. […]

  • New species of sauropod dinosaur discovered in Tanzania
    on August 25, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Paleontologists have identified a new species of titanosaurian dinosaur. […]

  • New dinosaur discovery suggests new species roosted together like modern birds
    on August 24, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    The Mongolian Desert has been known for decades for its amazing array of dinosaurs, immaculately preserved in incredible detail and in associations that give exceedingly rare glimpses at behavior in the fossil record. […]

  • 3-D scanning methods allow an inside look into fossilized feces
    on August 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Coprolites are fossilized feces that give evidence of an organism's behavior and often contain food residues, parasite remains and other fossils that provide clues to ancient paleoecological relations. […]

  • New fly fossil sheds light on the explosive radiation of flies during the Cenozoic Era
    on August 23, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    The first unambiguous fossil from the botfly family adds to the few known fossils of a major clade of flies (Calyptratae), shedding light on their rapid radiation during the Cenozoic Era, according to a new study. […]