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.

  • Chemical evolution: Progenitors of the living world
    on January 17, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    RNA was probably the first informational molecule. Now chemists have demonstrated that alternation of wet and dry conditions could have sufficed to drive the prebiotic synthesis of the RNA nucleosides found in all domains of life. […]

  • New light on the mysterious origin of Bornean elephants
    on January 17, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    How did Borneo get its elephant? This could be just another of Rudyard Kipling's just so stories. The Bornean elephant is a subspecies of Asian Elephants that only exist in a small region of Borneo. Their presence on this southeastern Asian island has been a mystery. Scientists have discovered that elephants might have arrived on Borneo at a time of the last land bridge between the Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia. […]

  • Ancient DNA results end 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy mystery
    on January 17, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Using 'next generation' DNA sequencing scientists have found that the famous 'Two Brothers' mummies of the Manchester Museum have different fathers so are, in fact, half-brothers. The Two Brothers are the Museum's oldest mummies and amongst the best-known human remains in its Egyptology collection. They are the mummies of two elite men -- Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh -- dating to around 1800 BC. […]

  • Possible cause of early colonial-era Mexican epidemic identified
    on January 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Researchers have used new methods in ancient DNA research to identify Salmonella enterica Paratyphi C, a pathogen that causes enteric fever, in the skeletons of victims of the 1545-1550 cocoliztli epidemic in Mexico, identifying a possible cause of this devastating colonial epidemic. […]

  • History of humanity does not require rewriting: The case of Untermassfeld
    on January 15, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    In a newly published study, researchers refute a recent publication regarding the dispersal of humans in Europe. […]

  • Print a 200-million-year-old dinosaur 'fossil' in your own home
    on January 12, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    The digital reconstruction of the skull of a 200-million-year-old South African dinosaur, Massospondylus, has made it possible for researchers to make 3-D prints and in this way facilitate research on other dinosaurs all over the world. […]

  • Turkey-sized dinosaur from Australia preserved in an ancient log-jam
    on January 11, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    The partial skeleton of a new species of turkey-sized herbivorous dinosaur has been discovered in 113-million-year-old rocks in southeastern Australia. The fossilized tail and foot bones give new insight into the diversity of small, bipedal herbivorous dinosaurs called ornithopods that roamed the great rift valley that once existed between Australia and Antarctica. […]

  • Dramatic decline in genetic diversity of Northwest salmon
    on January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Columbia River Chinook salmon have lost as much as two-thirds of their genetic diversity, researchers have found. The researchers reached this conclusion after extracting DNA from scores of bone samples -- some harvested as many as 7,000 years ago -- and comparing them to the DNA of Chinook currently swimming in the Snake and Columbia rivers. The work is 'the first direct measure of reduced genetic diversity for Chinook salmon from the ancient to the contemporary period.' […]

  • Ancient Phoenician DNA from Sardinia, Lebanon reflects settlement, integration, mobility
    on January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Ancient DNA from the Phoenician remains found in Sardinia and Lebanon could provide insight into the extent of integration with settled communities and human movement during this time period, according to a new study. The researchers looked at mitochondrial genomes, which are maternally inherited, in a search for markers of Phoenician ancestry. […]

  • DNA analysis of ancient mummy, thought to have smallpox, points to Hepatitis B instead
    on January 4, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    A team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of an ancient strain of the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), shedding new light on a pervasive, complex and deadly pathogen that today kills nearly one million people every year. While little is known about its evolutionary history and origin, the findings confirm the idea that HBV has existed in humans for centuries. […]

  • Evidence of previously unknown population of ancient Native Americans, research reveals
    on January 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Genetic analysis of ancient DNA from a 6-week-old infant found at an Interior Alaska archaeological site has revealed a previously unknown population of ancient people in North America. The findings represent a major shift in scientists' theories about how humans populated North America. The researchers have named the new group 'Ancient Beringians.' […]

  • Origins of photosynthesis in plants dated to 1.25 billion years ago
    on December 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    The world's oldest algae fossils are a billion years old, according to a new analysis by earth scientists. Based on this finding, the researchers also estimate that the basis for photosynthesis in today's plants was set in place 1.25 billion years ago. […]

  • Treasure trove of highly detailed fossils uncovered
    on December 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Researchers have uncovered a hidden diversity of microscopic animal fossils from over half a billion years ago lurking in rocks from the northern tip of Greenland. […]

  • Ancient fossil microorganisms indicate that life in the universe is common
    on December 18, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    A new analysis of the oldest known fossil microorganisms provides strong evidence to support an increasingly widespread understanding that life in the universe is common. […]

  • Mysterious new seafloor species sheds light on early animal evolution
    on December 18, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Researchers have described a new species of the enigmatic marine worm Xenoturbella, named Xenoturbella japonica. Two specimens of this new species were dredged from the seafloor of the western Pacific. These primitive worms, lacking a centralized nervous system, kidneys, and anus, are important for understanding the early evolution of the Bilateria. MicroCT scanning revealed previously unknown structures, and molecular genomic analysis suggested that features of this species may be ancestral to Xenoturbella. This newly identified species is promising for further research on early bilaterian evolution. […]

  • The oldest plesiosaur was a strong swimmer
    on December 13, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Plesiosaurs were especially effective swimmer. These long extinct 'paddle saurians' propelled themselves through the World's oceans by employing 'underwater flight' -- similar to sea turtles and penguins. The find comes from the youngest part of the Triassic period and is about 201 million years old. […]

  • Dinosaur parasites trapped in 100-million-year-old amber tell blood-sucking story
    on December 13, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Fossilized ticks discovered trapped and preserved in amber show that these parasites sucked the blood of feathered dinosaurs almost 100 million years ago. […]

  • Fossil orphans reunited with their parents after half a billion years
    on December 13, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Everyone wants to be with their family over the holidays, but spare a thought for a group of orphan fossils that have been separated from their parents since the dawn of animal evolution, over half a billion years ago. […]

  • Synchrotron sheds light on the amphibious lifestyle of a new raptorial dinosaur
    on December 6, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    A well-preserved dinosaur skeleton from Mongolia unites an unexpected combination of features that defines a new group of semi-aquatic predators related to Velociraptor. Detailed 3-D synchrotron analysis allowed an international team of researchers to present the bizarre 75-million-year-old predator, named Halszkaraptor escuilliei. The study not only describes a new genus and species of bird-like dinosaur that lived in Mongolia but also sheds light on an unexpected amphibious lifestyle for raptorial dinosaurs. […]

  • Recently discovered fossil shows transition of a reptile from life on land to life in the sea
    on December 6, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Using modern research tools on a 155-million-year-old reptile fossil, scientists report they have filled in some important clues to the evolution of animals that once roamed land and transitioned to life in the water. […]

  • Early avian evolution: The Archaeopteryx that wasn‘t
    on December 4, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Paleontologists have corrected a case of misinterpretation: The first fossil "Archaeopteryx" to be discovered is actually a predatory dinosaur belonging to the anchiornithid family, which was previously known only from finds made in China. […]

  • First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story
    on November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Who is she, this little mummy girl? Scientists and students are working to unravel some of her mysteries, including how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt, what items she may have been buried with, the quality of her bones and what material is present in her brain cavity. As part of a comprehensive scientific investigation, the mummy traveled from Evanston to Argonne National Laboratory on Nov. 27 for an all-day X-ray scattering experiment. It was the first study of its kind performed on a human mummy. […]

  • Feathered dinosaurs were even fluffier than we thought
    on November 29, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Scientists have revealed new details about dinosaur feathers and enabled scientists to further refine what is potentially the most accurate depiction of any dinosaur species to date. […]

  • Abominable Snowman? Nope: Study ties DNA samples from purported Yetis to Asian bears
    on November 29, 2017 at 4:04 am

    The Yeti or Abominable Snowman -- a mysterious, ape-like creature said to inhabit the high mountains of Asia -- looms large in the mythology of Nepal and Tibet. Now, a new DNA study of purported Yeti samples from museums and private collections is providing insight into the origins of this Himalayan legend. […]

  • A horse is a horse, of course, of course -- except when it isn't
    on November 28, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Scientists have discovered a previously unrecognized genus of extinct horses that roamed North America during the last ice age. The new findings are based on an analysis of ancient DNA from fossils of the enigmatic 'New World stilt-legged horse' excavated from sites such as Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming, Gypsum Cave in Nevada, and the Klondike goldfields of Canada's Yukon Territory. […]

  • Ancient life form discovered in remote Tasmanian valley
    on November 13, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Scientists have uncovered rare, living stromatolites deep within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. […]

  • Finger and toe fossils belonged to tiny primates 45 million years ago
    on November 9, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    A new study identifies nearly 500 minuscule finger and toe bones as belonging to 45-million-year-old tiny primates. Many of the fossils are so small they rival the diminutive size of a mustard seed. Representing nine different taxonomic families of primates and as many as 25 species, the specimens from China include numerous fossils attributed to Eosimias, the very first anthropoid known to date, and three fossils attributed to a new and more advanced anthropoid. […]

  • Not so different after all: Human cells, hardy microbes share common ancestor
    on November 8, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Researchers have found striking parallels between how archaeal cells and more complex cells, including humans' and animals', package and store their genetic material. The breakthrough study provided evidence that archaea and eukaryotic cells share a common mechanism to compact, organize and structure their genomes. […]

  • Humankind's earliest ancestors discovered in southern England
    on November 7, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Fossils of the oldest mammals related to humankind have been discovered on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset in the UK. The two teeth are from small, rat-like creatures that lived 145 million years ago in the shadow of the dinosaurs. They are the earliest undisputed fossils of mammals belonging to the line that led to human beings. […]

  • Research provides unique insight into extinction dynamics in late Triassic
    on October 31, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    A team of scientists and students is inching closer to revealing how a group of animals from the Late Triassic went extinct. […]