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.

  • Retracing Antarctica's glacial past
    on September 25, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    More than 26,000 years ago, sea level was much lower than it is today partly because the ice sheets that jut out from the continent of Antarctica were enormous and covered by grounded ice -- ice that was fully attached to the seafloor. As the planet warmed, the ice sheets melted and contracted, and sea level began to rise. Researchers have discovered new information that illuminates how and when this global phenomenon occurred. […]

  • Ancient mice discovered by climate cavers
    on September 24, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    The fossils of two extinct mice species have been discovered in caves in tropical Queensland by scientists tracking environment changes. […]

  • Fat from 558 million years ago reveals earliest known animal
    on September 20, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Scientists have discovered molecules of fat in an ancient fossil to reveal the earliest confirmed animal in the geological record that lived on Earth 558 million years ago. […]

  • What makes a mammal a mammal? Our spine, say scientists
    on September 20, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Mammals are unique in many ways. We're warm-blooded and agile in comparison with our reptilian relatives. […]

  • Scientists quantify the vast and valuable finds stored on museum shelves
    on September 20, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Researchers estimates only 3 to 4 percent of recorded fossil locations from across the globe are currently accounted for in published scientific literature. […]

  • Oldest-known aquatic reptiles probably spent time on land
    on September 19, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    A comprehensive analysis of Mesosaurus fossils shows that bones from adults share similarities with land-dwelling animals -- suggesting older Mesosaurus were semi-aquatic, whereas the juveniles spent their time in the water. This new research emphasizes the importance of thoroughly analyzing fossilized remains from across all stages of a reptile's life to get a full appreciation of its lifestyle and behavior. […]

  • Earth's oldest animals formed complex ecological communities
    on September 17, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Ediacara biota were forming complex communities tens of millions of years before the Cambrian explosion. […]

  • Can you evolve while being robust?
    on September 10, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Biophysical constraints on evolvability and robustness have been uncovered. […]

  • DNA of early medieval Alemannic warriors and their entourage decoded
    on September 5, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    In 1962, an Alemannic burial site containing human skeletal remains was discovered in Niederstotzingen (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Researchers have now examined the DNA of these skeletal remains. […]

  • Fossil teeth show how Jurassic reptiles adapted to changing seas
    on September 4, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Marine predators that lived in deep waters during the Jurassic Period thrived as sea levels rose, while species that dwelled in the shallows died out, research suggests. […]

  • Early amber trade: Sicilian amber in Western Europe predates arrival of Baltic amber by at least...
    on August 29, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Amber from Sicily arrived in Iberia as early as the 4th Millennium BC, some 2,000 years before the appearance of Baltic amber to the peninsula. New study also suggests that Baltic amber reached Iberia via the Mediterranean not via direct trade with the North. […]

  • Rare intermediate fossils give researchers insight into evolution of bird-like dinosaur
    on August 23, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    An international team of researchers has discovered new species of alvarezsaurs, an enigmatic group of dinosaurs that share many characteristics with birds. […]

  • A timescale for the origin and evolution of all of life on Earth
    on August 20, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    A new study has used a combination of genomic and fossil data to explain the history of life on Earth, from its origin to the present day. […]

  • Carbon reserves in Central American soils still affected by ancient Mayan deforestation
    on August 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Deforestation is suspected to have contributed to the mysterious collapse of Mayan civilization more than 1,000 years ago. A new study shows that the forest-clearing also decimated carbon reservoirs in the tropical soils of the Yucatan peninsula region long after ancient cities were abandoned and the forests grew back. […]

  • DNA analysis of 6,500-year-old human remains with blue eye mutation
    on August 20, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Scientists have discovered that waves of migration from Anatolia and the Zagros mountains to the Levant helped develop the Chalcolithic culture that existed in Israel's Upper Galilee region some 6,500 years ago. "Certain characteristics, such as genetic mutations contributing to blue eye color, were not seen in the DNA test results of earlier Levantine human remains," according to one of the researchers. […]

  • 99-million-year-old beetle trapped in amber served as pollinator to evergreen cycads
    on August 16, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Flowering plants are well known for their special relationship to the insects and other animals that serve as their pollinators. But, before the rise of angiosperms, another group of unusual evergreen gymnosperms, known as cycads, may have been the first insect-pollinated plants. Now, researchers have uncovered the earliest definitive fossil evidence of that intimate relationship between cycads and insects. […]

  • Prehistoric mummy reveals ancient Egyptian embalming 'recipe' was around for millennia
    on August 15, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    The ancient Egyptians developed sophisticated embalming treatments far earlier and across a wider geographical area than had been previously known, forensic tests on a well-known prehistoric mummy have revealed. […]

  • Scarlet macaw DNA points to ancient breeding operation in Southwest
    on August 13, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Somewhere in the American Southwest or northern Mexico, there are probably the ruins of a scarlet macaw breeding operation dating to between 900 and 1200 C.E., according to a team of archaeologists who sequenced the mitochondrial DNA of bird remains found in the Chaco Canyon and Mimbres areas of New Mexico. […]

  • Prehistoric peopling in southeast Asia: Genomics of Jomon and other ancient skeletons
    on August 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Current evidence suggests that Southeast Asia was occupied by Hoabinhian hunter-gatherers until about 4000 years ago, but the human occupation history thereafter with farming economies remains unsettled. By sequencing 26 ancient human genomes (25 Southeast Asians, 1 Japanese Jomon), the history is shown to be more complex than previously thought; both Hoabinhian hunter-gatherers and East Asian farmers contributed to current Southeast Asian diversity. The results help resolve one of the long-standing controversies in Southeast Asian prehistory. […]

  • New species of rare ancient 'worm' discovered in fossil hotspot
    on August 8, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Scientists have discovered a new species of lobopodian, an ancient relative of modern-day velvet worms, in 430 million-years-old Silurian rocks in Herefordshire, UK. […]

  • Modern Flores Island pygmies show no genetic link to extinct 'hobbits'
    on August 2, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    A modern pygmy population living on an Indonesian island near a cave with Homo floresiensis ('hobbit') fossils appears to have evolved short stature independently. H. floresiensis was significantly smaller than the modern Flores pygmies, standing about 3.5 feet tall (shorter than the average kindergartener), while modern pygmies average about 15 inches taller. Floresiensis also differed from H. sapiens and H. erectus in their wrists and feet. […]

  • New dinosaur found in the wrong place, at the wrong time
    on August 1, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Researchers have discovered a new dinosaur which roamed the Ningxia Autonomous Region, northwest China, approximately 174 million years ago. This is in a place they were never thought to roam and 15 million years earlier than this type of dinosaur was thought to exist. […]

  • 160-year-old mystery about the origin of skeletons solved
    on July 31, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Scientists have used powerful X-rays to peer inside the skeletons of some of our oldest vertebrate relatives, solving a 160-year-old mystery about the origin of our skeletons. […]

  • Extinct vegetarian cave bear diet mystery unravelled
    on July 28, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Until now, very little is known about the dietary evolution of the cave bear and how it became a vegetarian, as the fossils of the direct ancestor, the Deninger's bear (Ursus deningeri), are extremely scarce. […]

  • Easy-Bake fossils
    on July 26, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Scientists have discovered a new way to simulate the fossilization process in a lab in about 24 hours. They take materials like feathers, lizard feet, and leaves and cook them in a lab oven under heat and pressure conditions that mimic what real fossils undergo. These 'Easy-Bake fossils' give us a better idea of how fossilization works and what kinds of biological materials can become fossils. […]

  • A century-old model for life's origin gets significant substantiation
    on July 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    In 1924, Russian biochemist Alexander Oparin claimed that life on Earth developed through gradual chemical changes of organic molecules, in the "primordial soup" which likely existed on Earth four billion years ago. In his view, the complex combination of lifeless molecules, joining forces within small oily droplets, could assume life faculties -- self-replication, selection and evolution. These ideas were received with considerable doubt. […]

  • Unisexual salamander evolution: A long, strange trip
    on July 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    The reproductive history of the unisexual, ladies-only salamander species is full of evolutionary surprises. In a new study, biologists have traced the animals' genetic history back 3.4 million years and found some head-scratching details -- primarily that they seem to have gone for millions of years without any DNA contributions from male salamanders and still have managed to persist. […]

  • Paleontologists discover largest dinosaur foot ever
    on July 24, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    The dinosaur foot known as 'Bigfoot,' described in a new scientific paper recently published in the open-access journal PeerJ -- the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, was excavated in 1998 by an expedition from the University of Kansas, with Anthony Maltese, lead author of the study, as member of the crew. After detailed preparation and study, Maltese and his international team of researchers identified it as belonging to an animal very closely related to Brachiosaurus. […]

  • NIST builds statistical foundation for next-generation forensic DNA profiling
    on July 23, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    When experts compare the DNA left at a crime scene with the DNA of a suspect, they generate statistics that describe how closely those DNA samples match. These match statistics are reliable because they're based on rigorous scientific research. However, that research only applies to DNA fingerprints, also called DNA profiles, that have been generated using current technology. Now, scientists have laid the statistical foundation for calculating match statistics when using Next Generation Sequencing, or NGS, which produces DNA profiles that can be more useful in solving some crimes. […]

  • Evidence of Salmonella Paratyphi C found for the first time in medieval northern Europe
    on July 19, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Genome research suggests that enteric fever, a potentially lethal disease more commonly found in hot countries, was present in medieval Europe. Salmonella Paratyphi C causes enteric fever, a life-threatening infection, and has been detected in a 800 year old human skeleton discovered in Trondheim, Norway. […]