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.

  • Primates of the Caribbean: Ancient DNA reveals history of mystery monkey
    on November 13, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Analysis of ancient DNA of a mysterious extinct monkey named Xenothrix -- which displays bizarre body characteristics very different to any living monkey -- has revealed that it was in fact most closely related to South America's titi monkeys (Callicebinae). Having made their way overwater to Jamaica, probably on floating vegetation, their bones reveal they subsequently underwent remarkable evolutionary change. […]

  • The whole tooth: New method to find biological sex from a single tooth
    on November 12, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Researchers have come up with a new way to estimate the biological sex of human skeletal remains based on protein traces from teeth. […]

  • The new face of South American people
    on November 9, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Study by 72 researchers from eight countries concludes that the Lagoa Santa people are descendants of Clovis culture migrants from North America. Distinctly African features attributed to Luzia were wrong. […]

  • A toast to the proteins in dinosaur bones
    on November 9, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Burnt toast and dinosaur bones have a common trait, according to a new study. They both contain chemicals that, under the right conditions, transform original proteins into something new. It's a process that may help researchers understand how soft-tissue cells inside dinosaur bones can survive for hundreds of millions of years. […]

  • Ancient DNA evidence reveals two unknown migrations from North to South America
    on November 8, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    A team has used genome-wide ancient DNA data to revise Central and South American history. Their analysis of DNA from 49 individuals spanning about 10,000 years in Belize, Brazil, the Central Andes, and southern South America has concluded that the majority of Central and South American ancestry arrived from at least three different streams of people entering from North America, all arising from one ancestral lineage of migrants who crossed the Bering Strait. […]

  • DNA of world's oldest natural mummy unlocks secrets of Ice Age tribes in the Americas
    on November 8, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    A wide ranging international study that genetically analysed the DNA of a series of famous and controversial ancient remains across North and South America has discovered that the Spirit Cave remains -- the world's oldest natural mummy - was a Native American. They were also able to dismiss a longstanding theory that a group called Paleoamericans existed in North America before Native Americans. […]

  • Most complete study on Europe's greatest Hadrosaur site published
    on November 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    The Basturs Poble site (Lleida) is the most important site in Europe when it comes to hadrosaur remains. It has yielded over 1000 fossils, probably pertaining to the same species. Palaeontologists have now published the most complete study of fossils recovered from the site and reveals the presence of many young individuals. […]

  • RNA microchips: A new chapter in ribonucleic acid synthesis
    on November 6, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is, along with DNA and protein, one of the three primary biological macromolecules and was probably the first to arise in early life forms. Chemists have developed a new synthetic approach that allows RNA to be chemically synthesized about a million times more efficiently than previously possible. […]

  • Saber-toothed cats with oral injuries ate softer foods
    on November 5, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Saber-toothed cats, the large felid predators that once roamed Southern California, may have eaten softer foods after suffering oral injuries, according to a new study. Microscopic damage patterns on teeth from fossilized cats show the injured predators transitioned to seeking softer prey, like flesh instead of bone, which healthy cats may have provided for them, according to the study. […]

  • Neanderthal ribcage reconstructed, offering new clues to ancient human anatomy
    on October 30, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Scientists have completed the first 3D virtual reconstruction of the ribcage of the most complete Neanderthal skeleton unearthed to date. Using CT scans of fossils from an approximately 60,000-year-old male skeleton, researchers were able to create a 3D model of the chest -- one that is different from the longstanding image of the barrel-chested, hunched-over 'caveman.' […]

  • Tiny beetle trapped in amber might show how landmasses shifted
    on October 30, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Scientists have discovered a tiny fossil beetle trapped in amber. It's three millimeters long, and it has a flat body and giant feathery antennae that it would have used to navigate under tree bark. And, since it was found in amber from Asia but its closest relatives today live in South America, it hints at how landmasses have shifted over the past 100 million years. […]

  • Synthetic microorganisms allow scientists to study ancient evolutionary mysteries
    on October 29, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Scientists have created microorganisms that may recapitulate key features of organisms thought to have lived billions of years ago. […]

  • Ancient Andean genomes show distinct adaptations to farming and altitude
    on October 18, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Ancient populations in the Andes of Peru adapted to their high-altitude environment and the introduction of agriculture in ways distinct from other global populations that faced similar circumstances. […]

  • Parasites from medieval latrines unlock secrets of human history
    on October 15, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    A radical new approach combining archaeology, genetics and microscopy can reveal long-forgotten secrets of human diet, sanitation and movement from studying parasites in ancient excrement, according to new research. […]

  • Sponges on ancient ocean floors 100 million years before Cambrian period
    on October 15, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Researchers have found the oldest clue yet of animal life, dating back at least 100 million years before the famous Cambrian explosion of animal fossils. […]

  • Did mosasaurs hunt like killer whales?
    on October 12, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Researchers have examined the youngest-ever specimen of tylosaur ever found. Like orcas, mosasaurs might have used their bony noses to strike prey. […]

  • Newly described fossils could help reveal why some dinos got so big
    on October 10, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    A new, in-depth anatomical description of the best preserved specimens of a car-sized sauropod relative from North America could help paleontologists with unraveling the mystery of why some dinosaurs got so big. […]

  • Oldest fossil of a flying squirrel sheds new light on its evolutionary tree
    on October 9, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    The oldest flying squirrel fossil ever found has unearthed new insight on the origin and evolution of these airborne animals. […]

  • Viruses influenced gene sharing between Neanderthals and humans
    on October 4, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Human evolution used to be depicted as a straight line, gradually progressing from an ape-like ancestor to modern Homo sapiens. But thanks to next-generation sequencing, findings in recent years have shown that it wasn't quite so orderly. Now, a new study is reporting new details about the role of viruses in shaping evolution, in particular viral interactions between modern humans and Neanderthals. […]

  • Lilly Pilly fossils reveal snowless Snowy Mountains
    on October 3, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Leaf fossils discovered high in Australia's Snowy Mountains have revealed a past history of warmer rainforest vegetation and a lack of snow, in contrast with the alpine vegetation and winter snow-covered slopes of today. […]

  • Liquid crystals and the origin of life
    on October 3, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Liquid crystals are common in modern electronic device screens, but they may have played a far more ancient role: helping to assemble Earth's first biomolecules. Researchers have found that short RNA molecules can form liquid crystals that encourage growth into longer chains. […]

  • Ledumahadi mafube: South Africa's new jurassic giant
    on September 27, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    A new species of a giant dinosaur has been found in South Africa's Free State Province. The plant-eating dinosaur, named Ledumahadi mafube, weighed 12 tons and stood about four meters high at the hips. Ledumahadi mafube was the largest land animal alive on Earth when it lived, nearly 200 million years ago. It was roughly double the size of a large African elephant. […]

  • Scientists show polar 'polynya' supported marine life during last Ice Age
    on September 27, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    An oasis in the hostile Arctic Ocean sustained marine life and ocean circulation during the last Ice Age, according to a new study. […]

  • 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. […]

  • CT technique expands possibilities of imaging ancient remains
    on September 25, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Researchers using computed tomography (CT) have successfully imaged the soft tissue of an ancient Egyptian mummy's hand down to a microscopic level, according to a new study. […]

  • 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. […]