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.

  • Scientists confirm pair of skeletons are from same early hominin species
    on January 17, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Separate skeletons suggested to be from different early hominin species are, in fact, from the same species, a team of anthropologists has concluded in a comprehensive analysis of remains first discovered a decade ago. […]

  • Coralline red algae have existed for 300 million years longer than presumed
    on January 16, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Coralline red algae have existed for 130 million years, in other words since the Cretaceous Period, the time of the dinosaurs. At least this was the established view of palaeontologists all over the world until now. However, this classification will now have to be revised after fossils prove that coralline red algae existed as far back as 430 million years ago. […]

  • Fossil deposit is much richer than expected
    on January 14, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Near the Dutch town of Winterswijk is an Eldorado for fossil lovers. A student has now analyzed pieces from museums and private collections for his master's thesis. He found an amazing amount of almost completely preserved skeletons, between 242 and 247 million years old. The good condition is presumably due to particularly favorable development conditions. These make Winterswijk a cornucopia for paleontology. […]

  • DNA tool allows you to trace your ancient ancestry
    on January 14, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Scientists at the University of Sheffield studying ancient DNA have created a tool allowing them to more accurately identify ancient Eurasian populations, which can be used to test an individual's similarity to ancient people who once roamed the earth. […]

  • 15-meter-long ancient whale Basilosaurus isis was top marine predator
    on January 9, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    The stomach contents of ancient whale Basilosaurus isis suggest it was an apex predator, according to a new study. […]

  • Reconstruction of trilobite ancestral range in the southern hemisphere
    on January 9, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    Brazilian researchers used biogeographic analysis to study trilobites -- arthropods that became extinct over 252 million years ago. […]

  • Medical scanner helps to unlock the mysteries of a giant prehistoric marine reptile
    on January 8, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    A nearly meter-long skull of a giant fossil marine ichthyosaur found in a farmer's field more than 60 years ago has been studied for the first time. Using cutting-edge computerized tomography (CT) scanning technology, the research reveals new information including details of the rarely preserved braincase. The almost 200-million-year-old fossil, which was found in 1955 at Fell Mill Farm in Warwickshire, had never formally been studied prior to this research. […]

  • Spectacular flying reptiles soared over Britain's tropical Jurassic past
    on December 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Spectacular flying reptiles armed with long teeth and claws which once dominated the skies have been rediscovered, thanks to new research. […]

  • Newborn insects trapped in amber show first evidence of how to crack an egg
    on December 20, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Fossilised newborns, egg shells, and egg bursters preserved together in amber provide the first direct evidence of how insects hatched in deep time, according to a new article. […]

  • 450 fossilized millipedes found in 100-million-year-old amber
    on December 19, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Over 450 millipedes, fossilized in 100-million-year-old Burmese amber, were recently discovered by a research team. Using micro-CT technology, the scientists identified 13 out of the 16 main groups of modern millipedes amongst them. For half of these groups, the findings also represent the oldest known fossils. […]

  • The oldest large-sized predatory dinosaur comes from the Italian Alps
    on December 19, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Early Jurassic predatory dinosaurs are very rare, and mostly small in size. Saltriovenator zanellai, a new genus and species is the oldest known ceratosaurian, and the world's largest (1 ton) predatory dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic (Sinemurian, ~198 Mya). […]

  • Fossils suggest flowers originated 50 million years earlier than thought
    on December 18, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    The discovery in China of fossil specimens of a flower called Nanjinganthus from the Early Jurassic shakes up widely accepted theories of plant evolution. […]

  • Peering into Little Foot's 3.67-million-year-old brain
    on December 18, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    MicroCT scans of the Australopithecus fossil known as Little Foot shows that the brain of this ancient human relative was small and shows features that are similar to our own brain and others that are closer to our ancestor shared with living chimpanzees. […]

  • New discovery pushes origin of feathers back by 70 million years
    on December 17, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    An international team of palaeontologists has discovered that the flying reptiles, pterosaurs, actually had four kinds of feathers, and these are shared with dinosaurs -- pushing back the origin of feathers by some 70 million years. […]

  • 'Treasure trove' of dinosaur footprints found in southern England
    on December 17, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    More than 85 well-preserved dinosaur footprints -- made by at least seven different species -- have been uncovered in East Sussex, representing the most diverse and detailed collection of these trace fossils from the Cretaceous Period found in the UK to date. […]

  • Neanderthal genes give clues to human brain evolution
    on December 13, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    A distinctive feature of modern humans is our round (globular) skulls and brains. Researchers report that present-day humans who carry particular Neanderthal DNA fragments have heads that are slightly less rounded, revealing genetic clues to the evolution of modern brain shape and function. […]

  • New techniques better determine how ancient viral DNA influences human genes
    on December 13, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    New laboratory techniques can identify which of our genes are influenced by DNA snippets that are left behind in our genetic code by viruses. […]

  • Tiny Australian wallaby the last living link to extinct giant kangaroos
    on December 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Scientists reveal that Australia's pint-sized banded hare-wallaby is the closest living relative of the giant short-faced kangaroos which roamed the continent for millions of years, but died out about 40,000 years ago. […]

  • Enhancing our vision of the past
    on December 5, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    Scientists have advanced our understanding of how ancient animals saw the world by combining the study of fossils and genetics. […]

  • In death, Lonesome George reveals why giant tortoises live so long
    on December 3, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Genetic analysis of DNA from Lonesome George and samples from other giant tortoises of the Galapagos -- which can live more than 100 years in captivity -- found they possessed a number of gene variants linked to DNA repair, immune response, and cancer suppression not possessed by shorter-lived vertebrates. […]

  • Blood-sucking flies have been spreading malaria for 100 million years
    on November 27, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    The microorganisms that cause malaria, leishmaniasis and a variety of other illnesses today can be traced back at least to the time of dinosaurs, a study of amber-preserved blood-sucking insects and ticks show. […]

  • First ancient DNA from mainland Finland reveals origins of Siberian ancestry in region
    on November 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    A new study shows that the genetic makeup of northern Europe traces back to migrations from Siberia that began at least 3,500 years ago and that, as recently as the Iron Age, ancestors of the Saami lived in a larger area of Finland than today. […]

  • Evolution: South Africa's hominin record is a fair-weather friend
    on November 21, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    The fossil record of early hominins in South Africa is biased towards periods of drier climate, suggests a study of cave deposits. This finding suggests there are gaps in the fossil record, potentially obscuring evolutionary patterns and affecting our understanding of both the habitats and dietary behaviors of early hominins in this region. South Africa's highest concentration of early hominin fossils comes from the 'Cradle of Humankind' caves northwest of Johannesburg. […]

  • Jumping genes shed light on how advanced life may have emerged
    on November 19, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    A previously unappreciated interaction in the genome turns out to have possibly been one of the driving forces in the emergence of advanced life. This discovery began with a curiosity for retrotransposons, known as ''jumping genes,'' which are DNA sequences that copy and paste themselves within the genome, multiplying rapidly. Researchers inserted a retrotransposon into bacteria, and the results could give depth to the history of how advanced life may have emerged billions of years ago. […]

  • Climate change likely caused migration, demise of ancient Indus Valley civilization
    on November 15, 2018 at 4:48 am

    A new study found evidence that climate change likely drove the Harappans to resettle far away from the floodplains of the Indus. […]

  • 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. […]