What the World’s Oldest DNA Reveals About Mammoths | Digital Trends Spanish
Researchers at the Stockholm Center for Paleogenetics have revealed when and how the mammoth was able to adapt to the freezing climate.
To do so, they had to sequence and analyze DNA up to 1.2 million years old from the remains of these animals found in the permafrost of Siberia.
This is quite a record because it is the oldest DNA in the world.
How they did it?
Scientists were able to extract and analyze the genome of three mammoths from tusks buried in northeastern Siberia, between 0.7 and 1.2 million years old.
“It is incredibly old DNA. The samples are a thousand times older than Viking remains and even prior to the existence of humans and Neanderthals “, say the authors of the study published in Nature.
From the analysis, the researchers discovered that, contrary to popular belief, there was not a single mammoth species in the early Pleistocene in Siberia, but rather two distinct lineages.
One of them, which scientists dubbed Krestovka, was the one that crossed the Bering Strait and colonized North America 1.5 million years ago.
From the reconstruction of the history of the mammoth, now the experts want to study other species of mammals.
“We haven’t reached the limit yet. Presumably we can recover DNA that is two million years old and possibly even 2.6 million years old. Before that there was no permafrost in which ancient DNA could have been preserved, ”explains Anders Götherström, professor of molecular archeology at the Stockholm Center for Paleogenetics.