Category Archives: Ancient DNA

1.7-Million-Year-Old Rhino Tooth Provides Oldest DNA Data Ever Studied

DNA sequencing has revolutionized the way researchers study evolution and animal taxonomy. But DNA has its limits—it’s a fragile molecule that degrades over time. So far, the oldest DNA sequenced came from a 700,000-year-old horse frozen in permafrost. But a new technique based on the emerging field of proteomics has begun to unlock the deep past, and recently researchers extracted genetic information from the tooth enamel of a rhinoceros that lived 1.7 million years ago.

Scientists Find the Skull of Humanity’s Ancestor, on a Computer

Now researchers like Dr. Mounier are using computers and mathematical techniques to reconstruct the appearance of fossils they have yet to find. On Tuesday, Dr. Mounier and Marta Mirazón Lahr, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Cambridge in Britain, unveiled a virtual skull belonging to the last common ancestor of all modern humans, who lived in Africa about 300,000 years ago.

Can DNA solve the mystery of Europe’s pointy skulls?

Skull modification may have been an extreme way to declare one’s identity during the Migration Period (ca. 300-700 A.D.), when so-called “barbarian” groups like the Goths and the Huns were vying for control of territory in Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Could ancient DNA help archaeologists pinpoint what exactly those cultural alliances were?

DNA Analysis Just Made The Eerie Mystery of Himalayan ‘Skeleton Lake’ Even Stranger

High in the Himalayas of India, amid the snow-capped peaks, nestles a mystery. Roopkund Lake is a shallow body of water filled with human bones – the skeletons of hundreds of individuals. It’s these that give the lake its other name, Skeleton Lake, and no one knows how the remains came to be there.

A Connecticut ‘vampire’s’ remains were found 30 years ago. Now DNA is giving him new life

After Barber’s grave was discovered, his remains were sent to the museum for study, and a sample from a thigh bone was sent to the DNA lab for analysis. But the technology of 30 years ago yielded scant results, the paper’s authors wrote, and identification was impossible.
But when modern tools were used – Y-chromosomal DNA profiling and surname prediction via genealogy data available on the internet – the experts said they came up with a match for the last name: Barber.

Toe fragment could hold the clue to cause of Robert the Bruce’s death

The geneticist whose DNA analysis identified the remains of Richard III is turning her attention to a toe from the body of the Scottish warrior king, Robert the Bruce, to determine the illness that struck him down.

A new look at the Gibraltar Neanderthals

Modern DNA sequencing techniques are allowing us to discover more about some iconic Neanderthal skulls than ever before.

Ancient DNA reveals new twists in Neanderthal migration

In 1856, some curious remains turned up at a limestone quarry in the Neander Valley in Germany. While the skull fragment and bones vaguely resembled those of modern humans, the brow was too robust, and the bones were too hefty. It took eight years for scientists to recognize the fossils as the first evidence of a whole other species of ancient human, Homo neanderthalensis.
Further discoveries have since revealed much more about the Neanderthals, including where they lived, how they cared for their young, and perhaps even their artwork. Now, using ancient DNA extracted from a pair of European Neanderthals, scientists are getting a more detailed picture of the species’ journey across our prehistoric planet.

“Dark” Heart of the Human Genome Contains Chunks of Ancient DNA

Geneticists exploring the dark heart of the human genome have discovered big chunks of Neanderthal and other ancient DNA. The results open new ways to study both how chromosomes behave during cell division and how they have changed during human evolution.

DNA analysis suggests Dene descended from first North Americans

The Indigenous people of Canada’s Western Arctic are descendants of some of the first humans to live in North America, new genetic research suggests.
A paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature has found the Dene, who live across much of the northern part of the continent and into the southern United States, have roots thousands of years older than previously thought.

Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems

Somewhere in a remote cave in western Georgia, a few dozen miles east of the Black Sea shore, scientists on an archaeological dig were searching among scattered stalagmites for pieces of the past. Ancient bones were strewn about on the floor of the cave, but those held only mild interest for the team. Instead, they gathered buckets of sediment, on the hunt for ancient DNA.

The Teeth of Early Neanderthals May Indicate the Species’ Lineage Is Older Than Thought

In a cave called the ‘pit of bones,’ up in the Atapuerca Mountains of Spain, a collection of 430,000-year-old teeth are curiously smaller than might be expected for the skulls they were found with. The anomaly has one scientist suggesting that the lineages of modern humans and Neanderthals split some 800,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than genetic studies have estimated.

Oldest Scandinavian human DNA found in ancient chewing gum

The first humans who settled in Scandinavia more than 10,000 years ago left their DNA behind in ancient chewing gum, masticated lumps made from birch bark pitch. This is shown in a new study conducted at Stockholm University and published in Communications Biology.

Researchers from Europe and the United Kingdom have successfully used DNA analysis to determine the identity of 15 ancient skeletons uncovered in 2011.

Researchers from Europe and the United Kingdom have successfully used DNA analysis to determine the identity of 15 ancient skeletons uncovered in 2011.
In a study featured in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, archeologists from several different organizations have worked together to examine 5,000-year-old human remains that were unearthed near the city of Koszyce in Poland.

DNA Reveals Ancient Mass Grave Of Massacred Women And Children Were From Same Family

In 2011, archaeologists working in Poland made a grizzly discovery. A mass grave of 15 individuals—mostly women and children—that had been executed during a massacre. Scientists have now discovered that these 5,000-year-old murder victims were part of the same, extended family—and had been buried with great care, with mothers placed next to their children, and siblings by each others side.