A study published Wednesday revealed that the world’s oldest sequenced DNA, dating back more than a million years, was found from giant teeth buried in the permafrost of Siberia.
The analyzes of three huge samples of light shed light on the Ice Age, when large mammals prevailed, and the legacy of the woolly mammoth, whose last survivors just 4,000 years ago disappeared from the island from Wrangel, off Siberia.
The genomes that have been decoded far exceed the oldest DNA that has ever been sequenced, the genomes between 500,000 and 700,000 years old.
Here, DNA (the carrier of genetic information, called the genome) “is incredibly old. The specimens are a thousand times older than the remains of the Vikings, and even predate the existence of modern humans and Neanderthals, “Marvel Love Dahlen, from the Stockholm Center for Ancient Genetics, who supervised the study published in Nature.
The fossils were discovered in the 1970s in Siberia, in permafrost (deep permafrost, also called permafrost), and are kept at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
Researchers first succeeded in determining the history of teeth (molars) by comparing them with other species, such as small rodents, which are known to be unique for certain periods and found in the same sedimentary layers.
These early comparisons indicate that the two large mammals were ancient steppe mammoths over a million years old. The “youngest” of the three, at about 800,000 years old, was the oldest woolly mammoth (a species that diverged from the steppe mammoth) ever discovered.