Forgotten Soil Samples Change the Age of North American Mammoths

If you are going to study science at a university, sooner or later you will be assigned to clean out an old laboratory. That’s what happened to archaeologist Tyler Murchie at McMaster University. A freezer he cleared out had soil samples taken from the Canadian permafrost around ten years ago that had never been analyzed. Murchie was looking for a new project, and became the lead author on the DNA findings in the soil samples.  

It was thought that woolly mammoths in Canada had died out around 13,000 years ago. But the frozen soil samples contained both plant matter that was carbon-dated to around 5,000 years ago and animal DNA, including that of woolly mammoths. That puts mammoths in Canada 8,000 years later than previously known. The samples also contain DNA from ancient horses and steppe bison. Read more about the findings at Smithsonian, or the science paper in the journal Nature Communications.

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Source: neatorama

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