How the oldest-ever DNA sequence reveals an extraordinary lost world two million years ago

  • Rebecca Morel
  • Science Editor, BBC

image source, Beth Zaiken


Scientists have found genetic traces of animals like elephants, reindeer, and other animals that roamed among the birch and poplar trees.

The oldest-ever DNA sequence has revealed what the Arctic was like two million years ago, when the region had higher temperatures.

Today this area in northern Greenland is considered a polar desert, but genetic material extracted from the soil reveals a rich variety of plants and animals.

Scientists found genetic traces of an elephant-like mastodon, reindeer, geese that roamed among the birch and poplar trees, and marine life, including horseshoe crabs and algae.

Publication of the research in the journal nature.

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