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We sequenced the cave bear genome using a 360,000-year-old ear bone and had to rewrite their evolutionary history

By Axel Barlow, Lecturer in Molecular Biosciences , Nottingham Trent University
Johanna L.A. Paijmans, Honorary Fellow, Palaeontology, University of Leicester
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Cave bears were giant plant eating bears that roamed Europe and northern Asia, and went extinct around 25 thousand years ago. They hibernated in caves during the winter. This was a dangerous time, as those which had failed to fatten up enough during the summer would not survive hibernation.

As a result, many caves across Europe and northern Asia are now filled with the bones of cave bears, each one containing potentially thousands of individuals. In our new study, we analysed a bone from a cave in the Caucasus Mountains.

Our team recovered the genome from a 360,000-year-old…


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