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The oldest DNA ever found reveals a snapshot of a vanished world

By Morten Allentoft, Professor, Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University
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At the icy northern tip of Greenland, far into the Artic Circle, a deep bed of sediment beneath the mouth of a fjord has lain frozen and undisturbed for 2 million years.

Known as the Kap København Formation, this relic of a vanished world dates to a period when Earth was much warmer than it is today. The sediment built up in a shallow bay over a period of 20,000 years, before being buried beneath ice and permafrost.

Our team, led by Kurt Kjær, Mikkel Winter Pedersen and Eske Willerslev at Copenhagen University, has extracted and analysed the oldest DNA ever recovered from…The Conversation


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