Scientists have identified two-million-year-old DNA for the first time, which breaks the previous record by one million years.
Scientists studying ancient DNA in Greenland confirms what Legal Insurrection readers know and what should be obvious from common sense: The Earth’s climate is continually changing, and often significantly so, even in the absence of SUV’s, cattle ranches, airplanes, and farms.
Scientists discovered the oldest known DNA and used it to reveal what life was like 2 million years ago in the northern tip of Greenland. Today, it’s a barren Arctic desert, but back then it was a lush landscape of trees and vegetation with an array of animals, even the now extinct mastodon.
“The study opens the door into a past that has basically been lost,” said lead author Kurt Kjær, a geologist and glacier expert at the University of Copenhagen.
With animal fossils hard to come by, the researchers extracted environmental DNA, also known as eDNA, from soil samples. This is the genetic material that organisms shed into their surroundings — for example, through hair, waste, spit or decomposing carcasses.
The information related to the DNA is fascinating. At two million years, it is the oldest sample recovered yet. Studying ancient DNA presents challenges because the genetic material breaks down over time, leaving only tiny fragments.
Researchers said on Wednesday fragments of DNA were detected for a panoply of animals including mastodons, reindeer, hares, lemmings and geese as well as plants including poplar, birch and thuja trees and microorganisms including bacteria and fungi. DNA is the self-replicating material carrying genetic information in living organisms – sort of a blueprint of life.
The mastodon was an elephant relative that roamed North and Central America until its extinction alongside many other large Ice Age mammals roughly 10,000 years ago. The discovery shows that it had a wider range than previously known.
“The mastodon was a great surprise. It’s never been found on Greenland before. However, the greatest surprise was this unique ecosystem of Arctic and temperate species mixed together with no modern analog,” said Eske Willerslev, director of the Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre and leader of the study published in the journal Nature.
Unfortunately, the scientists involved in this intriguing project had to give an homage to the climate crisis narrative.
“Expeditions are expensive and many of the samples were taken back in 2006 when the team were in Greenland for another project. They have been stored ever since,” said Prof Kjaer.
“It wasn’t until a new generation of DNA extraction and sequencing equipment was developed that we’ve been able to locate and identify extremely small and damaged fragments of DNA in the sediment samples.”
He continued: “It is possible that genetic engineering could mimic the strategy developed by plants and trees two million years ago to survive in a climate characterised by rising temperatures and prevent the extinction of some species, plants and trees.
“This is one of the reasons this scientific advance is so significant because it could reveal how to attempt to counteract the devastating impact of global warming.”
And while climate alarmists will continue to cluck about global warming, I will simply point our extreme cold kills more people than extreme heat.
Extreme cold turns out to be deadlier than extreme heat. Hot weather kills, but digging deep into the data, Deschenes and Moretti find that it mostly kills people who were already close to death. After the heat wave ends, the death rate drops so sharply that it totally offsets the weather-related spike. “The only effect of the weather shock is to change the timing of mortality, but not the number of deaths,” they write.
The paper was published in Nature.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.