New techniques in ancient DNA analysis are providing more and more tantalizing details about prehistory, including some of the latest scientific discoveries in the past week.
I’m Katie Hunt, standing in for Ashley Strickland, who’s on vacation.
In a new study, scientists sequenced the genomes of 13 of the bodies and found they were descendants of ice age hunter-gatherers.
While this population was genetically isolated, the mummies’ clothing and the foods in their unusual graves suggested they interacted widely with other groups living in the region at the same time. But the boats they were buried in still remain a mystery.
Ancient DNA containing secrets of the past isn’t just found in old bones.
All animals, including humans, shed genetic material when they lose hair, slough off dead skin cells, pee, poop and bleed. This genetic material leaches into the soil, where it can remain for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of years — when the conditions are right.
To track the whereabouts of woolly mammoths and other giant creatures of the ice age, scientists took soil samples from locations across the Arctic, extracting DNA from permafrost and sediment in an ambitious study.
We currently know of over 4,000 of these exoplanets. However, all of the identified exoplanets spin inside the Milky Way, our local galaxy, and are less than 3,000 light-years away.
Now, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory may have detected signs of the first planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way. Located in the Whirlpool Galaxy, the possible planet would be about 28 million light-years away.
This might be the most weirdly cute animal you’ve never heard of. Dicynodonts lived from about 270 million to 201 million years ago, before the rise of the dinosaurs. Rat-like to elephantine in size, these creatures had a turtle-shaped head and tusks protruding from the upper jaw.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single moment in their evolutionary history where tusks evolved, researchers learned, but the variations did share a combination of features found in present-day mammals.
If you’ve ever caught the beat to “We Will Rock You” by Queen, you share more in common with lemurs in Madagascar than you might think.
Figuring this out wasn’t easy — researchers spent years tracking indris to capture recordings of them singing in the rainforest canopy. The results could further our understanding of the origins of rhythmic abilities.
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