- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
ScienceShot: Earliest Unfrozen Ancient DNA Reveals Some Bear Facts
9 September 2013 3:00 pm
Scientists have recovered DNA from a cave bear fossil at least 300,000 years old. Reported online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the finding bests the previous record for DNA recovered from a sample found outside of the artic permafrost—that from a 120,000-year-old polar bear jawbone from Norway published in 2010. (Researchers have sequenced DNA of plants and invertebrates up to 800,000 years old frozen in Arctic ice.) The new specimen comes from a cave in northern Spain called Sima de los Huesos, where nearly 30 prehistoric human skeletons have been found, and the DNA comes from mitochondria, small bodies within cells that generate energy and have their own DNA. A comparison of DNA sequences suggests the bear, Ursus deningeri (above), was a direct ancestor or close relative of the ancestor of later cave bears, such as Ursus spelaeus, which died out about 28,000 years ago. New techniques used in the work might also allow the researchers to sequence DNA from the prehistoric humans found in the cave.