New DNA Rewrites Ice Age History
DNA technology is always progressing, and with its progression comes new information about previously-determined realities. One such case is with large animals like mammoths and bisons around the time of the Ice Age.
Tyler Murchie, an archaeologist specializing in ancient DNA at McMaster University found frozen soil samples from Canada’s permafrost. The soil had been recovered in the early 2010s but had sat in the freezer until Murchie found it.
Murchie said, “I found them in the freezers while looking for a new project during my PhD. One of my responsibilities at the ancient DNA center is freezer maintenance, so I had a good idea of what cool stuff might be in there waiting for someone to study.”
Murchie and his research team sought to understand why large mammals such as mammoths and bison survived for thousands of years before going extinct. Previously, scientists thought climate change, loss of food due to climate change, and overhunting caused the extinction. However, Murchie’s research revealed that these animals were declining in population long before climate change.
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