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Scientists recreate genomes of extinct beasts

Posted on Tuesday, 12 November, 2013 | Comment icon 6 comments

The giant cave bear is one of the animals the team focused their efforts on. Image Credit: PD - Wiki
New DNA sequencing techniques have helped scientists unlock the secrets of long extinct creatures.
The research focused on the DNA of two large mammals, a giant cave bear and a large horse, both of which died out several hundred thousand years ago. These prehistoric behemoths would have roamed the Earth during the period known as the Pleistocene epoch.

The ability to sequence the genomes of these creatures has come thanks to next-generation DNA sequencers that are able to analyze DNA fragments from buried remains. The method is now so effective that it can work even on the remains of creatures that died in moderate climates.

The team's efforts revealed that the ancestors of today's horses and donkeys lived between 4 and 4.5 million years ago at a time when giant mammals roamed the Earth.

"These techniques mean we can study evolutionary pathways and the relationships between long-extinct creatures and their modern counterparts," said Prof Orlando.

The team is hoping to use the same techniques to sequence the genome of some of our own prehistoric relatives. "Neanderthals are an obvious target because they were our nearest relative," said Prof Erika Hagelberg. "There are a lot of samples so we can now start looking at them in detail, including how their genes have been passed down to modern humans."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (6)

Tags: Genome, Ice Age, DNA

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Roiberto on 11 November, 2013, 15:46
I Found this pretty amazing article http://www.completegenomics.net/genomes-of-giant-ice-age-beasts-recreated-by-scientists/ io guess the cave bear would of put the Kodiak bear to shame in weight and height.
Comment icon #2 Posted by bulveye on 11 November, 2013, 15:55
Thanks for sharing the link, you might be interested in this too, I was surprised I'd never heard of an Irish Elk before. The 1st time I saw a skeleton of one in a museum was a shock, it looked pretty intimidating. The thing must have been awesome to see alive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_elk
Comment icon #3 Posted by Roiberto on 11 November, 2013, 16:01
Thay were enormous the Irish elk also there some videos on YT about them.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sundew on 12 November, 2013, 13:07
Give genetics and cloning another few decades and you might see the real thing roaming the arctic.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Erowin on 12 November, 2013, 23:44
Does this mean they could bring them back? Because that would be so. RAD.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Chooky88 on 19 November, 2013, 9:13
The novel Jurassic Park was all about the parks popularity driving advertising for the real money spinner of getting pet dinosaurs to market, infertile and only able to eat special 'Dino food.' If there's a dollar in it they will get it done. Imagine the warning sign on the gate. "Beware the Cave Bear!"

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