Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Yukon gold mine yields ancient horse fossil

27.06.2013
When University of Alberta researcher Duane Froese found an unusually large horse fossil in the Yukon permafrost, he knew it was important. Now, in a new study published online today in Nature, this fossil is rewriting the story of equine evolution as the ancient horse has its genome sequenced.

Unlike the small ice age horse fossils that are common across the unglaciated areas of the Yukon, Alaska and Siberia that date to the last 100,000 years, this fossil was at least the size of a modern domestic horse.

Froese, an associate professor in the U of A Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Canada Research Chair in Northern Environmental Change, had seen these large horses only a few times at geologically much older sites in the region—but none were so remarkably well preserved in permafrost.

Froese and his colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, who led the study, had dated the permafrost at the site from volcanic ashes in the deposits and knew that it was about 700,000 years old—representing some of the oldest known ice in the northern hemisphere. They also knew the fossil was similarly old.

The team, which also included collaborators from the Yukon and the University of California, Santa Cruz, extracted collagen from the fossil and found it had preserved blood proteins and that short fragments of ancient DNA were present within the bone.

The DNA showed that the horse fell outside the diversity of all modern and ancient horse DNA ever sequenced consistent with its geologic age. After several years of work, a draft genome of the horse was assembled and is providing new insight into the evolution of horses.

The study showed that the horse fell within a line that includes all modern horses and the last remaining truly wild horses, the Przewalski's Horse from the Mongolian steppes. The 700,000-year-old horse genome—along with the genome of a 43,000-year-old horse, six present-day horses and a donkey—has allowed the research team to estimate how fast mutations accumulate through time.

In addition, the new genomes revealed episodes of severe demographic fluctuations in horse populations in phase with major climatic changes.

For an interview on this research, contact:

Duane Froese
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
University of Alberta
Office: 780-492-1968
E-mail: duane.froese@ualberta.ca

Bev Betkowski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>