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 Fossil coral reefs show sea level rose in bursts during last warming
19.10.2017 | Rice University

nachricht NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters
17.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>