Skip to comments.700,000-Year-Old Horse Found in Yukon Permafrost Yields Oldest DNA Ever Decoded
Posted on 11/23/2013 12:58:13 PM PST by Dysart
The frozen remains of a horse more than half a million years old have reluctantly given up their genetic secrets, providing scientists with the oldest DNA ever sequenced.
The horse was discovered in 2003 in the ancient permafrost of Canadas west-central Yukon Territory, not far from the Alaskan border.
And although the animal was dated to between 560,000 and 780,000 years old, an international team of researchers was able to use a new combination of techniques to decipher its genetic code.
Among the teams findings is that the genus Equus which includes all horses, donkeys, and zebras dates back more than 4 million years, twice as long ago as scientists had previously believed.
When we started the project, everyone including us, to be honest thought it was impossible, said Dr. Ludovic Orlando of the University of Copenhagen, who coordinated the research, in a statement to Western Digs.
And it was to some extent, with the methods available by then. So its clearly methodological advances that made this possible.
Orlando and his colleagues published their findings this summer in the journal Nature; he discussed them today in a lecture at The Royal Society, London.
Previous to this, the oldest genome ever sequenced was of a 120,000-year-old polar bear no small feat consider that the half-life of a DNA molecule is estimated to be about 521 years. By this reckoning, even under the best conditions, DNA could remain intact for no more than 6.8 million years...
The fact that the remains were frozen helped slow the rate of decay. But they also targeted specific DNA preservation niches, he said, like the protein called collagen found in the animals bones...
(Excerpt) Read more at westerndigs.org ...
The Przewalskis Horse, which lives on the steppes of central Asia, likely deviated from the lineage leading to modern domesticated horses some 50,000 years ago. (Photo: Joe Ravi)
Wasn’t that during or just after an Ice age time? Where would it or it’s ancestors lived.. (no where to graze)?
Geez....can I get a Raptor? There’s a place at which I’d like to “set it free.”
That’s a Capitol idea!
I was just watching “Jurassic Park” on Encore. Just one or two of those raptors turned loose at certain venues in DC could solve a lot of our problems.
Ping for an old horse.
Wait I thought horses weren’t indigineous to the American continents and that they came over with the “invading European hordes”??? Or is this just a different “prehistoric” subspecies?
These were ancestors of modern horsies.
Wasn’t Dysart the name of Richard Burton’s character in Equus? Just wondering.
“Among the teams findings is that the genus Equus which includes all horses, donkeys, and zebras dates back more than 4 million years, twice as long ago as scientists had previously believed.”
So estimating from the present genome about the past genome was widely erroneous? Interesting in its implications.
Was it a friendly horse? Would it communicate in morse?
Of course, of course.
That was news to me, but kudos for excellence in free association!
I wonder how much of this new “evidence” is speculation
Wouldn't the various ice ages since then with deep and repeated glaciation of the Yukon have completely destroyed any remains like this?
But that would mean that there have been no re-occurring ice ages, and the earth is not eighty eleven years old. The horseish thingie could not be that old. But if it was not that old, then the world could be double eighty elevensies.
Oh NOES! The cranium hurtish with all the fine scientwistic reasoning.
Something for Sarah Jessica Parker to look up on Ancestry.com.
It might be the missing link tying her to John Kerry.
yes and another spin, now choose a new category...
What’s with the Sarah Jessica Parker picture?
He'll give you the answer that you endorse.
Uh, no fair piggy backing on my earlier comment. I brought up ice ages first. I’m telling the teacher....
Horses actually evolved in the Western Hemisphere but became extinct here about 12,000 years ago - probably the result of that big "climate change" called the Ice Age. But they survived in Asia and elsewhere in the East. They were re-introduced to the Americas by your "invading European hordes."
This article confuses me though. I did some research on the fossil horse Eohippus shoshonensis gidley, sometimes called the American zebra. It was about the same size as a modern Arabian horse. In fact I knew the man who discovered it in the Hagerman (Idaho) fossil beds. Most sources say those fossils date back 3 1/2 million years. This article says the new discovery dates Equus back as much as 4 million years, "twice as long as they previously believed." Huh? It doesn't compute.
They must be talking about equus, the modern horse. Ancestors go back some 50 million years as you note. The modern horse isn’t found in rock older than the Pleistocene. At least it hasn’t been found in older rock, yet.
Yes, I checked the article and they specifically reference Equus. Still, 500,000 years isn’t 2 million.
You can on Japanese TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmxQSwwTRqU
Of course, of course.
But Who ever heard of a morsing horse?
Among the teams findings is that the genus Equus -- which includes all horses, donkeys, and zebras -- dates back more than 4 million years, twice as long ago as scientists had previously believed.I think there was a topic about this sometime in the past year, but let's regard this as an update if that's the case.
A mine I worked at in NV had a lot of horse and camel fossils found during a permitting survey. It was fascinating.
Really funny. Thanks!
Actually horses were common in North America at one time but they became extinct, possibly killed off for food or maybe the ice ages took care of them. Later, of course, horses were re-introduced to America by the Europeans.
Modern horses, zebras, and asses belong to the genus Equus, the only surviving genus in a once diverse family, the Equidae. Based on fossil records, the genus appears to have originated in North America about 4 million years ago and spread to Eurasia (presumably by crossing the Bering land bridge) 2 to 3 million years ago. Following that original emigration, there were additional westward migrations to Asia and return migrations back to North America, as well as several extinctions of Equus species in North America.
The last prehistoric North American horses died out between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene, but by then Equus had spread to Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Thanks. The article goes on to make a solid case that our Western wild horses should be considered native, not feral. Of course that has broad wildlife management policy implications.