Western Digs’ Top 5 Paleontology Stories of 2013

#2. 700,000-Year-Old Horse Found in Yukon Permafrost Yields Oldest DNA Ever Decoded

Some ingenious methodology brought us our second most popular story of the year: that of the oldest genome yet sequenced.

Przewalski's Horse
Among the findings of the ancient horse genome is that the subspecies known as the Przewalski’s 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)

The source of the ancient DNA was the toe bone of a primordial horse excavated from the Yukon more than 10 years ago.

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.

Discover what its gene sequence tells us about the evolution of the horse, and also for the prospects of decoding the genes of even older animals.

Finally, #1: You Can Get Blood From a Stone — Sort Of >>



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