It turns out that the mammoth may have survived in North America until 5000 years ago
However, the DNA of the Kenaga mammoth, which is a type of mammoth and is said to have inhabited a wide area of the Eurasian continent, Hokkaido, and the North American continent, indicates that the mammoth may have actually survived up to 5,000 years ago.
The mammoth, which is famous as an extinct animal, appeared about 4 million years ago and has been thought to have become extinct around 10,000 years ago.
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'Frozen soil containing a fragment of Mammuthus DNA' found on the North American continent has been stored in a laboratory freezer for the past decade. The DNA of this Kenaga mammoth was analyzed by a research team including Tyler Marchy, a researcher at McMaster University's Faculty of Anthropology, Ontario. The sex is clear.
'Organisms constantly release cells throughout their lives,' said Marchy, the lead author of the study. In fact, on average, humans separate about 40,000 skin cells per hour from their bodies. It seems that it is. This means that humans are constantly releasing some of their DNA to the surroundings.
Not only humans but also animals, plants, fungi, microorganisms, etc. release cells to the surroundings. However, body tissues separated from living organisms rarely remain in the environment because they are eaten by microorganisms. However, some of them bind to a small amount of mineral deposits and are preserved for a long time like the DNA of Mammuthus chinensis this time.
According to Marchy, the research group is analyzing soil samples taken from the permafrost layer in central Yukon Territory. Each fragment of Kenaga mammoth DNA collected from the soil sample is very small, but it seems that it was possible to collect a lot of DNA information because there were a large number of fragments in the soil. Regarding the benefits of analyzing DNA, Marchy cites 'being able to analyze organisms that tend not to fossilize.'
When the research team analyzed soil samples from 30,000 to 5,000 years ago, mammoths, which were thought to be extinct from the Pleistocene to the Holocene (14,000 to 11,000 years ago), have been found so far. It has become clear that they may have lived in the Arctic for much longer than expected. It is suggested that the mammoths have rapidly decreased in population due to the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene, but have not completely disappeared at this time.
The research group stated that permafrost soil samples are 'ideal' for studies analyzing this type of ancient DNA. However, as Arctic ice continues to melt due to rapid warming, 'melting ice will permanently lose valuable ancient data,' said Marchy.