Greenland Ancient Dna 1

Image: Illustration depicting Northern Greenland's Kap Kobenhavn Formation supposedly as was two million years ago, Image Sourced: Beth Zaiken via The New York Times

New dna discovery in Greenland attests scientists’ analysis of earliest traces of life 2 million years old

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Scientists in the Permafrost( a place covered with snow continuously for years) in the Northernmost reaches of Greenland have discovered samples of dna packed in sediments in the Kap København rock formation in a region called  Peary Land and the discovery has taken the world by storm as the DNA samples have been dated back to be at least 2 Million years old,  1 million older than the previous oldest the Mammoth tooth DNA sample from Siberia. 

The DNA upon analysis has been reported to have traces of over a hundred genera of plants, some of which are new and as much as 9 different types of animal life including horseshoe crabs, hares, geese and mastodons. Most of them being a surprise as the natural habitat climate of some of these animals are equatorial to temperate regions, unlike the cold barren tundra regions of the present Greenland. All of which gives further substance to theories that extrapolate the whole area of Greenland and Arctic being a vast, lush, and vibrant ecosystem that supported these lifeforms millions of years back in the past.

The study is the result of a group of researchers and experts’ long continued work chiefly of which  Eske Willerslev deserves special mention for pioneering methods for DNA extraction from sediments during his time as a student at the University of Copenhagen in 2003. A few years later in 2006 Willerslev and a geoscientist at the University of Copenhagen, Kurt Kjaer  set out to find the traces of possible early life is in Peary Land region in barren Northern Greenland, ultimately from where they collected the now earliest DNA sample but had to wait till now get an accurate reading on the extracted DNA. On the fascinating discovery that is expected to change global paleontology and zooarchaeology, “If you want to move things forward, you need to take some leaps,” Kjaer said.

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