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Ancient biomolecules from deep ice cores reveal a forested Southern Greenland

Willerslev, E., Cappellini, E., Boomsma, W., Nielsen, R., Hebsgaard, M.B., Brand, T.B., Hofreiter, M., Bunce, M., Poinar, H.N., Dahl-Jensen, D., Johnsen, S., Steffensen, J.P., Bennike, O., Schwenninger, J-L., Nathan, R., Armitage, S., de Hoog, C-J., Alfimov, V., Christl, M., Beer, J., Muscheler, R., Barker, J., Sharp, M., Penkman, K.E.H., Haile, J., Taberlet, P., Gilbert, M.T.P., Casoli, A., Campani, E. and Collins, M.J. (2007) Ancient biomolecules from deep ice cores reveal a forested Southern Greenland. Science, 317 (5834). pp. 111-114. ISSN 0036-8075

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Abstract

It is difficult to obtain fossil data from the 10% of Earth's terrestrial surface that is covered by thick glaciers and ice sheets, and hence, knowledge of the paleoenvironments of these regions has remained limited. We show that DNA and amino acids from buried organisms can be recovered from the basal sections of deep ice cores, enabling reconstructions of past flora and fauna. We show that high-altitude southern Greenland, currently lying below more than 2 kilometers of ice, was inhabited by a diverse array of conifer trees and insects within the past million years. The results provide direct evidence in support of a forested southern Greenland and suggest that many deep ice cores may contain genetic records of paleoenvironments in their basal sections.

Item Type: Article
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
The University of York > Biology (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2009 13:23
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2009 13:23
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1141758
Status: Published
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1126/science.1141758
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7492

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