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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.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1141758
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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.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Copyright: 2007 American Association for the Advancement of Science
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/5130
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