Dussex N, Stanton DWG, Sigeman H, Ericson PGP, Gill J, Fisher DC, Protopopov AV, Herridge VL, Plotnikov V, Hansson B, Dalén L
Commun Biol 3 (1) 84 [2020-02-21; online 2020-02-21]
Ancient remains found in permafrost represent a rare opportunity to study past ecosystems. Here, we present an exceptionally well-preserved ancient bird carcass found in the Siberian permafrost, along with a radiocarbon date and a reconstruction of its complete mitochondrial genome. The carcass was radiocarbon dated to approximately 44-49 ka BP, and was genetically identified as a female horned lark. This is a species that usually inhabits open habitat, such as the steppe environment that existed in Siberia at the time. This near-intact carcass highlights the potential of permafrost remains for evolutionary studies that combine both morphology and ancient nucleic acids.
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