Take the pledge to vote

For a better tommorow#AajSawaroApnaKal
  • I agree to receive emails from News18

  • I promise to vote in this year's elections no matter what the odds are.
  • Please check above checkbox.

    SUBMIT

Thank you for
taking the pledge

Vote responsibly as each vote counts
and makes a diffrence

Disclaimer:

Issued in public interest by HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (Formerly HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited) (“HDFC Life”). CIN: L65110MH2000PLC128245, IRDAI Reg. No. 101 . The name/letters "HDFC" in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited ("HDFC Limited") and is used by HDFC Life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN EU/04/19/13618
LIVE TV DownloadNews18 App
News18 English
News18 » Buzz
2-min read

Scientists Discover Oldest DNA Preserved in Pre-Historic Puma Poop in Argentina

Radiocarbon dating revealed that the parasitic roundworm eggs preserved inside the coprolite dated back to between 16,570 and 17,000 years ago, as the last Ice Age was drawing to an end.

Trending Desk

Updated:August 28, 2019, 5:59 PM IST
facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp
Scientists Discover Oldest DNA Preserved in Pre-Historic Puma Poop in Argentina
Photo for representation only. (Image: Reuters)
Loading...

Scientists have found the oldest parasite DNA ever recorded in the faeces of a pre-historic puma that roamed Argentina’s mountains thousands of years ago.

A team of Argentinian scientists from the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) made the discovery after studying a coprolite taken from a rock-shelter in the Catamarca Province.

Radiocarbon dating revealed that the parasitic roundworm eggs preserved inside the coprolite dated back to between 16,570 and 17,000 years ago, as the last Ice Age was drawing to an end.

The discovery represents the oldest record of an ancient DNA sequence for a gastrointestinal nematode parasite of wild mammals, the oldest molecular parasite record worldwide, and a new maximum age for the recovery of old DNA of this origin, according to Science Daily.

Due to weather conditions prevalent back then, the area around the shelter at Peñas de las Trampas in the southern Andean Puna is believed to have been a suitable habitat for megafauna like giant ground sloths, and also smaller herbivores like American horses and South American camelids which the pumas may have preyed on.

The study, published in the journal Parasitology, explains that the extremely dry, cold and salty conditions would have played a role in reducing the breakdown of the DNA and allowing it to be preserved.

Using ancient mitochondrial DNA analysis, the scientists were able to confirm that the coprolite came from a Puma (Puma concolor) and that the eggs belonged to Toxascaris leonina, a species of roundworm still commonly found in the digestive systems of modern day cats, dogs and foxes.

Led by Romina Petrigh and Martín Fugassa, the study was carried out by an interdisciplinary team including archaeologists and biologists as part of a project that considers ancient faeces as important paleobiological reservoirs.

Dr Petrigh, from the National University of Mar del Plata and CONICET, said, "While we have found evidence of parasites in coprolites before, those remains were much more recent, dating back only a few thousand years. The latest find shows that these roundworms were infecting the fauna of South America before the arrival of the first humans in the area around 11,000 years ago."

She added, "I was very happy when I discovered how old this DNA was. It's difficult to recover DNA of such an old age as it usually suffers damage over time. Our working conditions had to be extremely controlled to avoid contamination with modern DNA, so we used special decontaminated reagents and disposable supplies. Several experiments were performed to authenticate the DNA sequences obtained and the efforts of the team of researchers who participated was essential."

Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.

Read full article
Loading...
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch

facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp

Live TV

Countdown To Elections Results
To Assembly Elections 2018 Results