In a cool new story from the ScienceNews webpage, Charlotte Lindqvist (University at Buffalo) and 13 colleagues have just published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that places the age of the oldest polar bear remains ever described at between 110,000 and 130,000 years. Using mitochondrial DNA extracted from a tooth of a bear jawbone found on Svalbard Island in 2004, the researchers were able to confirm that the jaw belonged to a polar bear. The work sheds light on the antiquity of the polar bear genome and the potential processes that originally restricted gene flow from their brown bear ancestors.
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