A scientific illustration of a Christmas Island rat
Genome Spotlight: Christmas Island Rat (Rattus macleari)
The near-complete genome of a recently extinct rodent elucidates the potential—and difficulties—of resurrecting species.
ABOVE: Joseph Smit; Proc Zool Soc Lond, 1887
Genome Spotlight: Christmas Island Rat (Rattus macleari)
Genome Spotlight: Christmas Island Rat (Rattus macleari)

The near-complete genome of a recently extinct rodent elucidates the potential—and difficulties—of resurrecting species.

The near-complete genome of a recently extinct rodent elucidates the potential—and difficulties—of resurrecting species.

ABOVE: Joseph Smit; Proc Zool Soc Lond, 1887

ancient DNA

Equid burial from Umm el-Marra, Syria
Caught on Camera
The Scientist Staff | Mar 14, 2022
Selected images from the-scientist.com
rock formation rising out of a plain
Ancient DNA Sheds New Light on Africa’s Stone Age
Sophie Fessl | Feb 23, 2022
The oldest DNA yet isolated from humans in Africa reveals long-range migrations around 50,000 years ago, which likely played a role in the Middle to Later Stone Age transition.
Mummified Gut Bugs Reveal Ancient Dietary Secrets
Mummified Gut Bugs Reveal Ancient Dietary Secrets
Iris Kulbatski, PhD | Jan 10, 2022
Reconstructing the diet and microbiome of human ancestors shows an astonishingly rapid loss of microbiome diversity.
A photo of a skeleton on a black background
Ancient DNA Boom Underlines a Need for Ethical Frameworks
Amanda Heidt | Jan 27, 2022
The field of ancient DNA, which combines archaeology and anthropology with cutting-edge genetics, is requiring scientists to have frank conversations about when research is justified and who it benefits.
stone panel depicting a horselike animal led by ropes around the neck
Ancient Mesopotamians Bred Horselike Hybrids
Chris Baraniuk | Jan 14, 2022
A genomics study reveals the parentage of a long-mysterious creature called a kunga, the earliest-known hybrid animal bred by humans.
Ancient Secrets of the Plague
The Scientist Speaks - Ancient Secrets of the Plague
Niki Spahich, PhD | Nov 10, 2021
Simon Rasmussen discusses his research tracking the origins of the plague by analyzing ancient DNA.
mummy
Scratchy Scalps Help Glue Together Pieces of an Ancient Past
Chloe Tenn | Dec 29, 2021
Scientists find human DNA preserved in lice cement from the heads of South American mummies.
small, circular bones individually labeled and packaged in plastic bags
2,000-Year-Old Salmon DNA Reveals Secret to Sustainable Fisheries
Dan Robitzski | Nov 29, 2021
Genomic analysis of ancient chum salmon bones and cultural knowledge from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation suggest that people in the Pacific Northwest managed fisheries for thousands of years by harvesting males and releasing females.
Uncovering Ancient Residual DNA
Uncovering Ancient Residual DNA
The Scientist Creative Services Team | Aug 27, 2021
A look at how ancient events crafted modern human DNA and their potential impact on human health.
Opening of Leang Panninge cave in Indonesia
7,200-Year-Old Skeleton Offers Clues to Early Human Migration
Catherine Offord | Aug 29, 2021
Analysis of DNA from remains found in an Indonesian cave provides new insight into human movements among the islands between East Asia and Australia.
tibetan mastiff with ghostly wolves in the background
The Extinct Species Within
Christie Wilcox | Aug 6, 2021
The genomes of living animals are littered with DNA from long-gone relatives, providing a lens on evolution, past extinctions, and perhaps even solutions to agricultural problems.
Photograph from 1918 influenza pandemic shows mask-wearing women holding stretchers at backs of ambulances in Saint Louis, Missouri.
100-Year-Old Lungs Yield Genetic Samples of 1918 Flu Viruses
Christie Wilcox | May 18, 2021
Influenza RNA sequences from three sets of lungs preserved in formalin since 1918 provide new insights into the deadly pandemic.
Bryan Sykes, Ancestral Genetics Expert, Dies at 73
Lisa Winter | Jan 12, 2021
Sykes sequenced famous ancient remains, such as Ötzi and Cheddar Man, and was one of the first researchers to use mitochondrial DNA to trace genetic lineages.
Genetics Steps In to Help Tell the Story of Human Origins
Katarina Zimmer | Sep 1, 2020
Africa’s sparse fossil record alone cannot reveal our species’ evolutionary history.
The Peopling of South America
Shawna Williams | Sep 1, 2020
While questions still outnumber answers, new findings from archaeology, genetics, and other disciplines are revealing surprising insights into the early cultures of the most recently populated continent.
Infographic: Meet Your Ancient Ancestors and Relatives in Africa
Katarina Zimmer | Sep 1, 2020
Modern human genomes and bones left behind from ancient hominins in Africa tell a complex story about the origins of our species.
Artifacts Point to Humans Living in Mexico 33,000 Years Ago
Abby Olena | Jul 22, 2020
If confirmed, the result means people migrated to North America much earlier than thought, but some experts remain unconvinced.
Ancient Wheat Genome Reveals Clues to the Agricultural Past
Jef Akst | Mar 1, 2020
A museum sample of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian crop plant yields genomic information that helps researchers track the plant’s domestication and migration.
Africans Have More Neanderthal DNA than Previously Thought
Jef Akst | Jan 30, 2020
A new analysis of more than 2,500 human genomes indicates that modern Eurasians who acquired Neanderthal DNA during past interbreeding migrated back to Africa and spread those sequences.