Forbes: When did mammoths go extinct?
Environmental DNA can be misleading, UC paleontologist says
Forbes talked to a University of Cincinnati paleontologist about why environmental DNA is not the best barometer for dating extinctions.
UC College of Arts and Sciences assistant professor Joshua Miller was lead author of a paper published in Nature titled “When did mammoths go extinct?” that refuted a previous study suggesting mammoths went extinct much more recently than believed.
“We can radiocarbon date all kinds of things: bones, teeth, charcoal, leaves. That’s very powerful. But currently, we can’t independently date DNA found in sediments,” Miller told Forbes.
Miller said environmental DNA can persist for thousands of years in arctic climates, making it unreliable for dating extinctions.
Miller said mammoths probably went extinct between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago. Some island populations survived longer.
Featured image at top: Cameron Schwalbach, paleontology collections manager for the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Geier Collections and Research Center, and UC assistant professor Joshua Miller examine a mammoth skull. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand
UC Geosciences in the News
- Spectrum News: Paleontologist disputes date when mammoths went extinct
- European Times: New study refutes timeline of mammoth extinction
- Science Times: When did mammoth extinction take place?