Ancient DNA sheds light on the prehistoric humans who colonized the Americas
Rewriting the prehistory of the Americas is perhaps the most remarkable discovery—but hardly the only one—so far achieved through the analysis of ancient DNA. Other new insights about the past are being drawn from the same emerging scientific discipline. In the past five years, the double helix has shed light, for example, on the vanished woolly mammoth, the flightless dodo, and even humanity's long-lost kin, the Neanderthals. Extracting and testing old DNA, once considered practically impossible because too little of the stuff survives the eons intact, are now at the cutting edge of archaeology, paleontology, and other fields, thanks to new techniques and more powerful technology.
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