Topic ID #12290 - posted 6/9/2011 4:21 AM

Protein from Bones of 600,000-Year-Old Mammoth Extracted Successfully

Jennifer Palmer

Protein from Bones of 600,000-Year-Old Mammoth Extracted Successfully

ScienceDaily (June 4, 2011) — Researchers from the University of York and Manchester have successfully extracted protein from the bones of a 600,000-year-old mammoth, paving the way for the identification of ancient fossils.

Using an ultra-high resolution mass spectrometer, bio-archaeologists were able to produce a near complete collagen sequence for the West Runton Elephant, a Steppe Mammoth skeleton which was discovered in cliffs in Norfolk in 1990. The remarkable 85 per cent complete skeleton -- the most complete example of its species ever found in the world -- is preserved by Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service in Norwich.

Bio-archaeologist Professor Matthew Collins, from the University of York's Department of Archaeology, said: "The time depth is absolutely remarkable. Until several years ago we did not believe we would find any collagen in a skeleton of this age, even if it was as well-preserved as the West Runton Elephant.

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