June 26, 2013

Yukon gold mine yields ancient horse fossil

700,000-year-old fossil discovered in Yukon permafrost yields genome world record.

When University of Alberta researcher Duane Froese found an unusually large horse fossil in the Yukon permafrost, he knew it was important. Now, in a new study published in the journal Nature, this fossil is rewriting the story of equine evolution as the ancient horse has its genome sequenced.

Froese, a researcher in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Canada Research Chair in Northern Environmental Change at the U of A, had spent years visiting Yukon placer gold mining exposures to understand the permafrost and the ice age environments that supported megafauna including mammoths, horses and bison.