Swedish team finds 400,000 year old bear DNA

A Swedish-led team of scientists has discovered 400,000-year-old DNA in bear teeth, Uppsala University in Sweden said on Friday.

The team, made up of Swedish, Spanish and German researchers, discovered the remains of the bear in a cave in Atapuerca, northern Spain.

“It is usually hard to find DNA that is older than 100,000 years, and work on fossilized DNA mostly focuses on material that is a few tens of thousands of years old, at most,” team leader Anders Götherström said in a statement.

He said the find “pushed back the frontier” concerning the age of DNA that scientists could work with.

“It means that it will be possible to subject a large number of extinct animals to DNA analysis,” he said.