DNA does not last long, 1 and the maximum age of DNA in natural environments is 10,000 years, but DNA has been found in these:
|Bacteria||250 million years, 2
419 million years
|Neandertal fossils||70,000 years|
|Dinosaur fossils||65 million years|
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Dawkins, R. (2004). The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- Dawkins, 2004, p. 21: “Concievably, for a short while after becoming embalmed in amber, a bloodsucking insect could have contained the instructions needed to reconstruct a dinosaur. But unfortunately, after an organism is dead, the DNA in its body, and in blood that it has sucked, doesn’t survive intact longer than a few years–only days in the case of some soft tissues. Fossilisation doesn’t preserve DNA either.
Even deep freezing doesn’t preserve it for very long. As I write this, scientists are excavating a frozen mammoth from the Siberian permafrost in the hope of extracting enough DNA to grow a new mammoth, cloned in the womb of a modern elephant. I fear this is a vain hope, though the mammoth is only a few thousand years dead. Among the oldest corpses from which readable DNA has been extracted is a Neanderthal man. Imagine the kerfuffle if somebody managed to clone him. But alas, only disjointed framents of his 30,000-year-old DNA can be recovered. For plants in permafrost, the record is about 400,000 years.” ↩
- http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v7/n4/dna-bacteria ↩