© Reuters. Two researchers excavate the fossilized remains of a 6-million-year-old sea turtle near La Pena, along Panama’s Caribbean coast, in a photo taken in 2015.
(Reuters) – Traces of DNA have been found in the fossilized remains of a six-million-year-old sea turtle that closely resembled the Kemp’s ridley and the Olive sea turtle, researchers said on Thursday.
This is one of the rare times when genetic material has been found in the fossils of these ancient vertebrates.
The researchers reported that some bone cells were preserved in a very precise manner in the fossil extracted from the ground in an area located on the coast of Panama facing the Caribbean Sea. Image is incomplete. While the turtle’s shell is almost complete, the rest of the skeleton is incomplete. Researchers added that the turtle may have reached a length of 30 centimeters in its lifetime.
Paleobiologist Edwin Cadena said that in some bone cells, the nuclei were preserved and interacted with the chemical solution, allowing researchers to observe the presence of DNA residue. Activities. Cadena is one of the lead authors of the study published in Science (Journal of Vertical Paleontology).
Cadena added, “I would like to point out that we did not extract DNA, but only detected traces of DNA in the embryos.” Cadena is a researcher at the University of Rosario, Bogotá, and at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
— An ancient genus of sea turtles
Catena said two fossils of vertebrates older than this turtle have traces of the same DNA: Tyrannosaurus, which lived 66 million years ago, and Brachyliposaurus, which lived 78 million years ago. Cadena said traces of DNA have also been found in insects dating back tens of thousands of years.
The fossil represents the oldest known species of sea turtle and helps shed light on the species’ incompletely understood evolutionary history, the researchers said. Due to the incompleteness of the remains, Cadena said they were unable to biologically determine the turtle’s species.
“Every fossil and every fossil site has certain conditions that, in some cases, favor the preservation of remnants of the original biomolecules, such as proteins and DNA,” Catena said.
He added, “In the future, more studies of this species will sometimes be able to sequence very small pieces of DNA and infer things about their relatives in the same species, or add that information to a broader study of molecular evolution.”
(Reporting by Will Danem from Washington – Additional reporting by Elita Moreno – Editing by Muhammad Aysem for Arabic Bulletin – Editing by Ali Khafaji)