Monday, January 7, 2008

Greenland: Oldest DNA Shows Warmer Planet

Greenland: Scientists studying the glaciers probed two kilometers and recovered the oldest plant DNA. Their studies also showed that the earth was much warmer hundreds of thousands of years ago than is generally believed.

Using the DNA of trees, plants and a variety of insects from underneath the southern Greenland glacier estimated to date from 500,000 to 900,000 years ago.

So what is the prevailing view that a forest of this kind could only have existed in Greenland as recently as 2.4 million years ago. This means that if the area supported these plants and insects, it was warmer than previously thought.

The DNA samples showed that the temperature may have reached 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 1 degree F in the winter.

Another finding showed that during the last period between ice ages, between 116,000-130,000 years ago, temperatures were on average 9 degrees F higher than now, so the glaciers on Greenland did not completely melt away.

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