Scientists have drilled through two kilometers of ice in southern Greenland and have come out with a startling revelation. They used the DNA taken from ice buried deep below the surface to find that southern Greenland once had a lush green pine forest, which was home for prehistoric insect life.
They claim to have found the oldest authenticated DNA ever recorded. Eske Willerslev, a biologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark cited that scientists are not that much aware of the fossils buried below ice and glaciers since it’s not easy to find the usable DNA samples that are buried so deep. He further said:
We have shown a principle and now you can move around to other ice cores and try to do the same thing. We have limited knowledge about the Antarctic ice sheet and the biology there.
The scientists have discovered a range of plant life, including pine, spruce and alder trees and the insect life, including beetles, flies, spiders, butterflies and moths, which are around 450,000 to 800,000 years ago. Moreover, the research has revealed that southern Greenland was still enclosed with ice at that time. In this context, Willerslev says:
If we have found evidence that the ice didn’t melt away then people have to take that into account when modeling how ice caps might react in the future to climate change.
The study will certainly ask scientists to take a second look at their models monitoring the impact of warming temperatures.