Giant’s return?

Posted July 8th, 2009 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

I guess I’m not smart enough to grasp the significance of this story from UPI. It says…

ADELAIDE, Australia, July 6 (UPI) — Australian and New Zealand scientists say they have completed the first DNA-based reconstruction of the giant extinct moa bird.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide and New Zealand’s Landcare Research Ltd. said they used prehistoric feathers recovered from caves and rock shelters to identify four moa species after retrieving ancient DNA from the feathers believed to be at least 2,500 years old.

 

Perhaps the most significant finding from the story is the apparent development of a new DNA retrieval technique:

The research team also demonstrated it is possible to retrieve DNA from all parts of the ancient feathers, not just the tip of the quill, as previously thought.

"This important finding opens the way to study DNA from museum bird skins, while causing almost no damage to these valuable specimens, just by clipping a small part of a single feather," said Kyle Armstrong of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA.

Again, I’m not certain what this means for scientists but a new idea often breeds discoveries later on, so who knows.

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