fossils and DNA


Hi Everyone,

I stumbled across some interesting articles where mtDNA was extracted from fossilized bones and a single pollen grain. This made me wonder if this could also be done with cephalopod fossils? I have spent the past couple of days scouring google scholar for references with no luck (I'm starting to think it's not possible). Does anyone know of any references for (or against) this idea?

Also, has anyone ever looked for cephalopod remains in sediment/permafrost cores at the poles? :confused:

Thanks in advance :grin:


Staff member
When bone and or plant material get fossilized the mineralization or replacement takes place in the empty space between the organic tissue. It is possible for some of that tissue to be preserved inside some of the replacement material. Most fossils of cephalopods are just the shell or molds and casts of the shell so there is no organic tissue to be preserved. Some fossils may yet be found that preserve some of the tissue, those Hajar is collecting seem to be getting close. More collections and study are needed. IMHO! :smile:


O. vulgaris
to get some mtDNA you need non mineralized material. This is true that mtDNA is more resistant through the ages ( and in some case of damages like fire on corpes)
One of my friend is working actually in "french csi" and his PhD was passed ( 1O years ago) on mtDNA extraction, for example mtDNA coming from remains like ancient bones ( dating from materials coming from human prehistory, not older ).

so maybe recent beaks could be analyzed but it is useless to try it on mineralized material.


I had heard that DNA was nearly impossible to extract after 100,000 years, but thought if some rare fossil was found or even one buried in permafrost for a long period of time, there may be some non-mineralized tissue.

I knew it would be a long shot but thought it could be an interesting theoretical question.

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