News FocusGLACIAL RESEARCH

Melting Glaciers Release Ancient Relics

Science  19 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5567, pp. 454-456
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5567.454

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Summary

As alpine glaciers around the world succumb to warming, scientists are reaping grand harvests of frozen organic objects--and with them previously unavailable information on past wildlife, human culture, genetics, climate, and more. Tissues with intact DNA and archaeological objects of wood and bone provide pictures that stone tools only hint at, and because they can all be radiocarbon dated, there is little guessing about chronology. Because the frozen objects are so valuable--and decay so fast once exposed--a growing cadre of scientists is trying to predict and comb fertile spots.