Ancient DNA has been extracted from the fossilised eggshells of birds for the first time, and will eventually yield clues about their physiology, diet and how they went extinctScientists have collected DNA from the fossilised eggshells of birds that died hundreds and in some cases thousands of years ago.The oldest eggshell to yield DNA came from an Australian emu that died around 19,000 years ago. It is the first time that scientists have succeeded in extracting ancient DNA from the fossilised eggshells of a bird.Genetic material from the Madagascan elephant bird, the heaviest bird that ever lived, was also recovered, along with DNA from Australian owls, New Zealand ducks and flightless moas.Elephant birds were native to Madagascar but had gone extinct by the 17th century. The ostrich-like creatures grew to around 3 metres tall and weighed up to half a tonne. Their eggs were bigger than footballs.Eggshells from two other...
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