Ancient DNA pp 51-56 | Cite as

Case Study: Ancient Sloth DNA Recovered from Hairs Preserved in Paleofeces

  • Andrew A. ClackEmail author
  • Ross D. E. MacPhee
  • Hendrik N. Poinar
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 840)


Ancient hair, which has proved to be an excellent source of well-preserved ancient DNA, is often preserved in paleofeces. Here, we separate and wash hair shafts preserved in a paleofecal specimen believed to be from a Darwin’s ground sloth, Mylodon darwinii. After extracting DNA from the recovered and cleaned hair using a protocol optimized for DNA extraction from keratinous substrates, we amplify 12S and 16S rDNA sequences from the DNA extract. As expected, the recovered sequences most closely match previously published sequences of M. darwinii. Our results demonstrate that hair preserved in paleofeces, even from temperate cave environments, is an effective source of ancient DNA.

Key words

Ancient DNA Coprolite Hair Paleofaeces Sloth 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew A. Clack
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ross D. E. MacPhee
    • 3
  • Hendrik N. Poinar
    • 4
  1. 1.McMaster Ancient DNA CenterMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.American Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.McMaster Ancient DNA CentreMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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