Fossil genetics

matlock at biotek.arc.ab.ca matlock at biotek.arc.ab.ca
Fri May 6 23:42:38 EST 1994

    Does anyone know where I could find more information about fossil DNA or
genetics?  Eventually, I need to consider the following question bothering
me and a few friends:

    I use the definition that two animals are of the same species if they can
naturally mate and produce fertile offspring.

    How far back in time can we go before a species can no longer mate with
its ancestors.  This is obviously a hypothetical question, since ancestoral
species are usually extinct.  But say we had genetic samples of homo habilis.
Can we compare their genes with ours and come to any conclusions about our
mating compatibility?  I need to know where to look to find out if anyone
has done any work along these lines.

    I think paleontologists don't use the above species definition, since
they can only compare morphological or environmental characters.

    Please email your answers, as well as post if you think you should.

--John Vezina

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