A Swedish-led team of scientists has discovered 400,000-year-old DNA in bear tooth, the Uppsala University in Sweden said on Friday.
The team, made up of Swedish, Spanish and German researchers, discovered the remains of the bear in a cave in Atapuerca, northern Spain.
"It is usually hard to find DNA that is older than 100,000 years, and work on fossilised DNA mostly focuses on material that is a few tens of thousands of years old, at most," team leader Anders Goetherstroem said in a statement.
He said the find "pushed back the frontier" concerning the age of DNA that scientists could work with. "It means that it will be possible to subject a large number of extinct animals to DNA analysis," he said.