Woolly mammoths and other large beasts in North America may not have gone extinct as long ago as previously thought.

The new view — that pockets of beasts survived to as recently as 7,600 years ago, rather than the previous end times mark of 12,000 years ago — is supported by DNA evidence found in a few pinches of dirt.

After plucking ancient DNA from frozen soil in central Alaska, researchers uncovered “genetic fossils” of both mammoths and horses locked in permafrost samples dated to between 10,500 and 7,600 years ago.

Mammoths Were Alive More Recently Than Thought, 12/16/09

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