In this article, researchers discovered that genetic material from ancient mammoth molars found in Siberia beats the previous record of oldest DNA, set by a 700,000-year-old frozen, fossilized horse. It says that the genes suggest mammoths already had traits that allowed them to withstand cold ice temperatures before the ice ages. The data can help uncover evolutionary events in our history further.
The two oldest specimens, Krestovka and Adycha, lived around 1.2 million to 1 million years ago. The third, called Chukochya, dates back 800,000 to 500,000 years. Adding this new DNA found, it suggests that the first two mentioned belonged to two different mammoth species. Adycha was part of the steppe mammoth lineage that gave rise to woolly mammoths, the Krestovka mammoth may have diverged from its relatives more than 2 million years ago and could represent an unknown line of mammoths in Siberia. Once again this shows that a lot of the mutations which we think mammoths have like small ears, lots of fat, can withstand extreme cold temperatures, happened before the ice ages. Since the DNA is so old, there could easily be so much more to the history and evolution of mammoths that we unfortunately have not or will not discover.