For almost 2 decades, genomes isolated from fossils have galvanized the study of human evolution. Yet despite vast improvements in retrieving and analyzing that DNA, researchers have deciphered whole genomes from just 23 archaic humans, 18 of them Neanderthals. This week, however, marks the publication of the fourth study in less than 3 months describing isolation and sequencing of DNA from sediments. The studies reveal new details about which animals and humans lived in these areas over time—and when. Together, they also open the door to what will be a far more plentiful supply of ancient genetic material and a richer understanding of the life of the humans, bears, bison, and other organisms that supplied that DNA.