The research has revealed that despite few animals or plants surviving the millennia of freezing cold and ice, the Irish stoats had real staying power. The Irish lineage of these small carnivores that eat mice, rabbits and birds is unique according to the research.
The scientists reached their conclusions by studying the wiry mammal’s DNA collected from museum collections and gamekeepers.
Explaining the research findings, Dr Robbie McDonald, Manager of Quercus at Queen’s, explained: “These tenacious carnivores probably survived the extreme cold at the peak of the last Ice Age by living under the snow and eating lemmings, just as they do in Greenland today.
“Irish stoats are a diverse and ancient lineage, this study provides the first compelling evidence that a species of mammal found in Ireland today actually survived throughout the worst of the Ice Age weather.
“The Irish fauna is a very unusual mix of native and introduced species, but we tend to overlook the unique nature of the Irish gene pool of many species, such as stoats and hares. This work helps identify which species should be a priority for conserving the Irish natural heritage.”
Genetic research has found that the Irish lineage of stoats is about 23,500 years old, compared to the British lineage, which is about 12,000 years old.
Stoats are found over a wide range of temperature conditions ranging from warm temperate to artic. While they currently occur in the high Artic of Greenland and Canada, feeding on lemmings, it is known from fossils that lemmings survived in Ireland providing a potential food supply during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).
Lisa Mitchell | alfa
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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