The adoption of Carl Linnaeus' two-part, genus-species system of naming, called taxonomy, has been used for centuries on all described organisms on Earth and is considered one of the greatest triumphs in science.
Hundertmark will be presenting his research during the American Society of Mammalogists 89th Annual Meeting June 24-28 at UAF.
"When we give something its own name we're saying this is a unit of biodiversity that deserves to be conserved," Hundertmark said. "If you name something that doesn't deserve a name, you're wasting resources that could be spent on worthwhile groups."
The reference book Mammal Species of the World, which Hundertmark calls the "unofficial bible of what is a mammal species and what isn't," lists two species of moose. The two-species concept is based primarily on a difference in chromosome numbers and the physical structure, or morphology, of moose
Chromosomes are ranked and numbered by size, largest to smallest, and can be depicted in a standard format knows as a karyogram. A typical chromosome pair is shaped like an "X" connected at the middle, though some are V-shaped and connected at the apex. The karyogram for North American moose show 70 chromosome pairs. A Eurasian moose karyogram shows two V-shaped chromosomes that appear to have united to form one X-shaped chromosome resulting in 68 pairs.
"We've always known that North American moose have one more pair of chromosomes than Eurasian moose," Hundertmark said. "But it is a minor rearrangement rather than a functional difference."
The morphology argument is a nonstarter because similar physical differences exist among other animals considered one species and "… moose are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere and would be expected to exhibit regional variation in morphology," said Hundertmark.
One way of defining a species is whether two individuals can mate and produce viable offspring. If they can, they're the same species; if they can't, they're not. But transporting moose for breeding experiments is prohibitively expensive and according to Hundertmark it is not unreasonable to assume that the two types can interbreed until it is proven otherwise.
To test the two-species hypothesis, Hundertmark examined the DNA from moose tissue samples collected by colleagues around the world. He arranged the samples into two groups based on the two-species hypothesis and into three groups based on continent of origin - Europe, Asia and North America - and examined the distribution of genetic variation within and between groups.
"It turns out that there are actually three genetic groups of moose, not two, and the genetic differences among those groups do not rise to the level of separate species. It is just regional variation," Hundertmark said.
Marie Gilbert | EurekAlert!
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy