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!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy