Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

DNA from fossils reveal the origin of the Norwegian lemming

24.03.2014

A new ancient DNA study shows that the Norwegian lemming has a unique history. In contrast to other mammals in Fennoscandia, the Norwegian lemming may have survived the last Ice Age in the far north, sealed off from the rest of the world by gigantic ice sheets. This conclusion is drawn by an international team of researchers in an article published this week in the journal Molecular Ecology.

The Norwegian lemming is an iconic small mammal that is unique to the Fennoscandian mountain tundra. Known for its dramatic fluctuations in population size, it is a keystone species in the mountain tundra ecosystem. But its origin has until now remained somewhat of a mystery.

Norwegian lemming

The Norwegian lemming is an iconic small mammal that is unique to the Fennoscandian mountain tundra.

Swedish Museum of Natural History

Twenty thousand years ago, Fennoscandia was covered by a thick ice sheet. Animals and plants in the region are therefore thought to originate from populations that lived to the south or east of the ice sheet, and colonised Fennoscandia as the ice melted.

With this in mind, and international team of scientists, led by researchers at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, set out to investigate from where the Norwegian lemming originated at the end of the last Ice Age. To do this, the researchers retrieved and analysed ancient DNA from lemming populations that surrounded the ice sheet during the last Ice Age.

... more about:
»DNA »Norwegian »Swedish »clear »fossils »lemming »mammal »populations »small »species

- ”We found that even though the populations surrounding the ice sheet were closely related to modern day lemmings, none of them were similar enough to be the direct ancestor of the Norwegian lemming”, says Love Dalén, Associate Professor at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. 

After eliminating these populations as potential sources, the researchers concluded that the only remaining explanation was that the Norwegian lemming originates from a population that survived the last glaciation somewhere locally in Fennoscandia.

The exact location where the Norwegian lemming could have survived the last glaciation is not clear, but likely places include coastal areas or mountain plateaus sticking out from the ice sheet.

- ”The Norwegian lemming is the only endemic mammal in Fennoscandia, and its unusual origin is probably the reason why”, says Vendela Lagerholm, lead author on the study.

Love Dalén
Swedish Museum of Natural History
Phone: +46 8 5195 4281
Mobile: +46 70 777 2794
E-mail: love.dalen@nrm.se

Vendela Kempe Lagerholm
Swedish Museum of Natural History
Phone: +46 8 5195 5162
Email: vendela.k.lagerholm@nrm.se

Pressofficer martin Testorf, martin.testorf@nrm,se, +46-709 429011

Martin Testorf | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: DNA Norwegian Swedish clear fossils lemming mammal populations small species

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Tiny songbird discovered to migrate non-stop, 1,500 miles over the Atlantic
01.04.2015 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht The 'intraterrestrials': New viruses discovered in ocean depths
01.04.2015 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lizard activity levels can help scientists predict environmental change

Research study provides new tools to assess warming temperatures

Spring is here and ectotherms, or animals dependent on external sources to raise their body temperature, are becoming more active. Recent studies have shown...

Im Focus: Hannover Messe 2015: Saving energy with smart façades

Glass-fronted office buildings are some of the biggest energy consumers, and regulating their temperature is a big job. Now a façade element developed by Fraunhofer researchers and designers for glass fronts is to reduce energy consumption by harnessing solar thermal energy. A demonstrator version will be on display at Hannover Messe.

In Germany, buildings account for almost 40 percent of all energy usage. Heating, cooling and ventilating homes, offices and public spaces is expensive – and...

Im Focus: Nonoxide ceramics open up new perspectives for the chemical and plant engineering

Outstanding chemical, thermal and tribological properties predestine silicon carbide for the production of ceramic components of high volume. A novel method now overcomes the procedural and technical limitations of conventional design methods for the production of components with large differences in wall thickness and demanding undercuts.

Extremely hard as diamond, shrinking-free manufacturing, resistance to chemicals, wear and temperatures up to 1300 °C: Silicon carbide (SiSiC) bundles all...

Im Focus: Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...

Im Focus: Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes

The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.

As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

10. CeBiTec Symposium zum Big Data-Problem

17.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA covers Super Typhoon Maysak's rainfall, winds, clouds, eye

01.04.2015 | Earth Sciences

Quantum teleportation on a chip

01.04.2015 | Information Technology

Galaxy Clusters Formed as 'Fireworks'

01.04.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>