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 Faster detection of pathogens in the lungs
24.06.2016 | Universität Zürich

nachricht How yeast cells regulate their fat balance
23.06.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena

Physicists in Innsbruck have realized the first quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories, building a bridge between high-energy theory and atomic physics. In the journal Nature, Rainer Blatt‘s and Peter Zoller’s research teams describe how they simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer.

Elementary particles are the fundamental buildings blocks of matter, and their properties are described by the Standard Model of particle physics. The...

Im Focus: Is There Life On Mars?

Survivalist back from Space - 18 months on the outer skin of the ISS

A year and a half on the outer wall of the International Space Station ISS in altitude of 400 kilometers is a real challenge. Whether a primordial bacterium...

Im Focus: CWRU physicists deploy magnetic vortex to control electron spin

Potential technology for quantum computing, keener sensors

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a way to swiftly and precisely control electron spins at room temperature.

Im Focus: Physicists measured something new in the radioactive decay of neutrons

The experiment inspired theorists; future ones could reveal new physics

A physics experiment performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has enhanced scientists' understanding of how free neutrons decay...

Im Focus: Discovery of gold nanocluster 'double' hints at other shape changing particles

New analysis approach brings two unique atomic structures into focus

Chemically the same, graphite and diamonds are as physically distinct as two minerals can be, one opaque and soft, the other translucent and hard. What makes...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ERES 2016: The largest conference in the European real estate industry

09.06.2016 | Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool'

24.06.2016 | Materials Sciences

Russian physicists create a high-precision 'quantum ruler'

24.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Hubble confirms new dark spot on Neptune

24.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>