Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Extinct giant deer’s descendant found in UK

05.09.2005


UCL (University College London) scientists have found that the closest living relative to the extinct Irish Elk (giant deer) lives on our shores. The team tested for DNA and skeletal features to prove that the giant deer - which roamed across Europe and Siberia with prehistoric man and is the subject of numerous cave drawings - has its DNA in common with the fallow deer, one of the most widespread deer in the UK since their introduction by the Normans in the eleventh century.



The results, published online by Nature, contradict recent morphological studies (looking at skeletal features) which placed the giant deer closer to the living red deer. Professor Adrian Lister and Dr Ian Barnes, UCL Department of Biology, prove the link with the fallow deer by basing their findings on DNA sequence evidence taken from the long-extinct deer and an analysis of the key characteristics it has in common with modern deer.

The fallow deer (or Dama dama) is the last surviving member of the megacerine (giant deer) fossil group and has changed considerably since its prehistoric origins. Although its lineage can be seen in the antlers - the fallow deer has the same flattened antlers that the giant deer was renowned for – in size, the modern day deer is comparatively small.


The giant deer (or Megaloceros giganteus – meaning gigantic antlers) lived from 400,000 years ago to its extinction 8000 years ago and would have towered over its descendant, reaching a shoulder height of around two metres with antlers spanning 3.5 metres (10 feet).

Deer from around the world (including the southeast Asian axis deer, the hog deer and fallow deer) were DNA tested and their characteristics - such as antlers, skull and teeth size & shape - were studied. Two giant deer were used; one found in the Ballynamintra Cave, Waterford, Ireland which was around 13,000 years old; the other taken from Kamyshlov Mire in western Siberia.

Dr Lister said: "The fact that DNA survives in fossil bone that is thousands of years old is an exciting bit of science in itself. Now we can analyse these ancient DNA samples from the bones of a mammal that has been extinct for over 8000 years and show that they are directly related to a living deer – more importantly we’ve found its closest living descendant."

Alex Brew | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

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,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

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...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

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...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

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...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers devise microreactor to study formation of methane hydrate

23.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

ShAPEing the future of magnesium car parts

23.08.2017 | Automotive Engineering

New insights into the world of trypanosomes

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>