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 Magic number colloidal clusters
13.12.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Record levels of mercury released by thawing permafrost in Canadian Arctic
13.12.2018 | University of Alberta

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magic number colloidal clusters

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>