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 Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell 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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>