The phylogenetic position of the 'giant deer' Megaloceros giganteus


Lister, A.M., Edwards, C.J., Nock, D.A., Bunce, M., Van Pijlen, I.A., Bradley, D.G., Thomas, M.G. and Barnes, I. (2005) The phylogenetic position of the 'giant deer' Megaloceros giganteus. Nature, 438, 850-853. (doi:10.1038/nature04134).

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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature04134

Description/Abstract

The giant deer, or 'Irish elk', has featured extensively in debates on adaptation, sexual selection, and extinction. Its huge antlers—the largest of any deer species, living or extinct—formed a focus of much past work. Yet the phylogenetic position of the giant deer has remained an enigma. On the basis of its flattened antlers, the species was previously regarded as closely related to the living fallow deer. Recent morphological studies, however, have challenged that view and placed the giant deer closer to the living red deer or wapiti. Here we present a new phylogenetic analysis encompassing morphological and DNA sequence evidence, and find that both sets of data independently support a sister-group relationship of giant and fallow deer. Our results include the successful extraction and sequencing of DNA from this extinct species, and highlight the value of a joint molecular and morphological approach.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Letters
ISSNs: 0028-0836 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
ePrint ID: 25764
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2006
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:14
Contact Email Address: I.Barnes@ucl.ac.uk
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/25764

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