Oct 19, 2016

Early cave art and ancient DNA record the origin of European bison

Nature Communications
Julien SoubrierAlan Cooper

Abstract

The two living species of bison (European and American) are among the few terrestrial megafauna to have survived the late Pleistocene extinctions. Despite the extensive bovid fossil record in Eurasia, the evolutionary history of the European bison (or wisent, Bison bonasus) before the Holocene (<11.7 thousand years ago (kya)) remains a mystery. We use complete ancient mitochondrial genomes and genome-wide nuclear DNA surveys to reveal that the wisent is the product of hybridization between the extinct steppe bison (Bison priscus) and ancestors of modern cattle (aurochs, Bos primigenius) before 120 kya, and contains up to 10% aurochs genomic ancestry. Although undetected within the fossil record, ancestors of the wisent have alternated ecological dominance with steppe bison in association with major environmental shifts since at least 55 kya. Early cave artists recorded distinct morphological forms consistent with these replacement events, around the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ∼21-18 kya).

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  • Citations18

References

Mentioned in this Paper

Genome-Wide Association Study
American
Genome
PXT1 gene
DNA, Mitochondrial
Nucleic Acid Hybridization Procedure
Thyroid (BEEF)
Bos taurus
Ancient DNA
Cell Nucleus

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