Phylogenetics and dating with confidence
However, more recently, several studies have suggested that there may be far fewer than 12 subspecies and have cast doubt on the validity of the Scottish Red as a valid subspecies.In a major review of Red deer taxonomy published in the exhibits a high degree of morphological similarity between the animals across their range.
Since then, the wapiti has been the subject of much taxonomic yo-yoing, being moved between a full species, ).I don’t wish to get too tied up in the debates over which are valid subspecies and why, but I will briefly cover the story of the subspecies considered by many to be the native stock of Britain: about the geographic races of Red deer.In the paper Dr Lönnberg compared the skull anatomy of Red deer collected from various parts of its range and proposed several of the 12-or-so subspecies still in contention today.) Traditionally, many authors have chosen to lump wapiti within (i.e.as a subspecies of) the Red deer because, despite various anatomical, biochemical, ecological, behavioural and (more recently) genetic differences, wapiti are able to hybridize successfully -- i.e.Certain aspects of the natural history common to all deer (e.g.
antler growth and formation, collisions with vehicles, chronic wasting disease) have been split from the individual overviews and placed into their own Q/A – this is partly to avoid repetition but also to allow more detailed coverage of the topics.
to produce fertile offspring -- with contiguous populations of Red deer.
Consequently, many scientists prefer to think of as a “superspecies” or “ring species”, containing a number of very closely-related animals that can all be considered Red deer. The idea that Red deer and wapiti are distinct species is not a new one; some of the first suggestions were made in 1737 and wapitis were first elevated to the species level by German naturalist Georg Heinrich Borowski in 1780.
Work by taxonomists from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s led to the splitting of wapiti and Red deer based on data from skeletal measurements, protein assays and haemoglobin morphology.
However, in their review of the situation in 1989, Patrick Lowe and Andrew Gardiner concluded that, from their analysis of nearly 300 deer skulls, although some morphological variation exists supporting the separation at the during 2004, by Technical University Munich-Weihenstephan (in Germany) taxonomist Christian Ludt and three colleagues, looked at a particular gene carried on the mt DNA of 51 populations of deer spanning the entire distribution of (henceforth referred to as the Red deer).
It is the Cervini tribe that interests us here – it contains four genera: is, to say the least, a contentious genus and there is much debate as to the number of species, and especially the number of subspecies, it contains.