Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How A Zebra Lost Its Stripes: Rapid Evolution Of The Quagga

Date:
September 28, 2005
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
DNA from museum samples of extinct animals is providing unexpected information on the extent and effect of the Ice Age as well as the path of species evolution, according to a report by scientists from Yale University, the Smithsonian Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Existing zebra (top row) and extinct quagga (bottom row).
Credit: Image courtesy of Yale University

Thequagga, Equus quagga, a South African relative of horses and zebras,having a front half with zebra-like stripes and a back section like ahorse with no marking, became extinct about 100 years ago. The peltfrom a quagga museum specimen was the subject of tissue sampling thatlaunched the field of ancient DNA analysis.

"Twenty years agothis exact species opened the field of ancient DNA studies on extinctanimals," said one of the authors, Gisella Caccone, senior researchscientist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology atYale. "Now, thanks to technological advances in the field, we revisitedthe story and used a population level approach to this question byanalyzing a larger fragment of DNA and multiple specimens."

Inthe past, the quagga has alternatively been described as a species anda subspecies of the Plains zebra.These researchers asked how and whenthe quagga diverged from all the remaining related horses, zebras, andasses. They compared the genetics, coat color and habitats of existingzebras with related extinct species.

The mitochondrial DNAmarkers from 13 museum specimens, including the only skeleton in museumcollections, which is at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History,showed that quagga likely diverged from Plains zebra about 120,000 to290,000 years ago during the Ice Age. These results suggest that thequagga descended from a population of plains zebras that becameisolated and the distinct quagga body type and coloring evolved rapidly.

This study reveals that the Ice Age was important not just in Europe and North America, but also in Africa.

"Therapid evolution of coat color in the quagga could be explained bydisrupted gene flow because of geographical isolation, an adaptiveresponse to a drier habitat, or a combination of both of the twoforces," said Caccone.

###

The research team also includedScott Glaberman at Yale, Jennifer A. Leonard and Robert C. Fleischerfrom the Smithsonian Institute, Michael Hofreiter and Nadin Rohlandfrom the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Citation: Biology Letters (Royal Society of London): (September 22, 2005)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "How A Zebra Lost Its Stripes: Rapid Evolution Of The Quagga." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928084511.htm>.
Yale University. (2005, September 28). How A Zebra Lost Its Stripes: Rapid Evolution Of The Quagga. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928084511.htm
Yale University. "How A Zebra Lost Its Stripes: Rapid Evolution Of The Quagga." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928084511.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — A new study is packed with interesting Neanderthal-related findings, including a "definitive answer" to when they went extinct. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mother And Son Find Woolly Mammoth Tusks 22 Years Apart

Mother And Son Find Woolly Mammoth Tusks 22 Years Apart

Newsy (Aug. 15, 2014) — A mother and son in Alaska uncovered woolly mammoth tusks in the same river more than two decades apart. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossils Reveal Ancient Flying Reptile With 'Butterfly Head'

Fossils Reveal Ancient Flying Reptile With 'Butterfly Head'

Newsy (Aug. 14, 2014) — Newly found fossils reveal a previously unknown species of flying reptile with a really weird head, which some say looks like a butterfly. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins