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

Related Articles


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 October 24, 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 October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) Hundreds of archeological jewels in and around the town of 30,000 people prompt geologists and archeologists to call the Erfoud area "the largest open air fossil museum in the world". Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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