Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

DNA Analysis Reveals Rapid Population Shift Among Pleistocene Cave Bears

Date:
February 25, 2007
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Studying DNA obtained from teeth of ancient cave bears, researchers have been able to identify a shift in a particular population of the bears inhabiting a European valley in the late Pleistocene era. The findings illustrate the ability of DNA sequence analysis to reveal aspects of animal population dynamics in the distant past and potentially illuminate the influence of human migrations in animal population changes.

Studying DNA obtained from teeth of ancient cave bears, researchers have been able to identify a shift in a particular population of the bears inhabiting a European valley in the late Pleistocene era. The findings illustrate the ability of DNA sequence analysis to reveal aspects of animal population dynamics in the distant past and potentially illuminate the influence of human migrations in animal population changes. The new work, reported by a collaborative group of researchers including Michael Hofreiter of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, appears in the February 20th issue of the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press.

Related Articles


To investigate the stability of ancient cave bear populations over time, the researchers obtained DNA samples from 29 cave bear teeth from three geographically close caves in the Ach Valley, near the Danube River in modern-day southern Germany. Twenty of the teeth ultimately provided useful mitochondrial DNA sequence (mitochondrial DNA is especially useful for tracking population changes). The findings indicated that while four sequence types (known as haplotypes) corresponded to bears 28,000 to 38,000 years old, a fifth DNA haplotype was found only in bears that were 28,000 years old or younger. These data suggested that what had been a stable, long-established cave bear population became disrupted around 28,000 years ago and was replaced by a new, genetically distinct cave bear group.

The timing of the disruption appears to roughly coincide with the arrival of modern humans in the Ach Valley, thought to have occurred by 32,000 years ago. The researchers suggest that human influence in the form of hunting and competition for sheltering caves may represent a plausible explanation for the disruption in the cave bear population, creating an opportunity for the infiltration by a neighboring cave bear group. The authors note that though the new bears successfully colonized the Ach Valley for a time, they endured only another 2,000 years before becoming extinct in the region.

The researchers include Michael Hofreiter and Svante Pääbo of Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany; Susanne Münzel and Nicholas J. Conard of Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen in Tübingen, Germany; Joshua Pollack and Montgomery Slatkin of University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, CA; Gunter Weiss of Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Hofreiter et al.: "Sudden replacement of cave bear mitochondrial DNA in the late Pleistocene." Publishing in Current Biology 17, R122-3, February 20, 2007 DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2007.01.026. http://www.current-biology.com


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "DNA Analysis Reveals Rapid Population Shift Among Pleistocene Cave Bears." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220005046.htm>.
Cell Press. (2007, February 25). DNA Analysis Reveals Rapid Population Shift Among Pleistocene Cave Bears. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220005046.htm
Cell Press. "DNA Analysis Reveals Rapid Population Shift Among Pleistocene Cave Bears." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220005046.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Richard III Saga Ends With Burial And An Eye Roll

Richard III Saga Ends With Burial And An Eye Roll

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) — Richard III was finally laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral on Thursday, but not without some controversy over who should get credit for finding him. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Triassic Salamander Acted More Like A Crocodile

Giant Triassic Salamander Acted More Like A Crocodile

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) — An ancient crocodile-like salamander more than 10 times the average size of its modern-day counterparts has been discovered in Portugal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Plague-Era Skeletons Bring History Back to Life in London

Plague-Era Skeletons Bring History Back to Life in London

AFP (Mar. 24, 2015) — London office workers are coming face-to-face with the hidden history beneath their feet as 3,000 skeletons dating back to the 16th century are dug up to make way for a new railway line. Duration: 01:11 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Add Woolly Mammoth DNA To Elephant Cells

Scientists Add Woolly Mammoth DNA To Elephant Cells

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) — A group of Harvard researchers have been working on this project for a while, but it&apos;s not without critics. 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