Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One Small Carnivore Survived The Last Ice Age In Ireland

Date:
April 22, 2007
Source:
Queen's University Belfast
Summary:
You may well ask the question, where did the animals and plants of modern day Ireland and Britain come from? Scientists have now uncovered evidence that stoats survived in Ireland at the coldest point of the last Ice Age, 23,500 years ago.

You may well ask the question, where did the animals and plants of modern day Ireland and Britain come from? Published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society, scientists at Queen’s University Belfast have uncovered evidence that stoats survived in Ireland at the coldest point of the last Ice Age, 23,500 years ago.

Related Articles


The research has revealed that despite few animals or plants surviving the millennia of freezing cold and ice, the Irish stoats had real staying power. The Irish lineage of these small carnivores that eat mice, rabbits and birds is unique according to the research.

The scientists reached their conclusions by studying the wiry mammal’s DNA collected from museum collections and gamekeepers.

Explaining the research findings, Dr Robbie McDonald, Manager of Quercus at Queen’s, explained: “These tenacious carnivores probably survived the extreme cold at the peak of the last Ice Age by living under the snow and eating lemmings, just as they do in Greenland today.

“Irish stoats are a diverse and ancient lineage, this study provides the first compelling evidence that a species of mammal found in Ireland today actually survived throughout the worst of the Ice Age weather.

“The Irish fauna is a very unusual mix of native and introduced species, but we tend to overlook the unique nature of the Irish gene pool of many species, such as stoats and hares. This work helps identify which species should be a priority for conserving the Irish natural heritage.”

Genetic research has found that the Irish lineage of stoats is about 23,500 years old, compared to the British lineage, which is about 12,000 years old.

Stoats are found over a wide range of temperature conditions ranging from warm temperate to arctic. While they currently occur in the high Arctic of Greenland and Canada, feeding on lemmings, it is known from fossils that lemmings survived in Ireland providing a potential food supply during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).

Using genetic techniques the scientists used a total of 197 tissue and skin samples collected from stoats from 153 localities in Eurasia and Greenland which yielded definite sequences.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Queen's University Belfast. "One Small Carnivore Survived The Last Ice Age In Ireland." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419145346.htm>.
Queen's University Belfast. (2007, April 22). One Small Carnivore Survived The Last Ice Age In Ireland. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419145346.htm
Queen's University Belfast. "One Small Carnivore Survived The Last Ice Age In Ireland." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419145346.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — Visitors take a trip down murderer memory lane at the Museum of Death located in the heart of Hollywood. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Major Clue Found In Amelia Earhart Mystery

Major Clue Found In Amelia Earhart Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — Researchers believe they have identified a fragment from Amelia Earhart's plane. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dracula's Dungeon May Have Been Found in Turkey

Dracula's Dungeon May Have Been Found in Turkey

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) — Historians think they may have discovered a dungeon in Turkey where the Romanian prince who inspired Count Dracula was once held captive. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Doesn't Prove Megalodons Are Extinct, Never Needed To

Study Doesn't Prove Megalodons Are Extinct, Never Needed To

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) — How and why a study about when the giant prehistoric shark Megalodon went extinct got picked up as "proof" that it is. 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