Mitochondrial DNA of pre-last glacial maximum red deer from NW Spain suggests a more complex phylogeographical history for the species

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The major climatic oscillations that characterized the Quaternary had a great influence on the evolution and distribution of several species. During cold periods, the distribution of temperate-adapted species became fragmented with many surviving in southern refugia (Iberian, Italian, and Balkan Peninsulas). Red deer was one of the species that contracted its original range to southern refugia. Currently, two main lineages have been described for the species: western and eastern. We have analyzed fossils pre-dating the last glacial maximum (LGM) from Liñares cave (NW Spain) that belongs to the peripheral range of the western clade, and fossils from the Danish Holocene belonging to the central part of the same clade. Phylogenetic analyses place our samples in the western clade. However, some specimens from Liñares represent an early split in the tree along with other pre-LGM western samples from previous studies. Despite low bootstrap values in the Bayesian phylogenies, haplotype networks connect these foreign haplotypes to the eastern clade. We suggest a mixed phylogeographical model to explain this pattern with range expansions from the east during the expansion phase after the cold periods in marine isotope stage 3. We find slight isolation by distance in post-LGM populations that could be a consequence of the recolonization from southern refugia after the LGM.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number24
Pages (from-to)10690-10700
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

    Research areas

  • ancient DNA, Denmark, Late Pleistocene, phylogeography, red deer, Spain

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 188270271