Musk ox decline by climate change


This is a video about the muskox in Greenland.

From Animal Science Blog:

Musk Ox Population Decline Due to Climate

A team of researchers has discovered that the drastic decline in Arctic musk ox populations that began roughly 12,000 years ago was due to a warming climate rather than to human hunting. “This is the first study to use ancient musk ox DNA collected from across the animal’s former geographic range to test for human impacts on musk ox populations,” said Beth Shapiro, the Shaffer Career Development assistant professor of biology at Penn State University and one of the team’s leaders. “We observed that, even though human and musk ox populations overlapped in a number of regions across the globe, humans probably were not responsible for the decline and eventual extinction of musk oxen across much of their former range.” The team’s findings would be reported in the 8 March 2010 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Musk oxen once were plentiful across the entire Northern Hemisphere, but they now exist almost solely in Greenland and number only about 80,000 to 125,000. As per the researchers, musk oxen are not the only animals to suffer during the late Pleistocene Epoch. “The late Pleistocene was marked by rapid environmental change as well as the beginning of the spread of humans across the Northern Hemisphere,” said Shapiro. “During that time several animals became extinct, including mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses, while others, including horses, caribou, and bison, survived into the present. The reasons for these drastically different survival patterns have been debated widely, with some researchers claiming that the extinctions were due largely to human hunting. Musk oxen provide a unique opportunity to study this question because they suffered from a decline in their population that coincided with the Pleistocene extinctions, yet they still exist today, which allows us to compare the genetic diversity of today’s individuals with those individuals that lived up to 60,000 years ago”.

August 2010: The decline of woolly mammoths, woolly rhino and the cave lion may have been because of massive reduction in grasslands and the spread of forests, according to the latest research: here.

ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2011) — The genetic history of six large herbivores — the woolly rhinoceros, woolly mammoth, wild horse, reindeer, bison, and musk ox — has shown that both climate change and humans were responsible for the extinction or near extinction of large mammal populations within the last 10,000 years. The study, which is the first to use genetic, archeological, and climatic data together to infer the population history of large-bodied Ice Age mammals, will be published in the journal Nature: here.

Greenpeace launches campaign to save Ontario’s woodland caribou: here.

Reindeer can spot predators and food against a snowy backdrop thanks to an unusual ability to see UV light: here.

2 thoughts on “Musk ox decline by climate change

  1. Pingback: Musk oxen in the Arctic, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Arctic wildlife gains and losses | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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