Dan Chang, University of California, Santa Cruz
Michael Knapp, University of Otago
Jacob Enk, McMaster Ancient DNA Centre
Sebastian Lippold, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Martin Kircher, University of Washington, Seattle
Adrian Lister, The Natural History Museum, London
Ross D.E. Macphee, American Museum of Natural History
Christopher Widga, East Tennessee State UniversityFollow
Paul Czechowski, Antarctic Biological Research Initiative
Robert Sommer, Universität Rostock
Emily Hodges, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Nikolaus Stümpel, Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum
Ian Barnes, The Natural History Museum, London
Love Dalén, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet
Anatoly Derevianko, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Mietje Germonpré, Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen
Alexandra Hillebrand-Voiculescu, Institute of Speleology Emil Racovita
Silviu Constantin, Institute of Speleology Emil Racovita
Tatyana Kuznetsova, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Dick Mol, Mammuthus Club International
Thomas Rathgeber, Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart
Wilfried Rosendahl
Alexey N. Tikhonov, Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Eske Willerslev, Københavns Universitet
Greg Hannon, University of Cambridge
Carles Lalueza-Fox, CSIC-UPF - Instituto de Biologia Evolutiva (IBE)
Ulrich Joger, Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum
Hendrik Poinar, McMaster Ancient DNA Centre

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Near the end of the Pleistocene epoch, populations of the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) were distributed across parts of three continents, from western Europe and northern Asia through Beringia to the Atlantic seaboard of North America. Nonetheless, questions about the connectivity and temporal continuity of mammoth populations and species remain unanswered. We use a combination of targeted enrichment and high-throughput sequencing to assemble and interpret a data set of 143 mammoth mitochondrial genomes, sampled from fossils recovered from across their Holarctic range. Our dataset includes 54 previously unpublished mitochondrial genomes and significantly increases the coverage of the Eurasian range of the species. The resulting global phylogeny confirms that the Late Pleistocene mammoth population comprised three distinct mitochondrial lineages that began to diverge ∼1.0-2.0 million years ago (Ma). We also find that mammoth mitochondrial lineages were strongly geographically partitioned throughout the Pleistocene. In combination, our genetic results and the pattern of morphological variation in time and space suggest that male-mediated gene flow, rather than large-scale dispersals, was important in the Pleistocene evolutionary history of mammoths.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.