Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Elephant family tree needs a rethink?

arroba Email
Palaeoloxodon antiquus, 781,000–50,000 years ago/DFoidl, CC

Extinct species’ DNA suggests so, according to researchers. From Ewen Callaway at Nature:

Scientists had assumed from fossil evidence that an ancient predecessor called the straight-tusked elephant (Paleoloxodon antiquus), which lived in European forests until around 100,000 years ago, was a close relative of Asian elephants.

In fact, this ancient species is most closely related to African forest elephants, a genetic analysis now reveals. Even more surprising, living forest elephants in the Congo Basin are closer kin to the extinct species than they are to today’s African savannah-dwellers. And, together with newly announced genomes from ancient mammoths, the analysis also reveals that many different elephant and mammoth species interbred in the past. More.

Speciation ain’t what it used to be. Neither is certainty about evolution.

See also: New butterfly has 46 chromosomes, like a human, not the expected 68, like a close relative


DNA: Giraffes are four separate species?

"... many different elephant and mammoth species interbred ..." But aren't different species supposed to not be able to interbreed? However if all these different "species" are varieties descended from one original kind then interbreeding comes as no surprise. aarceng

Leave a Reply