The ancestry of fallow deer (Dama) is found in Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene Pseudodama, deer with unpalmated four-point antlers. Dama with palmated antlers first appears in the late Middle Pleistocene. Until now, fallow deer from the intervening early Middle Pleistocene were very poorly known The unique features shared by a specimen from Pakefield (UK) and one from Soleilhac (France) justify the recognition of a new species, Dama roberti, named for Robert Mutch and Félix Robert. The form of the antler base and details of the teeth and bones make clear that the new species is part of the Pseudodama/Dama group. Some characters of D. roberti are primitive, reminiscent of Pseudodama. The loss of the middle tine might be a continuation of a trend of reduction in late Pseudodama. The incipient flattening (palmation) could indicate ancestry to later Dama, or be a parallel acquisition. Two possible phylogenetic trees are suggested: either D. roberti is close to the ancestry of modern fallow deer, or it is a separate branch of the Pseudodama group and should probably be referred to that genus. Based on antler characters both trees require five transitions so, on that basis, one tree cannot be chosen as more parsimonious than the other. This question is currently being addressed by a phylogenetic analysis based on more than 80 characters of antlers, teeth and bones in the context of other European Pleistocene deer species.

A new species of deer from the early Middle Pleistocene, and the origins of modern fallow deer

BREDA, Marzia;
2014

Abstract

The ancestry of fallow deer (Dama) is found in Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene Pseudodama, deer with unpalmated four-point antlers. Dama with palmated antlers first appears in the late Middle Pleistocene. Until now, fallow deer from the intervening early Middle Pleistocene were very poorly known The unique features shared by a specimen from Pakefield (UK) and one from Soleilhac (France) justify the recognition of a new species, Dama roberti, named for Robert Mutch and Félix Robert. The form of the antler base and details of the teeth and bones make clear that the new species is part of the Pseudodama/Dama group. Some characters of D. roberti are primitive, reminiscent of Pseudodama. The loss of the middle tine might be a continuation of a trend of reduction in late Pseudodama. The incipient flattening (palmation) could indicate ancestry to later Dama, or be a parallel acquisition. Two possible phylogenetic trees are suggested: either D. roberti is close to the ancestry of modern fallow deer, or it is a separate branch of the Pseudodama group and should probably be referred to that genus. Based on antler characters both trees require five transitions so, on that basis, one tree cannot be chosen as more parsimonious than the other. This question is currently being addressed by a phylogenetic analysis based on more than 80 characters of antlers, teeth and bones in the context of other European Pleistocene deer species.
Dama roberti; modern fallow deer ancestry; early Middle Pleistocene; phylogeny
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/1901216
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