An ‛Aukward' Tale: A Genetic Approach to Discover the Whereabouts of the Last Great Auks.

Thomas, J.E., Carvalho, G.R., Haile, J., Martin, M.D., Castruita, J.A.S., Niemann, J., Sinding, M-H.S., Sandoval-Velasco, M., Rawlence, N.J., Fuller, E., Fjeldså, J., Hofreiter, M., Stewart, J. R., Gilbert, M.T.P. and Knapp, M., 2017. An ‛Aukward' Tale: A Genetic Approach to Discover the Whereabouts of the Last Great Auks. Genes (Basel), 8 (6), 164.

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DOI: 10.3390/genes8060164

Abstract

One hundred and seventy-three years ago, the last two Great Auks, Pinguinusimpennis, ever reliably seen were killed. Their internal organs can be found in the collections of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, but the location of their skins has remained a mystery. In 1999, Great Auk expert Errol Fuller proposed a list of five potential candidate skins in museums around the world. Here we take a palaeogenomic approach to test which-if any-of Fuller's candidate skins likely belong to either of the two birds. Using mitochondrial genomes from the five candidate birds (housed in museums in Bremen, Brussels, Kiel, Los Angeles, and Oldenburg) and the organs of the last two known individuals, we partially solve the mystery that has been on Great Auk scholars' minds for generations and make new suggestions as to the whereabouts of the still-missing skin from these two birds.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:2073-4425
Uncontrolled Keywords:ancient DNA ; extinct birds ; mitochondrial genome ; museum specimens ; palaeogenomics
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:29460
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:11 Jul 2017 08:01
Last Modified:11 Jul 2017 08:01

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