Russian scientists have found that, along with mammoths, several species of horses could live in North-Eastern Siberia and North America at once, said one of the study participants, a researcher at the University of Nordland (Norway) Artem Nedoluzhko.
"Scientists of the A. A. Borisyak Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, together with colleagues from the National Research Center" Kurchatov Institute ", Nordland University (Norway) and the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University named after M. V. Lomonosov were able to isolate genetic material and determine the complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome of the Lena horse (Equus lenensis) - one of the typical representatives of the mammoth fauna of North-Eastern Siberia The museum specimen of the Lena horse, with which we had to work, is an animal skull, which was discovered on Kotelny Island (Novosibirsk Islands) by the participants of the Russian Polar Expedition in 1901. Based on genetic data, it was found that at the end of the Pleistocene (the geological era, which is often also called the Ice Age), at least two groups of representatives of the genus of horses can be distinguished on the territory of Northeastern Siberia and North America, which may be closely related species. " said Nedoluzhko.
The research results are published in the scientific journal Mitochondrial DNA.
"This study is just the first step in the framework of work that will allow us to understand the evolutionary history and reasons for the extinction of mammoth fauna, as well as the genetic basis of mammalian evolution. We hope that we will be able to maintain the priority of Russian science in this area, conducting all stages of research in Russian institutions." - added the scientist. According to him, such integrative studies in the future will stop the leakage of archaeological and paleontological material abroad. The main studies of paleontological material from Russia are currently being carried out in Germany, Denmark, South Korea, the USA, and Australia.
According to the head of the study, a researcher at the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Evgeny Mashchenko, now in scientific institutions of Moscow and Yakutsk, significant paleontological material has been accumulated, containing the remains of several types of horses. Most of this material has not been studied.
Horses inhabited northeastern Siberia and northern North America, along with the mammoth and woolly rhinoceros and other animals of the Pleistocene mammoth fauna, and then became extinct.