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View Diary: "Science is self correcting" - on Wolves (41 comments)

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  •  I looked at the paper in a bit more detail (4+ / 0-)

    although I don't have the time to read it carefully.

    I think the situation is that the North American (which refers to all populations down to about Nicaragua) populations form a relatively genetically homogenous unit (with more unique alleles in isolated populations like those in south Florida and on Vancouver Island).  The Central American populations (Nicaragua through Panama) are the most similar to North American populations.

    The eastern South American populations are the most genetically diverse and basal in the evolutionary tree they constructed from the genetic data.  They are a bit vague about this but my impression is not that the authors are arguing that the cats travelled directly from eastern SA to North America but were instrumental in repopulating many regions that were depopulated following the Pleistocene extinction.

    Dispersal of the type you describe seems extremely unlikely as cats in general seem to be poor island colonists (most islands on which they are found such as Vancouver Island were connected to the mainland in the past).  Also, to my knowledge there is no evidence of cougars living on islands in the Caribbean (other than Trinidad which was once part of the South American continent).

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:25:37 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

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