Learn More
The Black Rat (Rattus rattus) spread out of Asia to become one of the world's worst agricultural and urban pests, and a reservoir or vector of numerous zoonotic diseases, including the devastating plague. Despite the global scale and inestimable cost of their impacts on both human livelihoods and natural ecosystems, little is known of the global genetic(More)
Ancient DNA (aDNA) research has long depended on the power of PCR to amplify trace amounts of surviving genetic material from preserved specimens. While PCR permits specific loci to be targeted and amplified, in many ways it can be intrinsically unsuited to damaged and degraded aDNA templates. PCR amplification of aDNA can produce highly-skewed(More)
The evolutionary history of the dodo is very poorly understood. Like many avian island en-demics, a high degree of morphological change associated with flightlessness and gigantism has obscured phylogenetic relationships, and historically the dodo has been linked with avian groups ranging from the ratites to the raptors (1). Since the mid-1800s,(More)
We have genetically retrieved, resurrected and performed detailed structure-function analyses on authentic woolly mammoth hemoglobin to reveal for the first time both the evolutionary origins and the structural underpinnings of a key adaptive physiochemical trait in an extinct species. Hemoglobin binds and carries O(2); however, its ability to offload O(2)(More)
The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) was widespread in Australia during the Late Pleistocene but is now endemic to the island of Tasmania. Low genetic diversity combined with the spread of devil facial tumour disease have raised concerns for the species' long-term survival. Here, we investigate the origin of low genetic diversity by inferring the(More)
Causes of late Quaternary extinctions of large mammals ("megafauna") continue to be debated, especially for continental losses, because spatial and temporal patterns of extinction are poorly known. Accurate latest appearance dates (LADs) for such taxa are critical for interpreting the process of extinction. The extinction of woolly mammoth and horse in(More)
Although it is generally agreed that the Arctic flora is among the youngest and least diverse on Earth, the processes that shaped it are poorly understood. Here we present 50 thousand years (kyr) of Arctic vegetation history, derived from the first large-scale ancient DNA metabarcoding study of circumpolar plant diversity. For this interval we also explore(More)
Small coastal dolphins endemic to south-eastern Australia have variously been assigned to described species Tursiops truncatus, T. aduncus or T. maugeanus; however the specific affinities of these animals is controversial and have recently been questioned. Historically 'the southern Australian Tursiops' was identified as unique and was formally named(More)
Recent human expansion into the Pacific initiated a dramatic avian extinction crisis, and surviving taxa are typically interpreted as declining remnants of previously abundant populations. As a case in point, New Zealand's endangered yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) is widely considered to have been more abundant and widespread in the past. By(More)
Marsupials exhibit great diversity in ecology and morphology. However, compared with their sister group, the placental mammals, our understanding of many aspects of marsupial evolution remains limited. We use 101 mitochondrial genomes and data from 26 nuclear loci to reconstruct a dated phylogeny including 97% of extant genera and 58% of modern marsupial(More)