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Cave paintings and bones’ DNA reveal origins of European wood bison

Cave paintings and bones’ DNA reveal origins of European wood bison

The archaeologists from several universities revealed a unique combination of fossil DNA, which can be extremely helpful to decode the mystery of the ancient cave paintings and to know the origins of European wood bison. The article of international research team about these discoveries published in the journal Nature Communications.

The archaeologists from the Australia, Russia, UK, and Denmark have revealed an interesting fact: 120,000 years ago, the European wood bison originated as a cross between aurochs and steppe bison. The fossil DNA helped to decode this information from the bones of bison, says Australian co-author Alan Cooper, from the University of Adelaide. He added:

“It’s truly surprising that cross-breeding between two mammals has lead to the formation of a new species. They’ve been able to cross-bred. It shouldn’t be possible. It was there the whole time, we just couldn’t see it.” 

Dr Crees, the colleague of Dr Cooper from the Zoological Society of London, says that recent discoveries of international team are amazing. Their article in Nature Communications helps explain why it’s so difficult to distinguish between aurochs and bison bones. Dr Crees added that the cave painters depicted the species in detail, 15,000 years ago.