Brevia

Pleistocene Brown Bears in the Mid-Continent of North America

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Science  12 Nov 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5699, pp. 1150
DOI: 10.1126/science.1101495

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Abstract

Current biogeographic models hypothesize that brown bears migrated from Asia to the New World ~100 to 50 thousand years ago but did not reach areas south of Beringia until ~13 to 12 thousand years ago, after the opening of a mid-continental ice-free corridor. We report a 26-thousand-year-old brown bear fossil from central Alberta, well south of Beringia. Mitochondrial DNA recovered from the specimen shows that it belongs to the same clade of bears inhabiting southern Canada and the northern United States today and that modern brown bears in this region are probably descended from populations that persisted south of the southern glacial margin during the Last Glacial Maximum.

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