EGU21-372, updated on 03 Mar 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-372
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Ecological turnover and megafaunal ghost ranges during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in central Yukon, Canada as revealed by palaeoenvironmental DNA

Tyler J. Murchie1,2, Alistair J. Monteath3,4, George S. Long5, Emil Karpsinski1,5, Scott Cocker3, Grant Zazula6, Ross MacPhee7, Duane Froese3, and Hendrik Poinar1,2,8
Tyler J. Murchie et al.
  • 1McMaster Ancient DNA Centre, McMaster University, Canada
  • 2Department of Anthropology, McMaster University, Canada
  • 3Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada
  • 4School of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  • 5Department of Biology, McMaster University, Canada
  • 6Palaeontology Program, Department of Tourism and Culture, Yukon Government, Canada
  • 7Division of Vertebrate Zoology/Mammalogy, American Museum of Natural History, United States
  • 8Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, Canada

The multitude of factors alleged to have contributed to the late Quaternary mass extinction of some two-thirds of Earth’s megafauna is complicated by the coarse record of buried macro-fossils. In response, micro-methods such as ancient DNA have been increasingly able to augment discontinuous palaeontological records to investigate the relative timings of vegetation turnover versus megafaunal extirpations—all in the absence of biological tissues. Here, we present sedimentary ancient DNA data retrieved using the PalaeoChip Arctic-1.0 bait-set diachronically identifying fauna and flora from permafrost cores recovered from the Klondike region of central Yukon, Canada dating between 30,000–6000 calendar years BP. We observe a substantial turnover in ecosystem composition between 13,000–10,000 BP with the rise of woody shrubs and the disappearance of mammoth-steppe vegetation. We also identify a lingering signal of Equus sp. (North American horse) and Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth) from multiple samples thousands of years after their last dated macro-fossils, possibly as late as the mid-Holocene.

How to cite: Murchie, T. J., Monteath, A. J., Long, G. S., Karpsinski, E., Cocker, S., Zazula, G., MacPhee, R., Froese, D., and Poinar, H.: Ecological turnover and megafaunal ghost ranges during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in central Yukon, Canada as revealed by palaeoenvironmental DNA, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-372, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-372, 2020.

Display materials

Display file