The distribution and movement of species, broadly known as biogeography, is one of the fundamental subfields of ecology and evolutionary biology. However, significant mysteries remain about the processes that gave rise to the modern distribution of biodiversity across the globe. Over the last several decades, the genetic study of ancient and subfossil specimens has started to shed light on past migrations of some species, with a particular focus on humans and megafauna. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Salis et al. (2021) use ancient mitogenomes and a new phylogeographic method to add an important new piece of evidence to the mystery of megafaunal migrations into North America during the Pleistocene. They found a striking synchronicity of brown bear (Ursus arctos) and lion (Panthera spp.) migrations across the Bering Land Bridge at several time points during the late Pleistocene, which highlights the lasting impact of sea level change on the prehistoric and modern dispersal of terrestrial carnivores across continents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- ancient DNA