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Location: N. CA
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Mule deer are blacktails

According to new DNA testing mule deer came from the breeding of whitetail does by blacktail bucks eons ago.

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Mule deer are blacktails

Well according to this article the studies used mitochondrial DNA what they refer to in the article as the "mother's DNA". Actually mitochondrial DNA isn't the typical DNA that you hear about on the news.

Mitochondria are a part of every cell, they "power" the cell. But they are not a part of the nucleus where the vast majority of DNA resides in the chromosomes.

The interesting thing about mitochondria is that you get all of them from your mom! Has to do with sperm and eggs...

At any rate, I don't see how this research can show anything more than that whitetail, mule, and blacktail all come from the same mother. Maybe they looked at the mutation rate in the mito DNA... Just out of curosity do you have references on the studies? If the mito DNA studies are correct then the species names should be changed.

On a side note, a few years ago, science ran an article about similar mitochondrial studies in humans! It showed that all native americans (at least all that they drew blood from) from alaska to the yucatan to peru all had very similar mitochondrial DNA, therefore all had the same common ancestors.

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2002-05-23 21:14 ]

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Mule deer are blacktails

bitmaster, We'll I see I lit a fire under your but. The info I was refering to was published in a book on mule deer hunting no less. And everything has got to come from something, I agree.

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Mule deer are blacktails

Chekc out, Mule Deer Country by Valerius Geist. It's a good read.

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Mule deer are blacktails

ontarget, sorry about that. I didn't mean to come off like I was attacking you.

It is interesting that they used mito DNA for these studies. I was just expressing my reservations. I'll check out the book and see what I learn.

By the way, I have hunted mule deer, but never blacktail. Have you hunted mule and blacktail? Are they about the same or are there differences? Thanks....

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Location: N. CA
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Mule deer are blacktails

bitmasher, no need to apologize. If we can't have a little fun discussing different topics, whats the use. I'm not saying I believe the results, it's just interesting. About the only way for us to be sure, well we would have to witness the event. You could say it's just like the Dino theory, some say they were worm blooded others say cold. Unless we can travel back in time, we will ever truely know. That is unless the clone the damn things.

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Mule deer are blacktails

Well, I'll check out this book and see if it sheds any light on the matter. I actually do think that the mito DNA could prove it conclusively about who beget who in the deer family. But it just depends on the quality of research....

Speaking of cloning did you see this? PCR on a Tasmanian Tiger's DNA is a long way from cloning but its definitely a start...

Location: Boise, Idaho
Joined: 10/04/2004
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Mule deer are blacktails

Blacktail bucks and whitetail does is a little oversimplified, don't you think?

I've often wondered about the ability of whitetails and mule deer to interbreed. Have taken some deer in western South Dakota (which is co-habitated) that have antler characteristics that don't match their tails. Usually it's muley-like 4x4 forks on a whitetail. If your theory holds, this would result in a new species right?

Regardless of where mule deer came from, they've evolved into a separate species. There are differences in body weight/size, coloration, antler size, and probably numerous others. I believe there are even subspecies of blacktail deer. Can't recall all the subs right now, but believe Sitka is one.

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Location: Southeast Washington State
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Mule deer are blacktails

Well, they can analyze mito DNA all they want, but breeding blacktail and whitetail, no matter what combo, does not produce a mulie. Yes, they can breed, just like horses and donkeys make mules, but it isn't a new species they are creating, it is called a hybrid. We have a fair number of mulie/whitetail hybrids out here since the whitetail have really encroached on the mule deer area around these parts.

Blacktail and Mulies are closely related, but do not share many similar characteristics. Mainly, mulies are much larger than either blacktail or whitetail, and their forage are dramatically different. Mule deer like to roam around a lot, whereas the others are much more territorial.

I suspect if you go back in the geneology far enough, you will find that all deer come from the same ancient stock, much the same as humans and chimps come from some common ancestor (unless you are a creationist, that is).

Sometimes these scientists just can't get their heads outside of the box.

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Mule deer are blacktails
Idaho Big Game Hunter wrote:
If your theory holds, this would result in a new species right?

If you mix two species (which is rare by natural means) and the offspring are able to interbreed with each other, yes it is by definition a new species.

The strict definition of species does not allow interbreeding of species. If two species can interbreed and produce viable offspring, then one has to question whether the two "species" are in fact just one species (of which the former two are now just loose "subspecies").

Take for instance the basset hound and the doberman. They look pretty different, yet, while most likely difficult, it is possible for them to interbreed. Thus they are in the same species.

Officially the blacktail is considered a subspecies of mule deer. In other words, blacktail and mule deer are one in the same.

I concur that whitetail, mule deer, and blacktail are very close on the evolutionary tree, if not the exact same branch with minor variations. I see no reason to believe that one group beget another group. The pacific northwest has lots of unique and slightly different wildlife compared to similar cousins to the east (the roosevelt elk versus rocky mtn elk comes to mind). I suspect that mule deer and blacktail are identical and the distinction in appearance is a result of divergence of the same line, rather than convergence of two different lines.

Whatever the result, nature is interesting.

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