Relaxed phylogenetics and dating with
Certain aspects of the natural history common to all deer (e.g.antler growth and formation, collisions with vehicles, chronic wasting disease) have been split from the individual overviews and placed into their own Q/A – this is partly to avoid repetition but also to allow more detailed coverage of the topics.Generally-speaking, it is considered that in order for two individuals to be considered for subspecific status, there should be a maximum of 10% overlap in physical characteristics – in other words, they should be at least 90% different from each other.Drs Lowe and Gardiner examined the skulls of 10 of the 19 subspecies of Red deer listed by John Ellerman and Sir Charles Morrison-Scott in their 1951 , examining 16 variables of skull size and shape and subjecting the data to three separate statistical analyses.The Red deer has a long history in Britain – one of only two native deer species in the UK, it’s a beast highly prized by hunters, naturalists, artists, poets and photographers alike.Renowned Scottish artist Archibald Thorburn summed up the situation nicely in his 1920 book .” That which follows is a summary of Red deer natural history.In his ) typically reaches less than 100kg (220 lbs); Red stags in Britain and Norway sport thick, dark neck manes, while those in Spain fail to develop any trace of a mane.Coat colour and differences in the size and shape of the antlers are also often among the characteristics used to distinguish subspecies.
all those except the Musk deer of the south Asian mountains) can be grouped within a single family: the Cervidae.
) Traditionally, many authors have chosen to lump wapiti within (i.e.
as a subspecies of) the Red deer because, despite various anatomical, biochemical, ecological, behavioural and (more recently) genetic differences, wapiti are able to hybridize successfully -- i.e.
The wapiti range over much of North America and eastern Asia and are superficially similar to the Red deer of Europe and Asia (an area collectively termed “Eurasia”).
(Incidentally, the wapiti are often referred to as “elk” in North America, but should not be confused with the European “elk”, or Moose, !