Author Topic: Blacktail+Whitetail=Muley?  (Read 8362 times)

Offline masonkarr90

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Re: Blacktail+Whitetail=Muley?
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2019, 02:09:16 PM »
I grew up in NW Texas where the mule deer are in their most southeast range. we also have whitetails. Occasionally you would have whitetails and muleys breed but only occurred on raches when the deer would congregate to food sources. There is a similarity between blacktails and this hybrid IE: Smaller ears, wider tails (muleys have a slim tail with no puff of fur and a bulb at the end with a black tip) Their antlers however is what interested me. They typically had the curvature of a whitetails and the forking of a mule deers very similiar to BT deer. However due to WT and MD having different habitats (WT low river bottoms with trees, farms, and MD steep canyons and plateaus) the interbreeding didnt happen very often. One thing i have read is that the BT is native to the west coast and the WT is native to the east coast. Due to westward expansion in the early 1700's WT deer were forced from their habitats to and migrated west crossing into blacktail habitat that was more than likely much further east than it is today. Over the course of hundres of thousands of years the deer more than likely interbred ( im sure that most of you know BT and WT deer have very similiar habits, and habitats) and because of the interbreeding mule deer stayed in the mixed ranges. Due to poorly managed game in the 1800's the whitetail population shrunk and they were able to move back east even tho there are still whitetails in the west today. the mule deer evolved and is its own species today.

Offline Parasite

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Re: Blacktail+Whitetail=Muley?
« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2019, 04:46:52 PM »
How do you go from 1700's to hundreds of thousands of years back to 1800's? LOL

I think you guys should capture a whitetail, a blacktail, breed em, and see what pops out the following spring. :)

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Blacktail+Whitetail=Muley?
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2019, 10:38:36 AM »
I spent much of December and January reading about these topics. I chatted with "PD" a bit about the topic till he'd had enough and quit talking to me. Without a PhD in genetics, the studies and scholarly articles on these topics will numb your brain pretty quickly.  The most recent published studies from 2017 regarding the genetic relationships between deer of the Americas are summed up in the paper below.  I'm pasting some of the specific verbiage from it so as not to misstate their words.  The gist seems to be:

1. MtDNA studies indicate that North American deer (Odocoileus) should likely be classified under the genus Pandora (rather than Odocoileus), but since the majority of important studies performed on deer in the Americas were done on O. Virginianus and can be cross-referenced by that name, it would create scientific confusion to change the genus name of WT deer. 

2. BT deer seem to be more closely related to the species Mazama Pandora, a small deer found in the Yucatan Peninsula, than to Mule Deer. In fact Mule Deer are more closely related to WT deer than they are to BT deer.  (Hard to imagine considering the similarity of morphology, adjacent geographic ranges, and ongoing hybridization between MD and BD!)

3. Other discussions on this thread regarding WT hybridiztion:  They do hybridize with BT deer.  Genetic studies of Columbian WT's show evidence of BT's in their genome (no reference cited below)  Google: Cowan Blacktail - WT hybridization.  Also, I provided a study examining the hybridization of WTs and Mule Deer in Texas.   Y'all can read that if you're interested.

4. (edit) Genetic study on the speciation of deer in North America link at the bottom.  This mitochondrial  DNA study indicates that BT deer separated from the other Odocoileus species around 2 million years ago, and represent the oldest deer lineage of that Genus in N. America.  "The mule deer mtDNA lineage diverged from the black.-tailed deer, and the white-tailed deer mtDNA lineage subsequently diverged from the mule deer lineage." 
None of this is set in stone, but the science clearly indicates that the entire subject needs more study to gain a better picture of the evolution of the deer of the Americas.

The traditional classification of species of Odocoileus is incongruent with the phylogenetic information currently available for them. Our results suggest (1) that the columbianus and sitkensis lineages, currently treated as subspecies of Od. hemionus, form a clade that is more closely related to Od. pandora than to Od. hemionus; and that (2) Od. hemionus appears more closely related to Od. virginianus (even to Od. virginianus from South America!) than to its putative subspecies columbianus or sitkensis. In agreement with this possibility, the level of uncorrected genetic divergence, calculated with CYTB sequence data, between the hemionus and the columbianus groups (6.2%) greatly exceeds mean levels of divergences within species (and species-like lineages) of Odocoileini and Rangiferini (all below 3.6%, Table ​Table4).4). Surprisingly in view of their importance to North American hunters, no phylogenetic study using nuclear sequence data from mule deer, white-tailed deer, and black-tailed deer have been conducted to date. If further analyses based on sequence data obtained from independently inherited loci confirm the topology obtained from mtDNA, then reconciling taxonomy with phylogenetics would require elevating columbianus and sitkensis to species rank (see Future Directions). However, such further analyses based on multiple loci are likely to produce an alternative topology, for example by recovering all lineages of mule deer, white-tailed deer, and black-tailed deer as a monophyletic group and with pandora sister to it. Under this plausible scenario, and for the sake of binomial stability, which has important implications for scientific communication (see discussion on this topic by Gutiérrez and Marinho-Filho 2017), we transfer pandora to the genus Odocoileus, in congruence with the close relationship and overall similarity it shares with other members of Odocoileus. Regardless of which of these alternative topologies will be favored by additional analyses, dense geographic sampling is necessary to produce a suitable taxonomic classification with respect to lineages currently treated as members of Od. hemionus and Od. virginianus. This is particularly important due to the tremendous morphological variation documented among (even geographically close) populations of Neotropical white-tailed deer and the possibility that they might not be conspecific (as proposed by Molina and Molinari 1999, and Molinari 2007).
From earlier in that article: 

The sister relationship between pandora and the columbianus group also suggests that the biogeographic history of these deer is complex, but this topic requires robust phylogenetic inference, enabling ancestral area reconstructions and proper molecular dating. However, discussing the nomenclatural implications of the close relationship between pandora and the genus Odocoileus is necessary, especially after Escobedo-Morales et al. (2016) advocated allocating species of Odocoileus into the genus Mazama. Such an action, which has been contemplated by a few modern authors (Haltenorth 1963, Grubb 2000, Groves and Grubb 2011), would increase congruence between available phylogenetic information and the taxonomic nomenclature of Odocoileini but diminish efficiency in communication of scientific information. Allocating species currently treated as Odocoileus within Mazama would unnecessarily (see below) disrupt the association between the name Odocoileus and at least two—and perhaps more (Molina and Molinari 1999, Molinari 2007)—species epithets and the names of numerous subspecies (between 48 and 71) (Baker 1984, Brokx 1984, Méndez 1984, Smith 1991). This action would pose difficulties for retrieval of data and bibliography from repositories, such as GenBank and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, and search engines, such as Google Scholar and the Web of Science, respectively. This is not a trivial matter because, given the importance of Odocoileus in aspects raging from public health to landscape ecology, massive amounts of data are associated with the name Odocoileus, whose North American members are among the most studied ungulates worldwide.

        Hybridization of WT and MD in Texas:

On the Speciation of North American Deer:

        Paleogeography of N. American Deer:

The earliest estimated time since divergence between a mull: deer genotype and a
white-tailed deer genotype is considerably more recent; on the basis ofBrown et aI.'s
figure, the 2.74% sequence divergence between KIMS and ORA (fable 6) corresponds
to a divergence time ofca. 1.1 x 1()6 years ago. Mule deer and black-tailed deer
genotypes diverged from each o1bera maximum ofca. 2.7 x: 1()6 years ago (maximum
sequence divergence of6.73% between AKB and eRDOS; Table 6). Based on these
estimates, the black-tailed deer genotypes represent the oldest Odocoileus mtDNA
lineage in North America. The mule deer mtDNA lineage diverged from the black.-tailed
deer, and the white-tailed deer mtDNA lineage subsequently diverged from the mule deer
lineage. This general onter is indicated by the branching pattern shown in the
pbylogenetic networks (Figures 13 and 14).

Someday I'll hit you with some good stuff on MD/BTD hybridization that might shock you a bit.

George out.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 11:41:25 AM by fishnfur »
“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”  - Will Rogers


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Re: Blacktail+Whitetail=Muley?
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2019, 04:18:03 PM »
So your sayin there’s a chance.   :chuckle: 
You are right, that did make my brain hurt.  :chuckle:
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Offline fishnfur

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Re: Blacktail+Whitetail=Muley?
« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2019, 11:22:24 PM »
Exactly!   :chuckle:

There seems to be some controversy or disbelief by some scholars on that last part as the explanation for the significant difference (divergence) of the mitochondrial DNA between BTs and that of WTs and MD.  There could be other explanations besides the early splitting off of BTs before the other species (such as significant mutation in the mtDNA), though it appears no one has ideas that are developed to the level of publishing them.  (even those two sentences made my head hurt). 

As hunters in Washington, we're pretty familiar with MD/BT hybrids and many of us love to take the opportunity to label any large-racked BT hunter's success photo as a Benchleg.  All kidding aside, there's a fascinating genetic story of how that wonderful animal came to be.  I'm pretty sure I'll never come to know the complete answer.

A fun side note to all this head-spinning literature that I came across was that the genetic research of the Columbian Whitetail Deer indicated that they are essentially the same species as the inland species found in Eastern WA.  While there are minor genetic variations between the two populations, they can easily be explained by geographic separation of the two groups over a a relatively short period of time (hundreds or a couple thousand years?).  Some scientists have suggested that the CWT be removed from the Endangered Species Listing based on these findings.  It appears that the Feds are in no hurry to take action and are willing to let the designation stand for the time being.
“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”  - Will Rogers


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