Levent Atici (Undergraduate Research) participated in a project led by Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland) geneticists together with a team of international collaborators, to discover a previously-unknown lineage of wild goats from bone over ten-millennia old. The new goat type referred to as “the Taurasian tur," are likely survivors of the Last Glacial Maximum (the Ice Age), which stranded their ancestors in the high peaks of the Taurus Mountains of Turkey where their remains were found. The team suggests that the ancestors of tur lived across a broader geographical area over the past 100,000 years, from the Caucasus Mountains to the Taurus Mountains by the Mediterranean, and that climate change may have caused habitat fragmentation. The Last Glacial Maximum may have made many areas inhospitable, forcing these goats to compete with other species. The Taurasian tur may have been a leftover group, restricted to the peaks in the Taurus Mountains. The increasing human activity would have placed additional pressure on the Taurasian tur, with hunting evidenced at Direkli Cave.
The research was subject to open peer review and recommendation at PCI Genomics and is today published in the journal eLife. The full citation is:
Kevin G Daly, Benjamin S Arbuckle, Conor Rossi, Valeria Mattiangeli, Phoebe A Lawlor, Marjan Mashkour, Eberhard Sauer, Joséphine Lesur, Levent Atici, Cevdet Merih Erek, Daniel G Bradley (2022) A novel lineage of the Capra genus discovered in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey using ancient genomics eLife 11:e82984.