to produce fertile offspring -- with contiguous populations of Red deer.Consequently, many scientists prefer to think of as a “superspecies” or “ring species”, containing a number of very closely-related animals that can all be considered Red deer. The idea that Red deer and wapiti are distinct species is not a new one; some of the first suggestions were made in 1737 and wapitis were first elevated to the species level by German naturalist Georg Heinrich Borowski in 1780.In particular, Dr Lönnberg describes the skulls of two stags killed in Glenquoich Forest in Invernesshire, north-west Scotland.The skulls displayed some features in common with Swedish (It is accordingly neither identical with the typical race of southern Sweden nor with the race of western Norway and most probably forms an independent geographic race or subspecies which suitably may be termed .Unfortunately, the majority of these traits are not good taxonomic indicators, because they’re readily influenced by the environment – arguably this is especially true for body size and antler growth, both of which can be severely limited in habitats with poor grazing/browsing, even though antler development appears deeply rooted in the animal’s genetics.Consequently, the subspecific division of the Red deer remains a controversial topic.
all those except the Musk deer of the south Asian mountains) can be grouped within a single family: the Cervidae.
It is the Cervini tribe that interests us here – it contains four genera: is, to say the least, a contentious genus and there is much debate as to the number of species, and especially the number of subspecies, it contains.
I have opted to follow the bulk of the molecular data here and as such consider there to be 10 species within the ) deer, although both studies used artificial insemination and success rates were low.
I don’t wish to get too tied up in the debates over which are valid subspecies and why, but I will briefly cover the story of the subspecies considered by many to be the native stock of Britain: about the geographic races of Red deer.
In the paper Dr Lönnberg compared the skull anatomy of Red deer collected from various parts of its range and proposed several of the 12-or-so subspecies still in contention today.
Red deer, as we currently think of them, may actually be as many as three separate species, according to the cytochrome analysis performed by Christian Pitra and his colleagues published in the journal during 2004.