Bighorn sheep went extinct on desert island in Gulf of California, study finds

March 20, 2014 5:10 AM

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Bighorn sheep went extinct on desert island in Gulf of California, study finds

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Using ancient DNA analysis and other techniques, a research team led by conservation biologists at the University of California, Riverside has determined that bighorn sheep, so named for their massive spiral horns, became extinct on Tiburón Island, a large and mostly uninhabited island just off Sonora, Mexico, in the Gulf of California, sometime in the last millennium — specifically between the 6th and 19th centuries.

The result, published March 19 in PLOS ONE, is a surprise because conventional wisdom among wildlife biologists and the indigenous Seri people who long inhabited this coastal desert region was that bighorn sheep had not occupied Tiburón Island before 1975, when sixteen female and four male bighorn s...

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