Adventures of the Mountain Hare: An Ancient DNA Study

Author(s): Alexandra Jamieson; Greger Larson

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "HumAnE Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Mountain hares today can be found from Scandinavia to Eastern Russia with isolated populations in Ireland, Scotland and the Alps. While their modern distribution is well understood, the extent of their past range and interactions with humans remains unknown. The primary aim of my research is to assess the natural and human-aided distribution of mountain hares across their circumpolar region. I am employing an ancient DNA approach to assess the geographic and temporal shifts in mitochondrial haplotypes. The study initially focuses upon the westernmost edge of their range, the Western Isles of Scotland. Mountain hares are thought to be a non-native species to the islands and their place of origin is unknown. They first appeared in archaeological deposits of the Mesolithic period. I will present here initial results showing where these mountain hares may have originated and how they came to be on the fringe of Europe. This not only informs us more about the species itself. It may even give us insights into the Mesolithic people's trade routes or possibly even the origins of the people themselves. This is only a start to my investigation into the movements of mountain hares and their interactions with past people.

Cite this Record

Adventures of the Mountain Hare: An Ancient DNA Study. Alexandra Jamieson, Greger Larson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451583)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24086