Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
  • Publication
    Archaeological excavations at Killuragh Cave, Co. Limerick: a persistent place in the landscape from the Early Mesolithic to the Late Bronze Age
    (Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, 2017) ; ; ; ;
    Archaeological excavations at Killuragh Cave, Co. Limerick, in 1993 and 1996 followed from the discovery of prehistoric material in the 1990s by the landowner, Mr Benny O’Neill. Though a small and relatively inconspicuous site, Killuragh Cave has a long history of animal and human usage, potentially stretching back 11,000 years and continuing intermittently until the nineteenth century. The assemblage of 10,615 animal bones, 229 human bones and 209 artefacts of Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, post-medieval and modern date indicate that this was a persistent place in the landscape. The prehistoric material largely suggests that the cave was associated with ritual and funerary activities, hinting that it may have been remembered and its significance transmitted from generation to generation over several millennia.
  • Publication
    The conservation of a 19th Century giant deer display skeleton for public exhibition
    (Geological Curators Group, 2016-01-01) ; ;
    Following a mishap, a 19th Century mounted giant deer was subjected to a detailed osteological assessment and conservation treatment which required both structura repair and the extensive modeling of broken and missing skeletal components. The historic mounting system and plinth were largely intact and structurally safe for the skeleton and so these could be retained along with any historic restorations deemed sound and non-damaging. The original skull suffered irreparable damage and both antlers were detached from the specimen. A replacement skull was acquired but it was necessary to attach the original antlers to the new skull in a manner both structurally sound and aesthetically accurate enough for the deer to be placed backon open display. After testing commonly used conservation-grade filler materials suitable for fabricating missing skeletal components, losses to the vertebra and the ribcage were re-built using epoxy resin bulked to putty consistency with phenolicmicroballoons and applied over barrier layers of Paraloid B72 and Japanese tissue. All losses were in-painted with earth pigments in Paraloid B72 before rearticulation. The unique role of this specimen determined the conservation approaches adopted and included a balanced consideration of conservation ethical concerns, client expectations, future structural stability, aesthetic impact and the limitations of the future display location.
  • Publication
    Wild to domestic and back again: the dynamics of fallow deer management in medieval England (c. 11th-16th century AD)
    This paper presents the results of the first comprehensive scientific study of the fallow deer, a non-native species whose medieval-period introduction to Britain transformed the cultural landscape. It brings together data from traditional zooarchaeological analyses with those derived from new ageing techniques as well as the results of a programme of radiocarbon dating, multi-element isotope studies and genetic analyses. These new data are here integrated with historical and landscape evidence to examine changing patterns of fallow deer translocation and management in medieval England between the 11th and 16th century AD.
      147Scopus© Citations 21
  • Publication
    Ireland's fallow deer: Their historical, archaeological and biomolecular records
    (Royal Irish Academy, 2018-01-01) ; ; ;
    The Anglo-Normans first introduced fallow deer (Dama dama) to Ireland in the thirteenth century, however no biomolecular research has previously been undertaken to examine the timing, circumstances and impact of the arrival of this species. This study combines historical, zooarchaeological, genetic and isotopic data from both medieval and post-medieval samples to address this lack of research. The paper identifies a peak in the presence of fallow deer in Ireland between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with a corresponding peak in documentary evidence for their presence in the thirteenth century. The deer are predominantly male, and from castle sites, supporting the historical evidence for their link with elite hunting. The English origin of the source populations shows correspondence between the documentary evidence, suggesting a western bias-and genetic evidence-with a similarity to southern and western England. Furthermore a stable isotope study identifies two possible first-generation imports, one dating from the medieval period and one from the post-medieval period.
      321Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    Grey wolf genomic history reveals a dual ancestry of dogs
    The grey wolf (Canis lupus) was the first species to give rise to a domestic population, and they remained widespread throughout the last Ice Age when many other large mammal species went extinct. Little is known, however, about the history and possible extinction of past wolf populations or when and where the wolf progenitors of the present-day dog lineage (Canis familiaris) lived1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Here we analysed 72 ancient wolf genomes spanning the last 100,000 years from Europe, Siberia and North America. We found that wolf populations were highly connected throughout the Late Pleistocene, with levels of differentiation an order of magnitude lower than they are today. This population connectivity allowed us to detect natural selection across the time series, including rapid fixation of mutations in the gene IFT88 40,000–30,000 years ago. We show that dogs are overall more closely related to ancient wolves from eastern Eurasia than to those from western Eurasia, suggesting a domestication process in the east. However, we also found that dogs in the Near East and Africa derive up to half of their ancestry from a distinct population related to modern southwest Eurasian wolves, reflecting either an independent domestication process or admixture from local wolves. None of the analysed ancient wolf genomes is a direct match for either of these dog ancestries, meaning that the exact progenitor populations remain to be located.
      11Scopus© Citations 44
  • Publication
    Fungal microbiomes are determined by host phylogeny and exhibit widespread associations with the bacterial microbiome
    Interactions between hosts and their resident microbial communities are a fundamental component of fitness for both agents. Though recent research has highlighted the importance of interactions between animals and their bacterial communities, comparative evidence for fungi is lacking, especially in natural populations. Using data from 49 species, we present novel evidence of strong covariation between fungal and bacterial communities across the host phylogeny, indicative of recruitment by hosts for specific suites of microbes. Using co-occurrence networks, we demonstrate marked variation across host taxonomy in patterns of covariation between bacterial and fungal abundances. Host phylogeny drives differences in the overall richness of bacterial and fungal communities, but the effect of diet on richness was only evident in the mammalian gut microbiome. Sample type, tissue storage and DNA extraction method also affected bacterial and fungal community composition, and future studies would benefit from standardized approaches to sample processing. Collectively these data indicate fungal microbiomes may play a key role in host fitness and suggest an urgent need to study multiple agents of the animal microbiome to accurately determine the strength and ecological significance of host–microbe interactions.
      21Scopus© Citations 11
  • Publication
    A survey of the hybridisation status of Cervus deer species on the island of Ireland
    Red deer (Cervus elaphus) did not recolonise Ireland after the last glaciation, but the population in Co. Kerry is descended from an ancient (c. 5000 BP) introduction and merits conservation. During the mid-19th century exotic species including North American wapiti (C. canadensis) and Japanese sika deer (C. nippon nippon) were introduced to Ireland, mainly via Powerscourt Park, Co. Wicklow. While wapiti failed to establish, sika thrived, dispersed within Co. Wicklow and were translocated to other sites throughout Ireland. Red deer and sika are known to have hybridised in Ireland, particularly in Co. Wicklow, but an extensive survey with a large, highly diagnostic marker panel is required to assess the threat hybridisation potentially poses to the Co. Kerry red deer population. Here, 374 individuals were genotyped at a panel of 22 microsatellites and at a single mtDNA marker that are highly diagnostic for red deer and Japanese sika. The microsatellites are also moderately diagnostic for red deer and wapiti. Wapiti introgression was very low [trace evidence in 2 (0.53 %) individuals]. Despite long-standing sympatry of red deer and sika in the area, no red deer-sika hybrids were detected in Co. Kerry suggesting strong assortative mating by both species in this area. However, 80/197 (41 %) of deer sampled in Co. Wicklow and 7/15 (47 %) of deer sampled in Co. Cork were red-sika hybrids. Given their proximity and that hybrids are less likely to mate assortatively than pure individuals, the Co. Cork hybrids pose a threat to the Co. Kerry red deer.
      219Scopus© Citations 22
  • Publication
    A survey of free-ranging deer in Ireland for serological evidence of exposure to bovine viral diarrhoea virus, bovine herpes virus-1, bluetongue virus and Schmallenberg virus
    Background: Deer are an important wildlife species in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland having colonised most regions across the island of Ireland. In comparison to cattle and sheep which represent the main farmed ruminant species on the island, there is a lack of data concerning their exposure, as measured by the presence of antibodies, to important viral pathogens of ruminants. A study was therefore undertaken to investigate the seroprevalence of wild deer to four viruses, namely bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV), bovine herpesvirus-1 (BoHV-1), Schmallenberg virus (SBV) and bluetongue virus (BTV). Results: Two panels of sera were assembled; Panel 1 comprised 259 samples (202 collected in the Republic of Ireland and 57 in Northern Ireland) between 2013 and 2015, while Panel 2 comprised 131 samples collected in the Republic of Ireland between 2014 and 2015. Overall sika deer (Cervus nippon) were sampled most commonly (54.8%), followed by fallow deer (Dama dama) (35.3%), with red deer (Cervus elaphus) (4.3%) and hybrid species (0.3%) sampled less frequently, with the species not being recorded for the remaining 5.3% of deer sampled. Age was not recorded for 96 of the 390 deer sampled. 196 of the remainder were adults, while 68 and 30 were yearlings and calves, respectively. Using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, true prevalence and 95% confidence intervals were calculated as 9.9%, (6.8-13.0% CI), SBV; 1.5% (0.1-3.0% CI), BoHV-1; 0.0%, 0-1.7% CI), BVDV; and 0.0%, (0.01-0.10% CI), BTV. Conclusions: The results indicate a very low seroprevalence for both BVDV and BoHV-1 in the wild deer tested within the study and, are consistent with a very low prevalence in Ireland. While serological cross-reaction with cervid herpesviruses cannot be excluded, the results in both cases suggest that the presence of these viruses in deer is not a significant risk to their control and eradication from the cattle population. This is important given the ongoing programme to eradicate BVDV in Ireland and deliberations on a national eradication programme for BoHV-1. The SBV results show consistency with those reported from cattle and sheep on the island of Ireland, while the BTV results are consistent with this virus remaining exotic to Ireland. The results provide a baseline against which future surveys of either wild or farmed/captive deer populations can be compared.
    Scopus© Citations 19  421
  • Publication
    Dama Dentition: A New Tooth Eruption and Wear Method for Assessing the Age of Fallow Deer (Dama dama)
    Reliable ageing techniques for wild animals are notoriously challenging to develop because of the scarcity of sizeable collections of known-age specimens. Without such techniques it is difficult to reconstruct hunting patterns, which is a significant problem for the examination of assemblages from pre-farming cultures. This paper presents a new method, based on mandibular tooth eruption and wear, for assessing the age of fallow deer. The method was developed from a large collection (n = 156) of known-age Dama dama specimens, has been blind tested by members of the zooarchaeological community and represents a user-friendly system with the potential to generate large compatible datasets through which the dynamics of human–Dama relationships can be examined. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
      388Scopus© Citations 17