However, more recently, several studies have suggested that there may be far fewer than 12 subspecies and have cast doubt on the validity of the Scottish Red as a valid subspecies.
In a major review of Red deer taxonomy published in the exhibits a high degree of morphological similarity between the animals across their range.
) Traditionally, many authors have chosen to lump wapiti within (i.e.
as a subspecies of) the Red deer because, despite various anatomical, biochemical, ecological, behavioural and (more recently) genetic differences, wapiti are able to hybridize successfully -- i.e.
In 1806 Pennsylvanian-born naturalist and physician Benjamin Smith Barton suggested that North American elk and Red deer from Europe were sufficiently different to be considered different species and proposed the name wapiti, meaning “white rump”, for the North American elk.
Since then, the wapiti has been the subject of much taxonomic yo-yoing, being moved between a full species, ).
The Cervidae holds two subfamilies: the Old World deer of the Cervinae and the New World deer of the Capreolinae.
Within the Cervinae sit two tribes: the Cervini (“true deer”) and the Muntiancini (muntjacs).
all those except the Musk deer of the south Asian mountains) can be grouped within a single family: the Cervidae.
A summary of the more general aspects of the biology, ecology and behaviour of Britain’s deer species can be found elsewhere on this site.
Taxonomy: Deer classification is a contentious subject, with disagreement over where the animals sit in relation to other mammals (namely whether or not they should be grouped with the whales and dolphins) as well as how many species and/or subspecies should be formally recognised.
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.
I won’t go into much detail about the findings here, but suffice to say that Dr Pitra and his team found molecular evidence to suggest that Red deer from Central Asia and those from North Africa and Corsica-Sardinia may represent species as distinct from , respectively).