Mastodon Mitochondrial Genomes and Climate Oscillations - Nature Communications

I thought this paper might be of interest, particularly in light of discussions of Jeanson’s rapid speciation model in regards to mtDNA as a molecular clock.

In Mitochondrial DNA Clocks Imply Linear Speciation Rates Jeanson writes that…
If ancient DNA could be demonstrated to be reliable, and if it could be demonstrated that these fossil DNA sequences found immediately post-Flood were too genetically diverse to be explained by a constant rate of mutation, then the major undergirding assumption of the present study would be in error.

A relevant paper has recently been published in Nature Communications.

American mastodon mitochondrial genomes suggest multiple dispersal events in response to Pleistocene climate oscillations

From the paper…
“Here we present a phylogeographic study of the extinct American mastodon ( Mammut americanum ), based on 35 complete mitochondrial genomes.”

“Mastodon specimens from eastern Beringia and Alberta were determined by radiocarbon analysis to be greater than 50,000 years old, or analytically nonfinite”

“The 33 new mitochondrial genomes were aligned with the only two mastodon mitochondrial genomes previously published”

This figure of Phylogeographic relationships of American mastodons include divergences the authors place between about 150 thousand years back to 3 million years.

In Jeanson’s world, Noah’s ark grounded, the door flung open to a rush of fresh air, and the ancester of all elephant and mastedon kind descended the plank to a world of islands popping up as water receded, in 2348 BC. Since that time, well within the framework of writen history, that ancestral pair gave rise to all the elephants, mammoths, and mastodons which ever lived, only to become mostly extinct. Jeanson’s molecular clock calculations differ from this study by at least two orders of magnitude. The creation museum has a casting in their lobby… you can’t miss the enormous fossil of a mastodon, a member of the elephant kind along with mammoths..

Ken Ham with Mastodon


Well, now, it could have been 7 pairs of mastodons. Are mastodons clean?


To my knowledge, Jeanson has never really engaged with the subject of the reliability of ancient DNA beyond expressing incredulity that DNA can last for such long periods of time (even a few thousand years). This study is a good example that challenges that kind of simplistic dismissal. If the sequences are unreliable, how are the kind of consistent phylogenetic results this study found possible? Would Jeanson propose that the phylogeny in Figure 1 is just an artefact of post-mortem DNA damage? For example, somehow all the DNA from mastodons in clade Y was damaged in a pretty consistent manner, and all the DNA from mastodons in clade G was damaged in a different, but still self-consistent manner?


Kosher Animals

No cloven hooves. The ark is overcrowded as it is. :zebra: :deer: :dromedary_camel: :elephant: :panda_face: :raccoon: :monkey: :skunk: :kangaroo: :sauropod: