The known distribution of the Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus within the Iberian Peninsula since the Middle Pleistocene and the lack of reliable records of Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx in this region have led to the assumption that the Iberian lynx was the sole inhabitant of Iberia. In this study, we identified ancient mitochondrial DNA (a total of 337 base pairs from the control region and cytochrome b) from eight northern Iberian lynx remains as Eurasian lynx. These results confirm the presence of Eurasian lynx in northern Iberia from the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary until just a few centuries ago. The paleontological record and our data indicate a population replacement of the Iberian lynx by the Eurasian lynx during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition in the Cantabrian cornice of Spain. Phylogeographic patterns of Late Pleistocene and Holocene Eurasian lynx from Iberia, France, Italy and Denmark show that this felid had a more complex phylogeographic history in the past than modern day populations suggest.
Journal of Zoology, 2016, Vol 298, Issue 2, p. 94-102
Ancient DNA; Eurasian lynx; Iberian lynx; Past distribution; Phylogeography