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To verify this assignment and to explore phylogenetic relationships between ancient and present-day arctic ground squirrels, we performed C dating and ancient DNA analyses of one of the El’ga mummies and four contemporaneous fossils from Duvanny Yar, northeastern Yakutia.
Vinogradov who assigned them to a new species, Citellus (Urocitellus) glacialis Vinogr., based on a number of distinct morphological features which discriminated these ancient arctic ground squirrels from those of the present-day northeastern Siberia questioned this assignment because of certain similarities in size and morphology of the El’ga specimens to some North American, especially old-aged, arctic ground squirrels.
In contrast to the abundant fossil record of arctic ground squirrels, Urocitellus parryii, from eastern Beringia, only a limited number of fossils is known from its western part.
In 1946, unnamed GULAG prisoners discovered a nest with three mummified carcasses of arctic ground squirrels in the permafrost sediments of the El’ga river, Yakutia, Russia, that were later attributed to a new species, Citellus (Urocitellus) glacialis Vinogr.
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It reported in tiny type that in the course of excavations on the Kolyma River a subterranean ice lens had been discovered which was actually a frozen stream - and in it were found frozen specimens of prehistoric fauna some tens of thousands of years old” (p.stejnegeri from the Kamchatka peninsula included in that study were placed within the Southwestern clade.parryii from 21 locations across western Beringia, provided no support for earlier proposals that ancient arctic ground squirrels from Siberia constitute a distinct species.Solzhenitsyn might remember how the book starts: “In 1949 some friends and I came upon a noteworthy news item in Nature, a magazine of the Academy of Sciences.The carcasses were extremely well preserved and “smelled of dampness immediately upon their recovery but lost the smell after having air-dried and remained in a stable condition resembling that of the mummies” (p.Most recently, a study of a large mt DNA dataset of the genus Urocitellus, including taxon sampling at the subspecies level for U.parryii, demonstrated that there are two distinct U.