The Central Asian red deer is a primordial group of elk subspecies, which is found at the southern and eastern rim of the Tibetan plateau. Sometimes it is treated as a distinct species (Cervus wallichii).
The Central Asian deer have been included traditionally in the red deer species. Recent DNA studies conducted on hundreds samples from red deer and elk subspecies determined that red deer and elk (wapiti) represent two distinct species. The Central Asian red deer falls clearly into the elk clade, but forms a distinct group, which is sometimes suggested to be treated as a third species of elaphine deer (Cervus wallichii). The Central Asian red deer comprises four subspecies, Tibetan red deer, MacNeill's deer, Kansu red deer and Kashmir stag.
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- Pitra, Christian; Fickel, Joerns; Meijaard, Erik; Groves, Colin (2004). "Evolution and phylogeny of old world deer" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 33 (3): 880–95. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.07.013. PMID 15522810. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-12.
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