A significant decrease in the genetic diversity of Tasmanian Devils occurred before European settlement in Australia, suggesting it was caused by changes in climate rather than human activity.
Australian researchers say the animals are vulnerable to face cancer because the last ice age wiped out so many of the devils that those remaining are highly inbred.
Extensive population declines across Tasmania correlating with environmental changes around the last ice age.
The results of the study by Anna Brüniche-Olsen of the University of Tasmania and colleagues is published in the journal Biology Letters.
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