Northwest Greenland formerly supported a population of musk-ox (Ovibos moschatus). Radiocarbon dating of musk-ox remains collected on the terrain surface and from archaeological sites has yielded Late Holocene ages, indicating that the species was a late immigrant to this part of Greenland. Musk-ox arrived at a time when Greenland was uninhabited, and the species had at least several hundred years to expand and spread south, before the Late Dorset people arrived and began to hunt. The main reason that the species did not disperse south to West Greenland was probably because of the barrier presented by Melville Bugt, which was heavily glaciated in the Late Holocene. However, if there had been a longer period of time before hunting of the musk-ox occurred, there would have been an enhanced likelihood that chance dispersal south could have taken place.
- Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate