FRESNO For years, scientists thought logging, mining and development drove North America's largest owl out of Northern California forests and into Yosemite National Park.
Scientists are rethinking that assumption. Genetic research shows the owls in Yosemite are a subspecies, a subtly different version of the great gray owl in North America.
Scientists say the evidence suggests the Yosemite bird was stranded by vast ice fields and glaciers in the last Ice Age, evolving in isolation for more than 25,000 years.
Such a discovery would make news about any Yosemite creature, but the great gray owl is a wildlife emblem, swooping down on rodents in wide mountain meadows.
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