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However, more recently, several studies have suggested that there may be far fewer than 12 subspecies and have cast doubt on the validity of the Scottish Red as a valid subspecies.

Drs Lowe and Gardiner examined the skulls of 10 of the 19 subspecies of Red deer listed by John Ellerman and Sir Charles Morrison-Scott in their 1951 , examining 16 variables of skull size and shape and subjecting the data to three separate statistical analyses.to produce fertile offspring -- with contiguous populations of Red deer.Consequently, many scientists prefer to think of as a “superspecies” or “ring species”, containing a number of very closely-related animals that can all be considered Red deer. The idea that Red deer and wapiti are distinct species is not a new one; some of the first suggestions were made in 1737 and wapitis were first elevated to the species level by German naturalist Georg Heinrich Borowski in 1780.Work by taxonomists from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s led to the splitting of wapiti and Red deer based on data from skeletal measurements, protein assays and haemoglobin morphology.However, in their review of the situation in 1989, Patrick Lowe and Andrew Gardiner concluded that, from their analysis of nearly 300 deer skulls, although some morphological variation exists supporting the separation at the during 2004, by Technical University Munich-Weihenstephan (in Germany) taxonomist Christian Ludt and three colleagues, looked at a particular gene carried on the mt DNA of 51 populations of deer spanning the entire distribution of (henceforth referred to as the Red deer).

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