Study: Past global warming altered forests

Nov 11, 2005

The concept of Pennsylvania palmettos and magnolias in Minnesota may not be too far-fetched in view of research by a University of Florida paleontologist.

The research by vertebrate paleontologist Jonathan Bloch and colleagues suggests land plants changed drastically during a period of sudden global warming 55 million years ago.

"It indicates that should we have a period of rapid global warming on that scale today, we might expect very dramatic changes to the biota of the planet, not just the mammals and other vertebrates, but forests also completely changing," said Bloch.

Global warming allowed mammals to emigrate across northern land bridges, marking the first appearance of perissodactlys in the form of the earliest known horse; artiodactyls, a group of even-toed ungulates that includes pigs, camels and hippos; as well as modern primates, he said.

The theory is supported by excavations in northwestern Wyoming by team leader Scott Wing, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution. They uncovered tropical fossil leaves and pollen alongside fossilized mammals in rocks that were deposited during that turbulent geologic interval.

The research is detailed in the current issue of the journal Science.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Greenland darkening to continue, predicts CCNY expert Marco Tedesco

Related Stories

A/C came standard on armored dinosaur models

Nov 08, 2014

Sweating, panting, moving to the shade, or taking a dip are all time-honored methods used by animals to cool down. The implicit goal of these adaptations is always to keep the brain from overheating. Now a new study shows ...

Recommended for you

Devices or divisive: Mobile technology in the classroom

15 hours ago

Little is known about how new mobile technologies affect students' development of non-cognitive skills such as empathy, self-control, problem solving, and teamwork. Two Boston College researchers say it's ...

Forming school networks to educate 'the new mainstream'

21 hours ago

As immigration increases the number of non-English speaking "culturally and linguistically diverse" students, schools will need to band together in networks focused on the challenges of educating what has been called "the ...

Rare tidal movements expose Kimberley dinosaur tracks

21 hours ago

While audiences in Perth attend Walking with Dinosaurs this weekend palaeontologists working near Broome will be documenting the extinct vertebrates' extensive fossilised footsteps using laser scanning technology.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.