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: Most American presidents destined to fade from nation's memory, study suggests

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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 ...

Global warming led to dwarfism in mammals—twice

Nov 02, 2013

Mammal body size decreased significantly during at least two ancient global warming events, a new finding that suggests a similar outcome is possible in response to human-caused climate change, according to a University of ...

Recommended for you

Pop music heritage contributes to the formation of identity

36 minutes ago

The musical rebels of the past are today's museum pieces. Pop music is increasingly penetrating heritage institutions such as museums and archives. That is apparent from the PhD research of Arno van der Hoeven. On Thursday ...

Helping older employees stay in their jobs

56 minutes ago

Factors that can hinder older employees from continuing to work include workload, a poor memory and the pensionable age-effect. The Job-Exposure Matrix is a newly developed instrument that provides an easy way to chart the ...

Explainer: What is a small private online course?

2 hours ago

If you have studied an online course at a university over the past couple of decades, you've probably already experienced a SPOC, or Small Private Online Course. SPOC is a new term for an old concept, which appears to be frustrating members of the distance edu ...

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.