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Latest Cenozoic Stories

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2010-11-12 08:26:05

The steamiest places on the planet are getting warmer. Conservative estimates suggest that tropical areas can expect temperature increases of 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Does global warming spell doom for rainforests? Maybe not. Carlos Jaramillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and colleagues report in the journal Science that nearly 60 million years ago rainforests prospered at temperatures that were 3-5 degrees higher and at atmospheric...

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2010-10-22 08:57:13

Paleobotanical data for Africa are generally meager and uneven for the Cenozoic The landscape of Central Africa 65 million years ago was a low-elevation tropical belt, but the jury is still out on whether the region's mammals browsed and hunted beneath the canopy of a lush rainforest. The scientific evidence for a tropical rainforest at that time is weak and far from convincing, says paleobotanist Bonnie F. Jacobs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Fossil pollen from Central and West...

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2010-08-24 15:13:32

A new study of the High Arctic climate roughly 50 million years ago led by the University of Colorado at Boulder helps to explain how ancient alligators and giant tortoises were able to thrive on Ellesmere Island well above the Arctic Circle, even as they endured six months of darkness each year. The new study, which looked at temperatures during the early Eocene period 52 to 53 million years ago, also has implications for the impacts of future climate change as Arctic temperatures continue...

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2010-05-24 07:04:06

The balance of biodiversity within North American small-mammal communities is so out of whack from the last episode of global warming about 12,000 years ago that the current climate change could push them past a tipping point, with repercussions up and down the food chain, say Stanford biologists. The evidence lies in fossils spanning the last 20,000 years that the researchers excavated from a cave in Northern California. What they found is that although the small mammals in the area suffered...

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2010-03-15 10:20:40

A research project at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona supports the hypothesis that there was no overlap or relationship with the Neanderthals Research carried out by a group of archaeologists from the Center for Prehistoric Archaeological Heritage Studies of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (CEPAP_UAB) at the Cova Gran site (Lleida) has contributed to stirring up scientific debate about the appearance of the first "modern" human beings on the...

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2009-12-10 12:32:22

Ancient DNA retrieved from extinct horse species from around the world has challenged one of the textbook examples of evolution - the fossil record of the horse family Equidae over the past 55 million years. The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved an international team of researchers and the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) based at the University of Adelaide. Only the modern horse, zebras, wild asses and donkey survive today, but...

2009-10-16 09:32:50

A team of researchers including a University of Florida paleontologist has used a rich cache of plant fossils discovered in Colombia to provide the first reliable evidence of how Neotropical rainforests looked 58 million years ago. Researchers from the Smithsonian Institution and UF, among others, found that many of the dominant plant families existing in today's Neotropical rainforests "” including legumes, palms, avocado and banana "” have maintained their ecological dominance...

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2009-10-13 07:25:22

Smithsonian researchers working in Colombia's Cerrej³n coal mine have unearthed the first megafossil evidence of a neotropical rainforest. Titanoboa, the world's biggest snake, lived in this forest 58 million years ago at temperatures 3-5 C warmer than in rainforests today, indicating that rainforests flourished during warm periods. "Modern neotropical rainforests, with their palms and spectacular flowering-plant diversity, seem to have come into existence in the Paleocene epoch, shortly...

2009-10-01 09:49:00

KENT, Ohio Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Throw out all those posters and books that depict an ape evolving into a human being, says Kent State University Professor of Anthropology Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy. An internationally recognized biological anthropologist who specializes in the study of human origins, Lovejoy is one of the primary authors who revealed their research findings today on Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid species that lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia....

2009-09-04 13:00:24

The ancestors of modern-day Europeans likely were farmers and not hunter-gatherers, British researchers said. DNA analysis taken from burial grounds suggests early farmers migrated into Europe with plants and domesticated animals and replaced Stone Age hunter-gatherers, geneticist Mark Thomas of University College London said in a release Friday. There is little evidence of a genetic link between the hunter-gatherers and the early farmers, said Thomas, who worked with researchers at Germany's...


Latest Cenozoic Reference Libraries

Palaeovespa
2014-04-18 16:08:43

Palaeovespa is a genus of wasps that holds seven species, all of which are extinct. Two of the species were discovered in Baltic amber deposits from Europe dating back to the middle Eocene era, while the other five were found in Florissant Formation amber from the Priabonian stage era in Colorado in the United States. This genus, and four of its species, was first described in 1906 by Dr. Theodore Cockerell in the Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Cockerell described all but one...

Australopithecus garhi
2013-11-29 11:38:51

Australopithecus garhi is a gracile australopithecine species whose fossils were discovered in 1996 by a research team led by Ethiopian paleontologist Berhane Asfaw ad Tim White, an American paleontologist. The remains are believed to be a human ancestor species and most likely the direct ancestor to the human genus Homo. Tim White was the scientist to find the first of the key A. garhi fossils in 1996 within the Bouri Formation found in the Middle Awash of Ethiopia’s Afar Depression....

Australopithecus africanus
2013-11-29 10:55:07

Australopithecus africanus was an early hominid, an australopithecine that lived between roughly 3.03 and 2.04 million years ago in the later Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Au. africanus was of slender build and was thought to have been a direct ancestor of modern humans. Fossil remains signify that Au. africanus was considerably more like modern humans that Au. afarensis, with a more human-like cranium permitting a larger brain and more humanoid facial features. This hominid has only been...

Neanderthals
2013-10-03 16:03:35

The Neanderthals or Neandertals are an extinct species or subspecies of the genus Homo which is closely related to modern humans. They are known from fossils, dating back from the Pleistocene period, which have been found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia. The species gets its name from Neandertal, “Neander’s Valley”, the location in Germany where it was first uncovered. Neanderthals are classified either as a subspecies of Homo sapiens or as a distinct species of the...

Homo sapiens
2013-09-24 13:55:52

Homo sapiens is the scientific name for the human species. Homo is the human genus, which also includes Neanderthals and various other extinct species of hominid. H. sapiens is the only surviving species of the genus Homo. Modern humans are the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, distinguished from their direct ancestor, Homo sapiens idaltu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_sapiens_idaltu). Subspecies of H. sapiens include Homo sapiens idaltu, roughly translated as “elder wise human” and...

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