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Latest Eocene Stories

Mammalian Evolution Mirrors Climate Change
2011-12-27 05:39:51

A recent study by an international group of evolutionary biologists has pointed to six broad yet distinct ℠waves´ of climate-induced mammalian diversity in the last 65 million years of evolution. Researchers say that extended periods of warming and cooling appear to signal the shift from one dominant grouping of mammals to the next. In the online version of the journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Professor Christine Janis of Brown University and a...

Image 1 - 50-million-year-old Clam Shells Hint At Future Of El Niño Phenomenon
2011-09-20 04:44:31

  Earth warming will presumably not lead to a permanent El Niño state in the South Pacific Ocean. This is the conclusion drawn by an international team of researchers after it investigated 50-million-year-old clam shells and wood from the Antarctic. The growth rings of these fossils indicate that there was also a climate rhythm over the South Pacific during the last prolonged interglacial phase of the Earth´s history resembling the present-day interplay of El...

2011-08-16 15:20:06

From hot pink to traditional French and Lady Gaga's sophisticated designs, manicured nails have become the grammar of fashion. But they are not just pretty "” when nails appeared on all fingers and toes in modern primates about 55 million years ago, they led to the development of critical functions, including finger pads that allow for sensitive touch and the ability to grasp, whether it's a nail polish brush or remover to prepare for the next trend. In a new study co-authored by...

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2011-07-06 14:05:00

Team of scientists uncovers new information By Judy Holmes, Syracuse University The question seems simple enough: What happens to the Earth's temperature when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increase? The answer is elusive. However, clues are hidden in the fossil record. A new study by researchers from Syracuse and Yale universities provides a much clearer picture of the Earth's temperature approximately 50 million years ago when CO2 concentrations were higher than today. The results may...

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2011-06-15 13:25:00

Researchers have pinpointed the timing of the start of an ancient global warming episode known as the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). The early part of the Cenozoic era witnessed a series of transit global warming events called hyperthermals.  The most severe of these was the PETM at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, which took place around 56 million years ago. Over a 20,000-year period, ocean temperatures rose globally by about 41 degrees Fahrenheit.  The team said one...

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2011-06-08 07:21:03

The present rate of greenhouse carbon dioxide emissions through fossil fuel burning is higher than that associated with an ancient episode of severe global warming, according to new research. The findings are published online this week by the journal Nature Geoscience. Around 55.9 million years ago, the Earth experienced a period of intense global warming known as the Palaeocene"“Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which lasted for around 170,000 years. During its main phase, average annual...

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2011-05-30 08:29:58

Thirty-eight million years ago, tropical jungles thrived in what are now the cornfields of the American Midwest and furry marsupials wandered temperate forests in what is now the frozen Antarctic. The temperature differences of that era, known as the late Eocene, between the equator and Antarctica were half what they are today. A debate has been ongoing in the scientific community about what changes in our global climate system led to such a major shift from the more tropical, greenhouse...

2011-05-26 21:20:17

Research led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientist finds evidence that early antarctic circumpolar current development impacted global climate Thirty-eight million years ago, tropical jungles thrived in what are now the cornfields of the American Midwest and furry marsupials wandered temperate forests in what is now the frozen Antarctic. The temperature differences of that era, known as the late Eocene, between the equator and Antarctica were only half of what they are today. A debate...

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2011-05-17 07:39:35

Physical anthropologist Chris Kirk has announced the discovery of a previously unknown species of fossil primate, Mescalerolemur horneri, in the Devil's Graveyard badlands of West Texas. Mescalerolemur lived during the Eocene Epoch about 43 million years ago, and would have most closely resembled a small present-day lemur. Mescalerolemur is a member of an extinct primate group "“ the adapiforms "“ that were found throughout the Northern Hemisphere in the Eocene. However, just like...

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2011-04-24 16:15:00

Change view of water temperature during time when first modern mammals emergedWhat tales they tell of their former lives, these old bones of sirenians, relatives of today's dugongs and manatees.And now, geologists have found, they tell of the waters in which they swam.While researching the evolutionary ecology of ancient sirenians--commonly known as sea cows--scientist Mark Clementz and colleagues unexpectedly stumbled across data that could change the view of climate during the Eocene Epoch,...