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Latest Eocene Stories

2011-03-02 20:43:23

A new University of Florida study of 45-million-year-old pollen from Pine Island west of Fort Myers has led to a new understanding of the state's geologic history, showing Florida could be 10 million to 15 million years older than previously believed. The discovery of land in Florida during the early Eocene opens the possibility for researchers to explore the existence of land animals at that time, including their adaptation, evolution and dispersal until the present. Florida Museum of...

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2011-02-27 07:33:33

Scientists are unraveling the environmental changes that took place around the Arctic during an exceptional episode of ancient global warming. Newly published results from a high-resolution study of sediments collected on Spitsbergen represent a significant contribution to this endeavor. The study was led by Dr Ian Harding and Prof John Marshall of the University of Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES), based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Around 56...

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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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2010-10-27 15:17:04

New paper appearing in Nature asks questions and frames future research Today in the journal Nature, a new discovery described by a team of international scientists, including Carnegie Museum of Natural History paleontologist Christopher Beard, suggests that anthropoids"”the primate group that includes humans, apes, and monkeys"”"colonized" Africa, rather than originally evolving in Africa as has been widely accepted. According to this paper, what is exceptional about these new...

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2010-08-25 08:55:54

A new University of Florida study indicates extinct carnivorous mammals shrank in size during a global warming event that occurred 55 million years ago. The study, scheduled to appear in the December print edition of the Journal of Mammalian Evolution and now available online, describes a new species that evolved to half the size of its ancestors during this period of global warming. The hyena-like animal, Palaeonictis wingi, evolved from the size of a bear to the size of a coyote during a...

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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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2010-01-21 09:00:00

How did the lemurs, flying foxes and narrow-striped mongooses get to the large, isolated island of Madagascar sometime after 65 million years ago? A pair of scientists say their research confirms the longstanding idea that the animals hitched rides on natural rafts blown out to sea. Professors Matthew Huber of Purdue and Jason Ali of the University Hong Kong say that the prevailing flow of ocean currents between Africa and Madagascar millions of years ago would have made such a trip not only...

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2009-12-15 10:51:34

The analysis of microfossils found in ocean sediment cores is illuminating the environmental conditions that prevailed at high latitudes during a critical period of Earth history. Around 55 million years ago at the beginning of the Eocene epoch, the Earth's poles are believed to have been free of ice. But by the early Oligocene around 25 million years later, ice sheets covered Antarctica and continental ice had developed on Greenland. "This change from greenhouse to icehouse conditions...

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2009-11-11 07:40:12

How revising an ancient species can change what we know of a lineage's historical distribution and the climate in which it lived Fossil plants are windows to the past, providing us with clues as to what our planet looked like millions of years ago. Not only do fossils tell us which species were present before human-recorded history, but they can provide information about the climate and how and when lineages may have dispersed around the world. Identifying fossil plants can be tricky,...

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...