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Latest Eocene Stories

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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...

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2009-10-07 09:39:02

Ancient soil biota decreased in size by up to 46 percent during period 55 million years ago Ancient soil-inhabiting creatures decreased in body size by nearly half in response to a period of boosted carbon dioxide levels and higher temperatures, scientists have discovered. The researchers' findings were published in the October 5, 2009, early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Jon Smith, a scientist at the Kansas Geological Survey, and...

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2009-09-15 06:40:00

Researchers have confirmed for the first time a link between declining levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and the formation of Antarctic ice caps some 34 million years ago. The results of the major research study support computer climate models that predict both the creation of ice sheets when CO2 levels fall and the melting of ice caps when CO2 levels rise. "Our study is the first to provide a direct link between the establishment of an ice sheet on Antarctica and atmospheric carbon...

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2009-08-14 11:05:00

Not only the world-famous primeval horse browsed at the shores of the lake in the warm, wet climate prevailing at that time (average annual temperature, 25°C). Around Lake Messel, which emerged in a volcanic crater and was surrounded back then by dense primeval forest, lived early ungulates and rodents; the ancestors of today's birds flew over the cloudy water; insects buzzed through the air; and cold-blooded reptiles basked lazily in the sun. 47 million years ago, Messel was located at...

2009-08-06 12:54:43

A period of global warming from 53 million to 47 million years ago strongly influenced plants and animals, spurring a biodiversity boom in western North America, researchers from three research museums report in a paper published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."Today, the middle of Wyoming is a vast desert, and a few antelope and deer are all you see," said lead author Michael Woodburne, honorary curator of geology at the Museum of Northern Arizona....

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2009-07-14 11:50:00

Unknown processes account for much of warming in ancient hot spellNo one knows exactly how much Earth's climate will warm due to carbon emissions, but a new study this week suggests scientists' best predictions about global warming might be incorrect. The study, which appears in Nature Geoscience, found that climate models explain only about half of the heating that occurred during a well-documented period of rapid global warming in Earth's ancient past. The study, which was published...


Word of the Day
endocarp
  • The hard inner (usually woody) layer of the pericarp of some fruits (as peaches or plums or cherries or olives) that contains the seed.
This word comes from the Greek 'endon,' in, within, plus the Greek 'kardia,' heart.
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