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Sample records for antarctic fossil record

  1. Biomarkers and Microbial Fossils In Antarctic Rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wierzchos, J.; Ascaso, C.

    Lithobiontic microbial communities living within Antarctic rocks are an example of survival in an extremely cold and dry environment. Any unfavourable change in ex- ternal conditions can result in the death and disappearance of microscopic organisms, and this may be followed by the appearance of trace biomarkers and microbial fossils. The extinction of these microorganisms in some zones of the Ross Desert, probably provoked by the hostile environment, might be considered a good terrestrial analogue of the first stage of the disappearance of possible life on early Mars. Granite samples from maritime Antarctica (Granite Harbour) and sandstone rocks from the continental Ross Desert were collected with the aim of searching for biomarkers and microbial fossils at the microscopic level of observation. To this end, a novel in situ applica- tion of scanning electron microscopy with backscattered electron imaging was com- bined with the simultaneous use of X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy techniques. Our findings confirm the existence of inorganic biomarkers in the form of physico- chemically bioweathered minerals within the granitic rocks. The presence of Fe-rich diagenetic minerals, such as iron hydroxide nanocrystals and biogenic clays around chasmoendolithic hyphae and bacterial cells was also observed. Others biomarkers, including inorganic deposits such as calcium oxalates and silica accumulations, are clear signs of endolithic microorganism activity. The interior of the sandstone rocks (Ross Desert, Mt. Fleming) reveal the presence of microbial fossils of algae and other endolithic microorganisms. These microbial fossils, detected for the first time within Antarctic rocks, contain well preserved and morphologically distinguishable relics of ultrastructural cytoplasm elements, such as cell walls, chloroplast membranes, and oc- casionally, pyrenoids and traces of organic matter. These structures are similar to those observed in live cells also found in Antarctic

  2. Ants and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    LaPolla, John S; Dlussky, Gennady M; Perrichot, Vincent

    2013-01-01

    The dominance of ants in the terrestrial biosphere has few equals among animals today, but this was not always the case. The oldest ants appear in the fossil record 100 million years ago, but given the scarcity of their fossils, it is presumed they were relatively minor components of Mesozoic insect life. The ant fossil record consists of two primary types of fossils, each with inherent biases: as imprints in rock and as inclusions in fossilized resins (amber). New imaging technology allows ancient ant fossils to be examined in ways never before possible. This is particularly helpful because it can be difficult to distinguish true ants from non-ants in Mesozoic fossils. Fossil discoveries continue to inform our understanding of ancient ant morphological diversity, as well as provide insights into their paleobiology.

  3. Cosmogenic records in Antarctic meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goswami, J. N.; Nishiizumi, K.

    1983-01-01

    Aliquot samples of 29 Antarctic L and H chondrites are analyzed for their nuclear track records and Mn-53 activities. The track density in the analyzed samples ranges from 10 to the 4th to approximately 6 x 10 to the 6th per sq cm. A significant finding is the observation of track-rich grains in a set of four L3 chondrites (ALHA 77215, 77216, 77217, and 77252), suspected of belonging to the same fall based on petrographic observations. An additional sample, ALHA 78105, an L6 chondrite, also has track-rich grains. Mn-53 activity is at near saturation level in approximately 65 percent of the analyzed samples, suggesting exposure ages of greater than 10 m.y. in these cases. Very few H chondrites from the 7-m.y. exposure age peak are apparently sampled among the ones investigated in this study. Approximately 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively, of the Antarctic H and L chondrites analyzed thus far for their cosmogenic records have precompaction irradiation features. A combined analysis of Mn-53 and nuclear track data makes it possible to confirm or rule out the proposed pairing of several sets of Antarctic meteorites and to estimate the preatmospheric sizes of some of these meteorites. The results suggest that most of the small Antarctic meteorites (less than 1 kg) have suffered high (greater than 95 percent) ablation mass-loss.

  4. The early eukaryotic fossil record.

    PubMed

    Javaux, Emmanuelle J

    2007-01-01

    The Precambrian era records the evolution of the domain Eucarya. Although the taxonomy of fossils is often impossible to resolve beyond the level of domain, their morphology and chemistry indicate the evolution of major biological innovations. The late Archean record for eukaryotes is limited to trace amounts of biomarkers. Morphological evidence appears in late Paleoproterozoic and early Mesoproterozoic (1800-1300 Ma) rocks. The moderate diversity of preservable eukaryotic organisms includes cell walls without surface ornament (but with complex ultrastructure), with regularly distributed surface ornamentation, and with irregularly or regularly arranged processes. Collectively, these fossils suggest that eukaryotes with flexible membranes and cytoskeletons existed in mid-Proterozoic oceans. The late Mesoproterozoic-early Neoproterozoic (1300-750 Ma) is a time of diversification and evolution when direct evidence for important biological innovations occurs in the fossil record such as multicellularity, sex, photosynthesis, biomineralization, predation, and heterotrophy. Members of extant clades can be recognized and include bangiophyte red algae, xanthophyte algae, cladophorale green algae, euglyphid, lobose, and filose amoebae and possible fungi. In the late Neoproterozoic, besides more diversification of ornamented fossils, florideophyte red algae and brown algae diversify, and animals take the stage. The record of biological innovations documented by the fossils shows that eukaryotes had evolved most cytological and molecular complexities very early in the Proterozoic but environmental conditions delayed their diversification within clades until oxygen level and predation pressure increased significantly. PMID:17977455

  5. Extinction and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1994-01-01

    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  6. Microbial trace-fossil formation, biogenous, and abiotic weathering in the Antarctic cold desert

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedmann, E. Imre; Weed, Rebecca

    1987-01-01

    In the Antarctic cold desert (Ross Desert), the survival of the cryptoendolithic microorganisms that colonize the near-surface layer of porous sandstone rocks depends on a precarious equilibrium of biological and geological factors. An unfavorable shift of this equilibrium results in death, and this may be followed by formation of trace fossils that preserve the characteristic iron-leaching pattern caused by microbial activity. Similar microbial trace fossils may exist in the geological record. If life ever arose on early Mars, similar processes may have occurred there and left recognizable traces.

  7. Organic molecules as chemical fossils - The molecular fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eglinton, G.

    1983-01-01

    The study of biochemical clues to the early earth and the origin of life is discussed. The methods used in such investigation are described, including the extraction, fractionation, and analysis of geolipids and the analysis of kerogen. The occurrence of molecular fossils in the geological record is examined, discussing proposed precursor-product relationships and the molecular assessment of deep sea sediments, ancient sediments, and crude petroleums. Alterations in the molecular record due to diagenesis and catagenesis are considered, and the use of microbial lipids as molecular fossils is discussed. The results of searches for molecular fossils in Precambrian sediments are assessed.

  8. Fossil proxies of near-shore sea surface temperatures and seasonality from the late Neogene Antarctic shelf.

    PubMed

    Clark, Nicola A; Williams, Mark; Hill, Daniel J; Quilty, Patrick G; Smellie, John L; Zalasiewicz, Jan; Leng, Melanie J; Ellis, Michael A

    2013-08-01

    We evaluate the available palaeontological and geochemical proxy data from bivalves, bryozoans, silicoflagellates, diatoms and cetaceans for sea surface temperature (SST) regimes around the nearshore Antarctic coast during the late Neogene. These fossils can be found in a number of shallow marine sedimentary settings from three regions of the Antarctic continent, the northern Antarctic Peninsula, the Prydz Bay region and the western Ross Sea. Many of the proxies suggest maximum spring-summer SSTs that are warmer than present by up to 5 °C, which would result in reduced seasonal sea ice. The evidence suggests that the summers on the Antarctic shelf during the late Neogene experienced most of the warming, while winter SSTs were little changed from present. Feedbacks from changes in summer sea ice cover may have driven much of the late Neogene ocean warming seen in stratigraphic records. Synthesized late Neogene and earliest Quaternary Antarctic shelf proxy data are compared to the multi-model SST estimates of the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP) Experiment 2. Despite the fragmentary geographical and temporal context for the SST data, comparisons between the SST warming in each of the three regions represented in the marine palaeontological record of the Antarctic shelf and the PlioMIP climate simulations show a good concordance.

  9. Antarctic glacial geologic record and GCM modeling: A test

    SciTech Connect

    Elliot, D.H.; Bromwich, D.H.; Harwood, D.M.; Webb, P.

    1992-03-01

    A recent GCM (General Circulation Model) study of Antarctic glaciation by Oglesby concluded that (1) oceanic heat transport is relatively unimportant in the development and maintenance of Antarctic glaciation; (2) height and polar position, not the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, have led to thermal isolation; and (3) surface elevation may be crucial for glaciation. Model results are here evaluated against the Pliocene geologic record for Antarctica. The Sirius Group, widely distributed in the Transantarctic Mountains, contains diatom floras suggesting open marine conditions in interior East Antarctica as recently as about 3 m.y. ago. The Sirius deposits also contain a sparse fossil flora including Nothofagus wood, demonstrating snow-free conditions and elevated summer temperatures within 500 km of the South Pole. Based on fission track data and marine sediments, uplift rates for the Transantarctic Mountains are estimated to average 50-100 m m.y.-1 for the last 10 m.y., although rates may have been higher during the last 3 m.y. The continental interior is also most unlikely to have changed elevation by more than a few hundred meters in the last 3 m.y. If the dating of the Sirius is correct and uplift rates have not been an order of magnitude higher, then polar location and elevation cannot be primary controls on the formation and subsequent fluctuations of the ice sheet.

  10. Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Morlon, Hélène; Parsons, Todd L; Plotkin, Joshua B

    2011-09-27

    Historical patterns of species diversity inferred from phylogenies typically contradict the direct evidence found in the fossil record. According to the fossil record, species frequently go extinct, and many clades experience periods of dramatic diversity loss. However, most analyses of molecular phylogenies fail to identify any periods of declining diversity, and they typically infer low levels of extinction. This striking inconsistency between phylogenies and fossils limits our understanding of macroevolution, and it undermines our confidence in phylogenetic inference. Here, we show that realistic extinction rates and diversity trajectories can be inferred from molecular phylogenies. To make this inference, we derive an analytic expression for the likelihood of a phylogeny that accommodates scenarios of declining diversity, time-variable rates, and incomplete sampling; we show that this likelihood expression reliably detects periods of diversity loss using simulation. We then study the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), a group for which standard phylogenetic inferences are strikingly inconsistent with fossil data. When the cetacean phylogeny is considered as a whole, recently radiating clades, such as the Balaneopteridae, Delphinidae, Phocoenidae, and Ziphiidae, mask the signal of extinctions. However, when isolating these groups, we infer diversity dynamics that are consistent with the fossil record. These results reconcile molecular phylogenies with fossil data, and they suggest that most extant cetaceans arose from four recent radiations, with a few additional species arising from clades that have been in decline over the last ~10 Myr. PMID:21930899

  11. Insect diversity in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Labandeira, C. C.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1993-01-01

    Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.

  12. Insect diversity in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Labandeira, C C; Sepkoski, J J

    1993-07-16

    Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.

  13. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Niklas, K. J.

    1987-01-01

    The importance of adaptation in determining patterns of evolution has become an important focus of debate in evolutionary biology. As it pertains to paleobotany, the issue is whether or not adaptive evolution mediated by natural selection is sufficient to explain the stratigraphic distributions of taxa and character states observed in the plant fossil record. One means of addressing this question is the functional evaluation of stratigraphic series of plant organs set in the context of paleoenvironmental change and temporal patterns of floral composition within environments. For certain organ systems, quantitative estimates of biophysical performance can be made on the basis of structures preserved in the fossil record. Performance estimates for plants separated in time or space can be compared directly. Implicit in different hypotheses of the forces that shape the evolutionary record (e.g. adaptation, mass extinction, rapid environmental change, chance) are predictions about stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental trends in the efficacy of functional performance. Existing data suggest that following the evolution of a significant structural innovation, adaptation for improved functional performance can be a major determinant of evolutionary changes in plants; however, there are structural and development limits to functional improvement, and once these are reached, the structure in question may no longer figure strongly in selection until and unless a new innovation evolves. The Silurian-Devonian paleobotanical record is consistent with the hypothesis that the succession of lowland floodplain dominants preserved in the fossil record of this interval was determined principally by the repeated evolution of new taxa that rose to ecological importance because of competitive advantages conferred by improved biophysical performance. This does not seem to be equally true for Carboniferous-Jurassic dominants of swamp and lowland floodplain environments. In these cases

  14. Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    PubMed Central

    Winkelmann, Ricarda; Levermann, Anders; Ridgwell, Andy; Caldeira, Ken

    2015-01-01

    The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 m in global sea-level rise. We show in simulations using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 m per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources. PMID:26601273

  15. Combustion of available fossil-fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winkelmann, R.; Levermann, A.; Ridgwell, A.; Caldeira, K.

    2015-12-01

    The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 meters in global sea-level rise. Here we show in simulations with the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil-fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil-fuel emissions of 10 000 GtC, Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 meters per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West- and East Antarctica results in a threshold-increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.

  16. Organo-mineral imprints in fossil cyanobacterial mats of an Antarctic lake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Javaux, E.; Lepot, K.; Deremiens, L.; Namsaraev, Z.; Compere, P.; Gerard, E.; Verleyen, E.; Tavernier, I.; Hodgson, D.; Vyverman, W.; Wilmotte, A.

    2010-12-01

    Lacustrine microbial mats in Antarctic ice-free oases are considered to be modern analogues of early microbial ecosystems because they are dominated by cyanobacteria that need to cope with elevated UV radiation during summer by producing protective compounds such as UV-screening pigments. These microbial consortia offer a unique opportunity to (i) identify biogeochemical signatures to study the fossil record of microorganisms, and (ii) better understand their imprint mineral record. We studied sediment cores from a meromictic brackish-water lake, Kobachi Ike, Skarvsnes Peninsula, Lützow Holm Bay, East Antarctica, where primary production is dominated by photosynthetic benthic communities. The faintly to finely laminated (stromatolitic) sediments include variable amounts of organic-rich laminae, micritic carbonate, clays and silicate sand. We studied the microstructure and chemistry of organo-mineral associations in a suite of sediments ranging in age from several tens to ca. 3500 years. We examined Os- and U- stained polished resin-embedded sediments in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). We imaged photosynthetic pigments of microorganisms in fluorescence by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). We analyzed organic matter chemistry in demineralized sediments and cultured cyanobacteria using Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectromicroscopy. Molecular analyses of fossil cyanobacterial DNA were performed using Denaturating Gradient Gel Electrophoresis of partial 16S rRNA genes and sequencing. SEM revealed an intimate association between nanostructured Ca-carbonate peloids, fossil cell clusters resembling colonies of unicellular coccoid cyanobacteria, and cell-like imprints preserved in nanocarbonates. Diffuse organic matter (kerogen or EPS) is associated with nanoclays to form a laminae-building network around the carbonates. These organo-mineral microstructures strongly resemble those of the 2.7 Gyrs old Tumbiana stromatolites. CLSM imaging and fossil DNA

  17. Towards a Circum-Antarctic Holocene Paleointensity Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brachfeld, S.; Kissel, C.; Laj, C.; Willmott, V.

    2005-12-01

    New Holocene geomagnetic paleointensity records have been constructed from the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), Eastern Antarctic Peninsula (EAP), and from the East Antarctic Margin (EAM). The goal of this work is to develop Antarctic paleointensity reference curves for correlation and dating of Antarctic continental shelf sediments. Sediment sequences deposited in fjords and inner shelf basins contain Holocene sections of 3-meters to more than 20-meters, recording the last deglaciation, the paleohistory of ice shelves, and shifting paleoceanographic conditions. However, these records suffer from a lack biogenic calcite for radiocarbon dating. Diatomaceous mud contains sufficient acid insoluble organic matter (aiom) for radiocarbon dating and hence an independent chronology. However, laminated oozes yield shallow inclinations, hence the remanence vector is suspect. Bioturbated diatomaceous mud and diatom-poor muds yield excellent directional records and satisfy the criteria for magnetic uniformity, however the organic content is low and aiom dates can be problematic. Our paleointensity records show the broad pattern of higher intensity during the late Holocene, and lower intensity during the early to middle Holocene, similar to the sinusoidal intensity pattern seen in global absolute and relative paleointensity stacks. Several of the records contain 3 to 4 late Holocene peaks with 1000-year wavelengths that are similar in amplitude and duration to features seen in northern hemisphere lacustrine and marine records. Here we evaluate the local versus regional character of the Antarctic paleointensity records, and the consistency of aiom-dated versus paleointensity-tuned chronologies.

  18. The eukaryotic fossil record in deep time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butterfield, N.

    2011-12-01

    Eukaryotic organisms are defining constituents of the Phanerozoic biosphere, but they also extend well back into the Proterozoic record, primarily in the form of microscopic body fossils. Criteria for identifying pre-Ediacaran eukaryotes include large cell size, morphologically complex cell walls and/or the recognition of diagnostically eukaryotic cell division patterns. The oldest unambiguous eukaryote currently on record is an acanthomorphic acritarch (Tappania) from the Palaeoproterozoic Semri Group of central India. Older candidate eukaryotes are difficult to distinguish from giant bacteria, prokaryotic colonies or diagenetic artefacts. In younger Meso- and Neoproterozoic strata, the challenge is to recognize particular grades and clades of eukaryotes, and to document their macro-evolutionary expression. Distinctive unicellular forms include mid-Neoproterozoic testate amoebae and phosphate biomineralizing 'scale-microfossils' comparable to an extant green alga. There is also a significant record of seaweeds, possible fungi and problematica from this interval, documenting multiple independent experiments in eukaryotic multicellularity. Taxonomically resolved forms include a bangiacean red alga and probable vaucheriacean chromalveolate algae from the late Mesoproterozoic, and populations of hydrodictyacean and siphonocladalean green algae of mid Neoproterozoic age. Despite this phylogenetic breadth, however, or arguments from molecular clocks, there is no convincing evidence for pre-Ediacaran metazoans or metaphytes. The conspicuously incomplete nature of the Proterozoic record makes it difficult to resolve larger-scale ecological and evolutionary patterns. Even so, both body fossils and biomarker data point to a pre-Ediacaran biosphere dominated overwhelming by prokaryotes. Contemporaneous eukaryotes appear to be limited to conspicuously shallow water environments, and exhibit fundamentally lower levels of morphological diversity and evolutionary turnover than

  19. Solar flare irradiation records in Antarctic meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goswami, J. N.

    1981-01-01

    The observation of tracks from solar flare heavy nuclei in Antarctic meteorite samples is reported. In an analysis of nuclear track densities in eight L and H chondrites of low metamorphic grade, it was found that two interior specimens of sample 77216, an L-3 chondrite, contain olivine grains with track densities much higher than the average track densities, indicating precompaction irradiation by solar flares in different shielding conditions. Preliminary data from mass spectroscopic analyses show a large excess of noble gases, with a Ne-20/Ne-22 ratio of greater than or equal to 10, indicating the presence of solar-type noble gas. Results of track density measurements in the other Antarctic meteorites range from 10,000 to 4,000,000/sq cm, which is within the range observed in non-Antarctic L-group meteorites

  20. Rates of speciation in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1998-01-01

    Data from palaeontology and biodiversity suggest that the global biota should produce an average of three new species per year. However, the fossil record shows large variation around this mean. Rates of origination have declined through the Phanerozoic. This appears to have been largely a function of sorting among higher taxa (especially classes), which exhibit characteristic rates of speciation (and extinction) that differ among them by nearly an order of magnitude. Secular decline of origination rates is hardly constant, however; many positive deviations reflect accelerated speciation during rebounds from mass extinctions. There has also been general decline in rates of speciation within major taxa through their histories, although rates have tended to remain higher among members in tropical regions. Finally, pulses of speciation appear sometimes to be associated with climate change, although moderate oscillations of climate do not necessarily promote speciation despite forcing changes in species' geographical ranges.

  1. Rates of speciation in the fossil record.

    PubMed Central

    Sepkoski, J J

    1998-01-01

    Data from palaeontology and biodiversity suggest that the global biota should produce an average of three new species per year. However, the fossil record shows large variation around this mean. Rates of origination have declined through the Phanerozoic. This appears to have been largely a function of sorting among higher taxa (especially classes), which exhibit characteristic rates of speciation (and extinction) that differ among them by nearly an order of magnitude. Secular decline of origination rates is hardly constant, however; many positive deviations reflect accelerated speciation during rebounds from mass extinctions. There has also been general decline in rates of speciation within major taxa through their histories, although rates have tended to remain higher among members in tropical regions. Finally, pulses of speciation appear sometimes to be associated with climate change, although moderate oscillations of climate do not necessarily promote speciation despite forcing changes in species' geographical ranges. PMID:11541734

  2. Aestivation in the fossil record: evidence from ichnology.

    PubMed

    Hembree, Daniel I

    2010-01-01

    Aestivation is a physiological and behavioral response to high temperature or low moisture conditions. Therefore, it is typically not considered to be capable of being preserved in the fossil record. However, most aestivating organisms produce a burrow to protect themselves from the harmful environmental conditions that trigger aestivation. These structures can be preserved in the rock record as trace fossils. While trace fossils are abundant in the continental fossil record, few are definitively associated with aestivation. Interpreting aestivation behavior from fossil burrows requires a detailed examination and interpretation of the surrounding sedimentary rocks and comparisons with taxonomically and ecologically similar extant organisms. Currently, only four types of aestivation structures are recognized in the fossil record: Pleistocene earthworm chambers, Devonian to Cretaceous lungfish burrows, Permian lysorophid burrows, and Permian to Triassic dicynodont burrows. The trace fossil evidence suggests that aestivation evolved independently among continental organisms in several clades during the middle to late Paleozoic.

  3. The Quaternary fossil-pollen record and global change

    SciTech Connect

    Grimm, E.C. . Research and Collections Center)

    1993-03-01

    Fossil pollen provide one of the most valuable records of vegetation and climate change during the recent geological past. Advantages of the fossil-pollen record are that deposits containing fossil pollen are widespread, especially in areas having natural lakes, that fossil pollen occurs in continuous stratigraphic sequences spanning millennia, and that fossil pollen occurs in quantitative assemblages permitting a multivariate approach for reconstructing past vegetation and climates. Because of stratigraphic continuity, fossil pollen records climate cycles on a wide range of scales, from annual to the 100 ka Milankovitch cycles. Receiving particular emphasis recently are decadal to century scale changes, possible from the sediments of varved lakes, and late Pleistocene events on a 5--10 ka scale possibly correlating with the Heinrich events in the North Atlantic marine record or the Dansgaard-Oeschger events in the Greenland ice-core record. Researchers have long reconstructed vegetation and climate by qualitative interpretation of the fossil-pollen record. Recently quantitative interpretation has developed with the aid of large fossil-pollen databases and sophisticated numerical models. In addition, fossil pollen are important climate proxy data for validating General Circulation Models, which are used for predicting the possible magnitude future climate change. Fossil-pollen data also contribute to an understanding of ecological issues associated with global climate change, including questions of how and how rapidly ecosystems might respond to abrupt climate change.

  4. Meteoritic event recorded in Antarctic ice

    SciTech Connect

    Harvey, R.P.; Dunbar, N.W.; McIntosh, W.C.; Esser, R.P.; Nishiizumi, Kuni; Taylor, S.; Caffee, M.W.

    1998-07-01

    During systematic sampling of volcanic ash (tephra) layers at a well-known Antarctic meteorite collection site (the Allan Hills main ice field), a band of unusually dark and rounded (many spheroidal) particles was discovered. This debris layer (BIT-58) extends parallel to the stratigraphy of the ice established from the tephra bands, apparently marking a single depositional event. The shapes, internal texture, major element composition, and levels of cosmogenic nuclides of particles from within BIT-58 all strongly suggest that this material represents ablation debris from the passage of a large H-group ordinary chondrite. Preliminary cosmogenic isotope dating suggests an age of 2.8 Ma, implying that the East Antarctic ice sheet has been stable since that time. The relationship of the Bit-58 layer to known impact events is not clear.

  5. The Early Miocene Cape Melville Formation fossil assemblage and the evolution of modern Antarctic marine communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whittle, Rowan J.; Quaglio, Fernanda; Griffiths, Huw J.; Linse, Katrin; Crame, J. Alistair

    2014-01-01

    The fossil community from the Early Miocene Cape Melville Formation (King George Island, Antarctica) does not show the archaic retrograde nature of modern Antarctic marine communities, despite evidence, such as the presence of dropstones, diamictites and striated rocks, that it was deposited in a glacial environment. Unlike modern Antarctic settings, and the upper units of the Eocene La Meseta Formation on Seymour Island, Antarctica, which are 10 million years older, the Cape Melville Formation community is not dominated by sessile suspension feeding ophiuroids, crinoids or brachiopods. Instead, it is dominated by infaunal bivalves, with a significant component of decapods, similar to present day South American settings. It is possible that the archaic retrograde structure of the modern community did not fully evolve until relatively recently, maybe due to factors such as further cooling and isolation of the continent leading to glaciations, which resulted in a loss of shallow shelf habitats.

  6. Special Creation and the Fossil Record: The Central Fallacy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Kenneth R.

    1982-01-01

    Fossil records are used to point out two major flaws in the scientific creationist theory: (1) factual evidence does not support the theory, and (2) the creationists' own characterization of the fossil record contradicts their theory. Claims that creationists avoid discussing specifics about their model because of weaknesses. (DC)

  7. Reconstructions of Late Holocene Climate Using Ice-entombed Mosses and Sub-fossil Peat on the Western Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Zicheng; Loisel, Julie; Beilman, David; Cleary, Kate

    2015-04-01

    The western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is one of three regions on Earth that have experienced the greatest warming over recent decades. Here we used paleo records from fossil mosses and peats on the WAP to explore a new paleoclimate archive that links climate, cryosphere and ecosystem dynamics for reconstructing climate change in recent millennia. Continuing retreat of ice and permanent snow has recently exposed numerous entombed mosses and intact peatbank ecosystems along the WAP around 65°S latitude that have been buried under ice and snow during the cold "Little Ice Age" (LIA). Radiocarbon dating indicates ages of 850-600 cal yr BP from re-exposed moss samples from retreating ice and of 100 cal yr BP from near shrinking snow. This age difference suggests that initial climate cooling and subsequent ice advance overran peatbanks immediately below the ice margin at the onset of the LIA, followed by permanent snow expansion often from low elevation upslope at the end of the LIA. Furthermore, detailed macrofossil and pollen analysis of a peat core from a moss peatbank on nearby mainland Antarctic Peninsula show dramatic shifts from a waterlogged peatland dominated by pure stands of Antarctic hairgrass (Deschampsia antarctica) before the LIA at 2400-600 cal yr BP to an aerobic peatbank dominated by erect mosses Polytrichum strictum and Chorisodontium aciphyllum in the last 50 years. At present the nearest known occurrence of Deschampsia "bog peats" is in South Georgia, about 1900 km north at 54°S, a location having a mean annual temperature 6°C higher than the study region on the WAP. If we use this modern spatial relationship as an analogue, then this suggests that the climate a few centuries ago was much warmer (up to 6°C) than today and supported very different ecosystems on the WAP. Our results show that these re-exposed sub-fossil mosses and peats are potentially very useful for the reconstructions of coastal low-elevation terrestrial climates. These records

  8. The 1987 Antarctic ozone hole - A new record low

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Krueger, Arlin J.; Schoeberl, Mark R.; Stolarski, Richard S.; Sechrist, Frank S.

    1988-01-01

    In 1987 the Antarctic springtime total ozone as measured by TOMS was substantially lower than in any previous year. Polar ozone levels began decreasing significantly after a mesoscale transient minimum developed over the Weddell Sea on September 5-7. The total ozone over most of the Antarctic continent decreased to less than 200 DU on September 19, and a region where total ozone was less than 125 DU developed on September 30. The lowest level observed was 109 DU on October 5 near the South Pole, a value 29 DU less than the 1985 previous record low. Compared with previous years the 1987 October zonal mean total ozone is substantially lower poleward of 60 S. Antarctic total ozone in 1987 also showed the greatest rate of ozone decrease as well as the longest persistence of the ozone hole.

  9. Fossil DNA as a Recorder of Ancient Microbial Communities and Palaeoenvironments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coolen, M. J.; Boere, A.; Abbas, B.; Muyzer, G.; Overmann, J.; Wakeham, S. G.; Volkman, J. K.; Sinninghe Damste, J. S.

    2005-12-01

    Fossilized organic components provide an archive of ancient aquatic microbial communities and, hence, can be used to reconstruct climate-induced environmental changes and their impacts on biodiversity. However, the interpretation of these data is complicated by the limited source specificity of some traditional biomarkers, such as lipids and pigments. The ultimate biomarkers are genes encoding for ribosomal RNA (rDNA), which sequences provide information at the species level by phylogenetic comparison but until recently was only applied to identify extant species within environmental samples. With the exception of excellent preservation conditions prevailing in permafrost sediments (3), it was generally believed that DNA becomes rapidly degraded within fossil records. However, we have recently shown that especially in the presence of hydrogen sulfide, DNA can survive in the Holocene fossil record (1, 2). In this presentation we will show how, and to what extent, fossil DNA extracted from Holocene sediments of stratified lakes (the Canadian Mahoney Lake and the Antarctic Ace Lake) and the deep-sea (Black Sea) can be used as a novel proxy to reconstruct the ancient palaeodepositional environments and evolution of past microbial communities. In addition, we will discuss the fate of fossil DNA; quantitative stratigraphic analysis of lipid biomarkers and rDNA from the same biological precursors revealed information on the survival of fossil DNA in comparison to lipid biomarkers. It was shown that most of the DNA was degraded before dead cells reach the bottom but the remaining part was found to be well protected and even less prone to diagenetic alteration compared to certain lipid biomarkers. Base-pair compositions did not change during the Holocene, however, the fossil DNA became fragmented after several thousands of years of deposition but without significantly biasing the qualitative and quantitative molecular biological analysis of at least 10-ka-old fossil DNA

  10. The reconstructed evolutionary process with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Didier, Gilles; Royer-Carenzi, Manuela; Laurin, Michel

    2012-12-21

    Using the fossil record yields more detailed reconstructions of the evolutionary process than what is obtained from contemporary lineages only. In this work, we present a stochastic process modeling not only speciation and extinction, but also fossil finds. Next, we derive an explicit formula for the likelihood of a reconstructed phylogeny with fossils, which can be used to estimate the speciation and extinction rates. Finally, we provide a comparative simulation-based evaluation of the accuracy of estimations of these rates from complete phylogenies (including extinct lineages), from reconstructions with contemporary lineages only and from reconstructions with contemporary lineages and the fossil record. Results show that taking the fossil record into account yields more accurate estimates of speciation and extinction rates than considering only contemporary lineages.

  11. Antarctic Cenozoic climate history from sedimentary records: ANDRILL and beyond.

    PubMed

    McKay, R M; Barrett, P J; Levy, R S; Naish, T R; Golledge, N R; Pyne, A

    2016-01-28

    Mounting evidence from models and geological data implies that the Antarctic Ice Sheet may behave in an unstable manner and retreat rapidly in response to a warming climate, which is a key factor motivating efforts to improve estimates of Antarctic ice volume contributions to future sea-level rise. Here, we review Antarctic cooling history since peak temperatures of the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (approx. 50 Ma) to provide a framework for future initiatives to recover sediment cores from subglacial lakes and sedimentary basins in Antarctica's continental interior. While the existing inventory of cores has yielded important insights into the biotic and climatic evolution of Antarctica, strata have numerous and often lengthy time breaks, providing a framework of 'snapshots' through time. Further cores, and more work on existing cores, are needed to reconcile Antarctic records with the more continuous 'far-field' records documenting the evolution of global ice volume and deep-sea temperature. To achieve this, we argue for an integrated portfolio of drilling and coring missions that encompasses existing methodologies using ship- and sea-ice-/ice-shelf-based drilling platforms as well as recently developed seafloor-based drilling and subglacial access systems. We conclude by reviewing key technological issues that will need to be overcome. PMID:26667911

  12. Antarctic Cenozoic climate history from sedimentary records: ANDRILL and beyond.

    PubMed

    McKay, R M; Barrett, P J; Levy, R S; Naish, T R; Golledge, N R; Pyne, A

    2016-01-28

    Mounting evidence from models and geological data implies that the Antarctic Ice Sheet may behave in an unstable manner and retreat rapidly in response to a warming climate, which is a key factor motivating efforts to improve estimates of Antarctic ice volume contributions to future sea-level rise. Here, we review Antarctic cooling history since peak temperatures of the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (approx. 50 Ma) to provide a framework for future initiatives to recover sediment cores from subglacial lakes and sedimentary basins in Antarctica's continental interior. While the existing inventory of cores has yielded important insights into the biotic and climatic evolution of Antarctica, strata have numerous and often lengthy time breaks, providing a framework of 'snapshots' through time. Further cores, and more work on existing cores, are needed to reconcile Antarctic records with the more continuous 'far-field' records documenting the evolution of global ice volume and deep-sea temperature. To achieve this, we argue for an integrated portfolio of drilling and coring missions that encompasses existing methodologies using ship- and sea-ice-/ice-shelf-based drilling platforms as well as recently developed seafloor-based drilling and subglacial access systems. We conclude by reviewing key technological issues that will need to be overcome.

  13. Untangling Antarctic Peninsula deglaciation with dense GPS records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolstencroft, Martin; Whitehouse, Pippa; Bentley, Mike; King, Matt; Nield, Grace

    2014-05-01

    The Holocene glacial history of the Antarctic Peninsula region is relatively poorly understood but can provide an insight into the evolution of ice sheets during deglaciation. Knowledge of deglacial load changes in the Antarctic Peninsula is also required to correct observations from the GRACE satellite mission for the contribution of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) to changes in Earth's gravity field. The uncertainties in this correction propagate into estimates of the Antarctic Ice Sheet contribution to modern global sea-level rise, a question of high importance. We present a study of Antarctic Peninsula ice history based on a comparison of measurements of modern land surface motion with high resolution forward models of GIA. Global Positioning System (GPS) data were collected from Austral summer 2010-2014 in the Southern Antarctic Peninsula; the network remains in place. The models apply a range of ice histories to a spherical Earth with a visco-elastic rheology and produce predictions of present-day GIA. The GPS data were then used to discriminate between competing ice load histories, which consist of both published histories and modifications on published histories. Models of GIA produce uplift maxima with different magnitudes and spatial extent depending on input parameters. Significant uncertainty in the modelled GIA arises from the assumed structure of the solid Earth, which is poorly constrained. To understand how this uncertainty impacts the interpretation of the GPS data, we tested a plausible range of values for lithospheric thicknesses and mantle viscosity. The results of the data-model comparison provide an evaluation of the spatial and temporal sensitivity of regionally dense GPS records to deglaciation on the Antarctic Peninsula.

  14. The diatom record from beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the global proxy perspective

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scherer, Reed P.

    1993-01-01

    Recent glaciological evaluation and modeling of the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) support the possibility that the WAIS disintegrated during one or more Pleistocene interglacial period(s). The magnitude of sea level and oxygen isotope variation during certain late-Pleistocene interglacial periods is also consistent with the possibility of major retreat of the WAIS. Although oxygen isotopes from deep-sea sediments provide the best available proxy record for global ice volume (despite the ambiguities in the record), the source of ice volume changes must be hypothesized. Based on the intensity of interglacial isotopic shifts recorded in Southern Ocean marine sedimentary records, stage 11 (400,000 years ago) is the strongest candidate for WAIS collapse, but the records for stages 9, 7, and 5.5 are all consistent with the possibility of multiple late-Pleistocene collapses. Seismic reflection studies through the WAIS have revealed thick successions of strata with seismic characteristics comparable to upper Tertiary marine sediments. Small samples of glacial diamictons from beneath the ice sheet have been collected via hot-water drilled access holes. These sediments include mixed diatom assemblages of varying ages. Late-Miocene diatoms dominate many samples, probably reflecting marine deposition in West Antarctic basins prior to development of a dominantly glacial phase in West Antarctica. In addition to late-Miocene diatoms, samples from Upstream B (1988/89) contain rare post-Miocene diatoms, many of which imply deposition in the West Antarctic interior during one or more Pleistocene deglaciation periods. Age-diagnostic fossils in glacial sediments beneath ice sheets provide relatively coarse chronostratigraphic control, but they do contain direct evidence of regional deglaciation. Thus, sub-glacial till samples provide the evidence regarding the source of ice sheet variability seen in well-dated proxy records. Combined, these independent data sets can

  15. Early East Antarctic Ice Sheet growth recorded in the landscape of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rose, Kathryn C.; Ferraccioli, Fausto; Jamieson, Stewart S. R.; Bell, Robin E.; Corr, Hugh; Creyts, Timothy T.; Braaten, David; Jordan, Tom A.; Fretwell, Peter T.; Damaske, Detlef

    2013-08-01

    The Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains are regarded as a key nucleation site for the Antarctic Ice Sheet and they retain a unique long-term record of pre-glacial and early glacial landscape evolution. Here, we use a range of morphometric analyses to constrain the nature of early glaciation and subsequent ice sheet evolution in the interior of East Antarctica, using a new digital elevation model of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains, derived from an extensive airborne radar survey. We find that an inherited fluvial landscape confirms the existence of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains prior to the onset of glaciation at the Eocene-Oligocene climate boundary (ca. 34 Ma). Features characteristic of glaciation, at a range of scales, are evident across the mountains. High elevation alpine valley heads, akin to cirques, identified throughout the mountains, are interpreted as evidence for early phases of glaciation in East Antarctica. The equilibrium line altitudes associated with these features, combined with information from fossil plant assemblages, suggest that they formed at, or prior to, 34 Ma. It cannot be ruled out that they may have been eroded by ephemeral ice between the Late Cretaceous and the Eocene (100-34 Ma). Hanging valleys, overdeepenings, truncated spurs and steep-sided, linear valley networks are indicative of a more widespread alpine glaciation in this region. These features represent ice growth at, or before, 33.7 Ma and provide a minimum estimate for the scale of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet between ca. 34 and 14 Ma, when dynamic fluctuations in ice extent are recorded at the coast of Antarctica. The implications are that the early East Antarctic Ice Sheet grew rapidly and developed a cold-based core that preserved the alpine landscape. The patterns of landscape evolution identified provide the earliest evidence for the development of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and can be used to test coupled ice-climate evolution models.

  16. Macrofossil records of West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat during the Holocene

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Berkman, Paul Arthur

    1993-01-01

    Marine macrofossils in emerged beaches around Antarctica represent a geochemical framework for interpreting meltwater signatures associated with variations in the adjacent ice sheet margins during the last 10,000 years. In particular, mollusc species provide ideal experimental templates for assessing hydrochemical variations in Antarctic coastal marine environments because of their excellent preservation, high abundances, circumpolar distributions, and carbonate shells, which incorporate trace elements and stable isotopes. Modern samples of the bivalve Adamussium colbecki, which were collected across a depth gradient in the vicinity of a glacial meltwater stream in West McMurdo Sound, revealed shell trace element concentrations that were significantly higher above 10 meters because of their exposure to meltwater runoff. This meltwater signature also was reflected by the shell oxygen isotopic composition, which was in equilibrium with the ambient seawater, as demonstrated by the overlap between the predicted and actual O-(delta-18)sub w values. These modern samples provide analogs for interpreting the geochemical records in their fossils, which were based solely on molluscan fossils, complement the above geochemical data by suggesting that the rate of beach emergence fluctuated around Antarctica during the mid-Holocene. Paleoenvironmental analysis of macrofossils from emerged beaches represents a new direction in Antarctic research that can be used to assess changes in the margins of the ice sheets since the Last Glacial Maximum. The resolution of these analyses will be enhanced by collaborations that are developing with scientists who are conducting comparable studies in other coastal regions around the continent.

  17. Antarctic ozone hole hits record depth

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1991-10-18

    A bad year for the ozone over Antarctica looked like a good bet this year. For the past 2 years, stratospheric ozone destruction has equaled the record set in 1987. Now things look even worse, with a record-setting ozone hole. In 1987, 1989, and 1990, the minimum amount of ozone over Antarctica early each October was 120 to 125 Dobson units compared to the typical level of 220 that prevailed before manmade Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) began eating into the ozone layer. The depletion allowed as much as twice the usual amount of biologically damaging ultraviolet light to reach the earth's surface. But researchers took some comfort in the fact that the hole seemed to have hit a barrier to further losses. Now that barrier may have been breached. On 6 October, the satellite-borne Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer detected an ozone minimum of 110 Dobson units. The region of the lower stratosphere where icy cloud particles and the chlorine of CFCs combine to destroy ozone - between 14 and 24 kilometers - looks much the same as it did in 1987.

  18. Prograde Metamorphism recorded in Antarctic Granulite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marschall, H.; Pauly, J.; Chatterjee, N.; Monteleone, B.; Meyer, H. P.

    2015-12-01

    High-grade metamorphic rocks provide an archive of tectonic processes and record conditions in the deep roots of orogenic belts. Granulites typically preserve chemical and mineralogical evidence of the peak temperature to which crustal rocks may be subjected, and they commonly preserve a multitude of textural and chemical features that allow a rather detailed reconstruction of their cooling and exhumation. More rarely, however, is it possible to reconstruct parts of the prograde path, which would allow a reconstruction of the loading and heating of the rocks. Access to the prograde P-T path and the rates and durations involved in granulite formation would provide important constraints on the convergence part of orogenic processes. Here we investigated a sample of felsic granulite from the H.U. Sverdrupfjella, which is part of the high-grade Maud Belt (East Antarctica). Peak-metamorphic conditions of approximately 925 °C and 1.45 GPa persisted for a maximum of circa 14 million years and were attained shortly after 570 Ma. In addition to the short-lived temperature peak, zircon preserved evidence for protracted granulite facies conditions with temperatures above 800 °C persisting for approximately 40 million years. Constraints on prograde metamorphism are recorded by garnet that preserved pre-peak metamorphic growth zones, by Ti zonation in zircon and by rutile inclusions in garnet. Zr-in-rutile thermometry using rutile included in different generations of garnet is used to reconstruct the prograde P-T path documenting burial followed by heating to ultra-high temperatures at peak pressures. Complementary, Ti zonation in prograde cores of zircon grains document and date heating, whereas younger zircon rims show again lower Ti-in-zircon temperatures and date the retrograde stages of metamorphism. The highest T is recorded in rutile, but not in zircon, consistent with the dissolution rather than growth of zircon at ultra-high temperatures. The clockwise loading

  19. Organic and mineral imprints in fossil photosynthetic mats of an East Antarctic lake.

    PubMed

    Lepot, K; Compère, P; Gérard, E; Namsaraev, Z; Verleyen, E; Tavernier, I; Hodgson, D A; Vyverman, W; Gilbert, B; Wilmotte, A; Javaux, E J

    2014-09-01

    Lacustrine microbial mats in Antarctic ice-free oases are considered modern analogues of early microbial ecosystems as their primary production is generally dominated by cyanobacteria, the heterotrophic food chain typically truncated due to extreme environmental conditions, and they are geographically isolated. To better understand early fossilization and mineralization processes in this context, we studied the microstructure and chemistry of organo-mineral associations in a suite of sediments 50-4530 cal. years old from a lake in Skarvsnes, Lützow Holm Bay, East Antarctica. First, we report an exceptional preservation of fossil autotrophs and their biomolecules on millennial timescales. The pigment scytonemin is preserved inside cyanobacterial sheaths. As non-pigmented sheaths are also preserved, scytonemin likely played little role in the preservation of sheath polysaccharides, which have been cross-linked by ether bonds. Coccoids preserved thylakoids and autofluorescence of pigments such as carotenoids. This exceptional preservation of autotrophs in the fossil mats argues for limited biodegradation during and after deposition. Moreover, cell-shaped aggregates preserved sulfur-rich nanoglobules, supporting fossilization of instable intracellular byproducts of chemotrophic or phototrophic S-oxidizers. Second, we report a diversity of micro- to nanostructured CaCO3 precipitates intimately associated with extracellular polymeric substances, cyanobacteria, and/or other prokaryotes. Micro-peloids Type 1 display features that distinguish them from known carbonates crystallized in inorganic conditions: (i) Type 1A are often filled with globular nanocarbonates and/or surrounded by a fibrous fringe, (ii) Type 1B are empty and display ovoid to wrinkled fringes of nanocrystallites that can be radially oriented (fibrous or triangular) or multilayered, and (iii) all show small-size variations. Type 2 rounded carbonates 1-2 μm in diameter occurring inside autofluorescent

  20. Antarctic climate signature in the Greenland ice core record

    PubMed Central

    Barker, Stephen; Knorr, Gregor

    2007-01-01

    A numerical algorithm is applied to the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) dust record from Greenland to remove the abrupt changes in dust flux associated with the Dansgaard–Oeschger (D–O) oscillations of the last glacial period. The procedure is based on the assumption that the rapid changes in dust are associated with large-scale changes in atmospheric transport and implies that D–O oscillations (in terms of their atmospheric imprint) are more symmetric in form than can be inferred from Greenland temperature records. After removal of the abrupt shifts the residual, dejumped dust record is found to match Antarctic climate variability with a temporal lag of several hundred years. It is argued that such variability may reflect changes in the source region of Greenland dust (thought to be the deserts of eastern Asia). Other records from this region and more globally also reveal Antarctic-style variability and suggest that this signal is globally pervasive. This provides the potential basis for suggesting a more important role for gradual changes in triggering more abrupt transitions in the climate system. PMID:17954910

  1. The shape of pterosaur evolution: evidence from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dyke, G J; McGowan, A J; Nudds, R L; Smith, D

    2009-04-01

    Although pterosaurs are a well-known lineage of Mesozoic flying reptiles, their fossil record and evolutionary dynamics have never been adequately quantified. On the basis of a comprehensive data set of fossil occurrences correlated with taxon-specific limb measurements, we show that the geological ages of pterosaur specimens closely approximate hypothesized patterns of phylogenetic divergence. Although the fossil record has expanded greatly in recent years, collectorship still approximates a sigmoid curve over time as many more specimens (and thus taxa) still remain undiscovered, yet our data suggest that the pterosaur fossil record is unbiased by sites of exceptional preservation (lagerstätte). This is because as new species are discovered the number of known formations and sites yielding pterosaur fossils has also increased - this would not be expected if the bulk of the record came from just a few exceptional faunas. Pterosaur morphological diversification is, however, strongly age biased: rarefaction analysis shows that peaks of diversity occur in the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous correlated with periods of increased limb disparity. In this respect, pterosaurs appear unique amongst flying vertebrates in that their disparity seems to have peaked relatively late in clade history. Comparative analyses also show that there is little evidence that the evolutionary diversification of pterosaurs was in any way constrained by the appearance and radiation of birds.

  2. How Good is the Fossil Record?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boucot, A. J.

    1983-01-01

    Suggests that earth scientists become active in the creationist debate by making sure that the religious concept creationism is not taught in schools and that well-based, informative material about organic evolution, earth's age, and nature of stratigraphic record are employed by science teachers. (Author/JN)

  3. Evidence for Evolution from the Vertebrate Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gingerich, Philip D.

    1983-01-01

    Discusses three examples of evolutionary transition in the vertebrate fossil record, considering evolutionary transitions at the species level. Uses archaic squirrel-like Paleocine primates, the earliest primates of modern aspect, as examples. Also reviews new evidence on the origin of whales and their transition from land to sea. (JN)

  4. Absolute measures of the completeness of the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foote, M.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1999-01-01

    Measuring the completeness of the fossil record is essential to understanding evolution over long timescales, particularly when comparing evolutionary patterns among biological groups with different preservational properties. Completeness measures have been presented for various groups based on gaps in the stratigraphic ranges of fossil taxa and on hypothetical lineages implied by estimated evolutionary trees. Here we present and compare quantitative, widely applicable absolute measures of completeness at two taxonomic levels for a broader sample of higher taxa of marine animals than has previously been available. We provide an estimate of the probability of genus preservation per stratigraphic interval, and determine the proportion of living families with some fossil record. The two completeness measures use very different data and calculations. The probability of genus preservation depends almost entirely on the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic records, whereas the proportion of living families with a fossil record is influenced largely by Cenozoic data. These measurements are nonetheless highly correlated, with outliers quite explicable, and we find that completeness is rather high for many animal groups.

  5. Absolute measures of the completeness of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Foote, M; Sepkoski, J J

    1999-04-01

    Measuring the completeness of the fossil record is essential to understanding evolution over long timescales, particularly when comparing evolutionary patterns among biological groups with different preservational properties. Completeness measures have been presented for various groups based on gaps in the stratigraphic ranges of fossil taxa and on hypothetical lineages implied by estimated evolutionary trees. Here we present and compare quantitative, widely applicable absolute measures of completeness at two taxonomic levels for a broader sample of higher taxa of marine animals than has previously been available. We provide an estimate of the probability of genus preservation per stratigraphic interval, and determine the proportion of living families with some fossil record. The two completeness measures use very different data and calculations. The probability of genus preservation depends almost entirely on the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic records, whereas the proportion of living families with a fossil record is influenced largely by Cenozoic data. These measurements are nonetheless highly correlated, with outliers quite explicable, and we find that completeness is rather high for many animal groups.

  6. Giving the early fossil record of sponges a squeeze.

    PubMed

    Antcliffe, Jonathan B; Callow, Richard H T; Brasier, Martin D

    2014-11-01

    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval.

  7. Giving the early fossil record of sponges a squeeze.

    PubMed

    Antcliffe, Jonathan B; Callow, Richard H T; Brasier, Martin D

    2014-11-01

    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval. PMID:24779547

  8. The 2014 high record of Antarctic sea ice extent

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Massonnet, Francois; Guemas, Virginie; Fuckar, Neven; Doblas-Reyes, Francisco

    2016-04-01

    In September 2014, Antarctic sea ice extent exceeded the symbolic level of 20 million km²for the first time since 1978, when reliable satellite measurements became available. After the successive records of 2012 and 2013, sea ice extent in 2014 once again reinforced the positive trend observed since the late 1970s. We conduct here a dedicated study to elucidate the origins of a major, and perhaps the most intriguing, event that happened at our Poles recently. Observations, reanalyses and model results all point towards the important role of winds in modifying near-surface heat advection patterns around Antarctica. The role of pre-conditioning (summer conditions) is found to be of lesser importance. Finally, we find no evidence that anomalous freshwater forcing (from atmospheric or continental origin) could have explained the record extent of 2014.

  9. A Maturing Tephra Record in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunbar, N. W.; Kurbatov, A.; McIntosh, W. C.

    2011-12-01

    Tephra layers found in many Antarctic ice cores range from sub-centimeter thick, visible layers to cryptotephra consisting of sparse, fine-grained (<10 micron) glass particles. Location of tephra particles has improved with advances in methods of detecting cryptotephra in ice cores. Identification of tephra layers traditionally relied on visible detection or association with sulfate aerosols, but is now supplemented by downhole optical logging (Bay et al., 2001). Improved analytical techniques for glass characterization, such as high quality quantitative electron microprobe analysis, and more complete information on source eruptions has facilitated identification of tephra horizons in ice cores. Two deep ice cores drilled in West Antarctica (Siple Dome and WAIS Divide) contain rich tephra records, with the former containing 37 tephra layers and the latter containing several hundred distinct, visible layers, many of which are likely to be tephra. Most of the tephra layers with strong correlations to sources are derived from Antarctic volcanoes, many from two large West Antarctic stratovolcanoes Mt. Berlin and Mt. Takahe, tephra from which have also been recognized in the marine record (Hillenbrand et al., 1988). A well-defined ash layer is found at a depth of between 190.37-190.39 m depth in the WAIS Divide core, containing 20 um ash shards that are chemically correlated to the the Pleaides volcanoes, in northern Victoria Land. This tephra layer correlates to one found in a Siple Dome (B) ice core (97.2 to 97.7 m depth) and in the Taylor Dome ice core (79.2 m depth). Deeper parts of the WAIS Divide ice core correspond to a time interval of abundant regional volcanism, represented by the large number of visible dust bands and cloudy layers in the core (A. Orsi, pers. comm., 2010). A distinct "visible brown layer" at a depth of 1586.363 m. (8.279 Ky BP preliminary age) is very likely to be from a major eruption of the West Antarctic volcano Mt. Takahe (8.2±5

  10. Testing New Proxies for Photosymbiosis in the Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tornabene, C.; Martindale, R. C.; Schaller, M. F.

    2015-12-01

    Photosymbiosis is a mutualistic relationship that many corals have developed with dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae. The dinoflagellates, of the genus Symbiodinium, photosynthesize and provide corals with most of their energy, while in turn coral hosts live in waters where zooxanthellae have optimal exposure to sunlight. Thanks to this relationship, symbiotic corals calcify faster than non-symbiotic corals. Photosymbiosis is therefore considered the evolutionary innovation that allowed corals to become major reef-builders through geological time.This relationship is extremely difficult to study. Zooxanthellae, which are housed in the coral tissue, are not preserved in fossil coral skeletons, thus determining whether corals had symbionts requires a robust proxy. In order to address this critical question, the goal of this research is to test new proxies for ancient photosymbiosis. Currently the project is focused on assessing the nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes of corals' organic matrices, sensu Muscatine et al. (2005), as well as carbon and oxygen (δ13C, δ18O) isotopes of fossil coral skeletons. Samples from Modern, Pleistocene, Oligocene and Triassic coral skeletons were analyzed to test the validity of these proxies. Coral samples comprise both (interpreted) symbiotic and non-symbiotic fossil corals from the Oligocene and Triassic as well as symbiotic fossil corals from the Modern and Pleistocene to corroborate our findings with the results of Muscatine et al. (2005). Samples were tested for diagenesis through petrographic and scanning electron microscope (SEM) analyses to avoid contamination. Additionally, a novel technique that has not yet been applied to the fossil record was tested. The technique aims to recognize dinosterol, a dinoflagellate biomarker, in both modern and fossil coral samples. The premise of this proxy is that symbiotic corals should contain the dinoflagellate biomarker, whereas those lacking symbionts should lack dinosterol. Results from this

  11. Earth's early fossil record: Why not look for similar fossils on Mars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Awramik, Stanley M.

    1989-01-01

    The oldest evidence of life on Earth is discussed with attention being given to the structure and formation of stromatolites and microfossils. Fossilization of microbes in calcium carbonate or chert media is discussed. In searching for fossil remains on Mars, some lessons learned from the study of Earth's earliest fossil record can be applied. Certain sedimentary rock types and sedimentary rock configurations should be targeted for investigation and returned by the Martian rover and ultimately by human explorers. Domical, columnar to wavy laminated stratiform sedimentary rocks that resemble stromatolites should be actively sought. Limestone, other carbonates, and chert are the favored lithology. Being macroscopic, stromatolites might be recognized by an intelligent unmanned rover. In addition, black, waxy chert with conchoidal fracture should be sought. Chert is by far the preferred lithology for the preservation of microbes and chemical fossils. Even under optimal geological conditions (little or no metamorphism or tectonic alteration, excellent outcrops, and good black chert) and using experienced field biogeologists, the chances of finding well preserved microbial remains in chert are very low.

  12. Diversity dynamics: molecular phylogenies need the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2010-08-01

    Over the last two decades, new tools in the analysis of molecular phylogenies have enabled study of the diversification dynamics of living clades in the absence of information about extinct lineages. However, computer simulations and the fossil record show that the inability to access extinct lineages severely limits the inferences that can be drawn from molecular phylogenies. It appears that molecular phylogenies can tell us only when there have been changes in diversification rates, but are blind to the true diversity trajectories and rates of origination and extinction that have led to the species that are alive today. We need to embrace the fossil record if we want to fully understand the diversity dynamics of the living biota. PMID:20646780

  13. Exopaleontology and the search for a fossil record on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Desmarais, D. J.

    1994-01-01

    Although present Martian surface conditions appear unfavorable for life as we know it, there is compelling geological evidence that the climate of early Mars was much more Earth-like, with a denser atmosphere and abundant surface water. The fact that life developed on the Earth within the first billion years of its history makes it quite plausible that life may have also developed on Mars. If life did develop on Mars, it is likely to have left behind a fossil record. This has led to the development of a new subdiscipline of paleontology, herein termed 'exopaleontology', which deals with the exploration for fossils on other planets. The most important factor enhancing microbial fossilization is the rapid entombment of microorganisms by fine-grained, stable mineral phases, such as silica, phosphate, or carbonate. The oldest body fossils on Earth are preserved in this way, occurring as permineralized cells in fine-grained siliceous sediments (cherts) associated with ancient volcanic terranes in Australia and South Africa. Modern terrestrial environments where minerals may precipitate in the presence of microorganisms include subaerial thermal springs and shallow hydrothermal systems, sub-lacustrine springs and evaporitic alkaline lakes, zones of mineralization within soils where 'hardpans' (e.g. calcretes, silcretes) form, and high latitude frozen soils or ground ice.

  14. First record of Podocarpoid fossil wood in South China

    PubMed Central

    Li, Long; Jin, Jian-Hua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A.

    2016-01-01

    A new species of fossil conifer wood, Podocarpoxylon donghuaiense sp. nov., is described from the late Eocene of Nadu Formation in Baise Basin of the Guangxi Province, South China. This fossil wood is characterized by distinct growth rings, circular to oval tracheids in cross section, 1–2-seriate opposite pits on radial tracheid walls, uniseriate (rarely biseriate) rays, smooth end walls of ray parenchyma cells, and the absence of resin ducts, suggesting its affinity to Podocarpaceae. The new species is distinctive from other Cenozoic woods ascribed to this family by the combination of distinctive growth rings, the absence of axial parenchyma, the occurrence of bordered pits on tangential tracheid walls, and the occurrence of 3–4 cuppressoid or taxodioid pits on cross-fields. This represents the first record of podocarpoid fossil wood in South China and provides fossil evidence for the early dispersal and diversification of Podocarpaceae in eastern Asia as well as for mild temperate seasonal climate in this region during the late Eocene. PMID:27571780

  15. Exopaleontology and the search for a fossil record on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Desmarais, D. J.

    1994-03-01

    Although present Martian surface conditions appear unfavorable for life as we know it, there is compelling geological evidence that the climate of early Mars was much more Earth-like, with a denser atmosphere and abundant surface water. The fact that life developed on the Earth within the first billion years of its history makes it quite plausible that life may have also developed on Mars. If life did develop on Mars, it is likely to have left behind a fossil record. This has led to the development of a new subdiscipline of paleontology, herein termed 'exopaleontology', which deals with the exploration for fossils on other planets. The most important factor enhancing microbial fossilization is the rapid entombment of microorganisms by fine-grained, stable mineral phases, such as silica, phosphate, or carbonate. The oldest body fossils on Earth are preserved in this way, occurring as permineralized cells in fine-grained siliceous sediments (cherts) associated with ancient volcanic terranes in Australia and South Africa. Modern terrestrial environments where minerals may precipitate in the presence of microorganisms include subaerial thermal springs and shallow hydrothermal systems, sub-lacustrine springs and evaporitic alkaline lakes, zones of mineralization within soils where 'hardpans' (e.g. calcretes, silcretes) form, and high latitude frozen soils or ground ice.

  16. First record of Podocarpoid fossil wood in South China.

    PubMed

    Li, Long; Jin, Jian-Hua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A

    2016-01-01

    A new species of fossil conifer wood, Podocarpoxylon donghuaiense sp. nov., is described from the late Eocene of Nadu Formation in Baise Basin of the Guangxi Province, South China. This fossil wood is characterized by distinct growth rings, circular to oval tracheids in cross section, 1-2-seriate opposite pits on radial tracheid walls, uniseriate (rarely biseriate) rays, smooth end walls of ray parenchyma cells, and the absence of resin ducts, suggesting its affinity to Podocarpaceae. The new species is distinctive from other Cenozoic woods ascribed to this family by the combination of distinctive growth rings, the absence of axial parenchyma, the occurrence of bordered pits on tangential tracheid walls, and the occurrence of 3-4 cuppressoid or taxodioid pits on cross-fields. This represents the first record of podocarpoid fossil wood in South China and provides fossil evidence for the early dispersal and diversification of Podocarpaceae in eastern Asia as well as for mild temperate seasonal climate in this region during the late Eocene. PMID:27571780

  17. An overview of the dinosaur fossil record from Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rubilar-Rogers, David; Otero, Rodrigo A.; Yury-Yáñez, Roberto E.; Vargas, Alexander O.; Gutstein, Carolina S.

    2012-08-01

    In Chile, the record of dinosaurs in Jurassic and Cretaceous sediments is often restricted to footprints, with few skeletal remains. Tetanuran theropods are known in the Upper Jurassic, and bones of titanosaur sauropods in the Late Cretaceous, including partial skeletons (e.g. Atacamatitan chilensis Kellner et al.). Also from the late Cretaceous, an ornithopod vertebra, a pair of theropod teeth and one tarsometatarsus of a gaviiform bird (Neogaeornis wetzeli Lambrecht) have been reported. The Cenozoic fossil record comprises abundant and well-preserved marine birds from Eocene and Miocene units, with a specially abundant record of Sphenisciformes and less frequently, Procellariiformes. There is an excellent Miocene-Pliocene record of other birds such as Odontopterygiformes, including the most complete skeleton ever found of a pelagornithid, Pelagornis chilensis Mayr and Rubilar-Rogers. Fossil birds are also known from Pliocene and Pleistocene strata. A remarkable collection of birds was discovered in lacustrine sediments of late Pleistocene age associated to human activity. The perspectives in the study of dinosaurs in Chile are promising because plenty of material stored in institutional collections is not described yet. The record of Chilean dinosaurs is relevant for understanding the dynamics and evolution of this group of terrestrial animals in the western edge of Gondwana, while Cenozoic birds from the Region may contribute to the understanding of current biogeography for instance, the effect of the emergence and establishment of the Humboldt Current.

  18. The hominin fossil record: taxa, grades and clades.

    PubMed

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-04-01

    This paper begins by reviewing the fossil evidence for human evolution. It presents summaries of each of the taxa recognized in a relatively speciose hominin taxonomy. These taxa are grouped in grades, namely possible and probable hominins, archaic hominins, megadont archaic hominins, transitional hominins, pre-modern Homo and anatomically modern Homo. The second part of this contribution considers some of the controversies that surround hominin taxonomy and systematics. The first is the vexed question of how you tell an early hominin from an early panin, or from taxa belonging to an extinct clade closely related to the Pan-Homo clade. Secondly, we consider how many species should be recognized within the hominin fossil record, and review the philosophies and methods used to identify taxa within the hominin fossil record. Thirdly, we examine how relationships within the hominin clade are investigated, including descriptions of the methods used to break down an integrated structure into tractable analytical units, and then how cladograms are generated and compared. We then review the internal structure of the hominin clade, including the problem of how many subclades should be recognized within the hominin clade, and we examine the reliability of hominin cladistic hypotheses. The last part of the paper reviews the concepts of a genus, including the criteria that should be used for recognizing genera within the hominin clade.

  19. The hominin fossil record: taxa, grades and clades

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-01-01

    This paper begins by reviewing the fossil evidence for human evolution. It presents summaries of each of the taxa recognized in a relatively speciose hominin taxonomy. These taxa are grouped in grades, namely possible and probable hominins, archaic hominins, megadont archaic hominins, transitional hominins, pre-modern Homo and anatomically modern Homo. The second part of this contribution considers some of the controversies that surround hominin taxonomy and systematics. The first is the vexed question of how you tell an early hominin from an early panin, or from taxa belonging to an extinct clade closely related to the Pan-Homo clade. Secondly, we consider how many species should be recognized within the hominin fossil record, and review the philosophies and methods used to identify taxa within the hominin fossil record. Thirdly, we examine how relationships within the hominin clade are investigated, including descriptions of the methods used to break down an integrated structure into tractable analytical units, and then how cladograms are generated and compared. We then review the internal structure of the hominin clade, including the problem of how many subclades should be recognized within the hominin clade, and we examine the reliability of hominin cladistic hypotheses. The last part of the paper reviews the concepts of a genus, including the criteria that should be used for recognizing genera within the hominin clade. PMID:18380861

  20. The fossil record and macroevolutionary history of the beetles.

    PubMed

    Smith, Dena M; Marcot, Jonathan D

    2015-04-22

    Coleoptera (beetles) is the most species-rich metazoan order, with approximately 380 000 species. To understand how they came to be such a diverse group, we compile a database of global fossil beetle occurrences to study their macroevolutionary history. Our database includes 5553 beetle occurrences from 221 fossil localities. Amber and lacustrine deposits preserve most of the beetle diversity and abundance. All four extant suborders are found in the fossil record, with 69% of all beetle families and 63% of extant beetle families preserved. Considerable focus has been placed on beetle diversification overall, however, for much of their evolutionary history it is the clade Polyphaga that is most responsible for their taxonomic richness. Polyphaga had an increase in diversification rate in the Early Cretaceous, but instead of being due to the radiation of the angiosperms, this was probably due to the first occurrences of beetle-bearing amber deposits in the record. Perhaps, most significant is that polyphagan beetles had a family-level extinction rate of zero for most of their evolutionary history, including across the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary. Therefore, focusing on the factors that have inhibited beetle extinction, as opposed to solely studying mechanisms that may promote speciation, should be examined as important determinants of their great diversity today.

  1. The Quality of the Fossil Record: Populations, Species, and Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidwell, Susan M.; Flessa, Karl W.

    Paleontologists have always been concerned about the documentary quality of the fossil record, and this has also become an important issue for biologists, who increasingly look to accumulations of bones, shells, and plant material as possible ways to extend the time-frame of observation on species and community behaviors. Quantitative data on the postmortem behavior of organic remains in modern environments are providing new insights into death and fossil assemblages as sources of biological information. Important findings include: 1. With the exception of a few circumstances, usually recognizable by independent criteria, transport out of the original life habitat affects few individuals. 2. Most species with preservable hard-parts are in fact represented in the local death assemblage, commonly in correct rank importance. Molluscs are the most durable of modern aquatic groups studied so far, and they show highest fidelity to the original community. 3. Time-averaging of remains from successive generations and communities often prevents the detection of short term (seasons, years) variability but provides an excellent record of the natural range of community composition and structure over longer periods. Thus, although a complex array of processes and circumstances influences preservation, death assemblages of resistant skeletal elements are for many major groups good to excellent records of community composition, morphological variation, and environmental and geographic distribution of species, and such assemblages can record dynamics at ecologically and evolutionarily meaningful scales.

  2. Maturation experiments reveal bias in the fossil record of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNamara, Maria; Field, Daniel

    2016-04-01

    The evolutionary history of birds and feathers is a major focus in palaeobiology and evolutionary biology. Diverse exceptionally preserved birds and feathered dinosaurs from Jurassic and Cretaceous biotas in China have provided pivotal evidence of early feathers and feather-like integumentary features, but the true nature of many of these fossil soft tissues is still debated. Interpretations of feathers at intermediate developmental stages (i.e. Stages II, III and IV) and of simple quill-like (Stage I) feathers are particularly controversial. This reflects key uncertainties relating to the preservation potential of feathers at different evolutionary-developmental stages, and to the relative preservation potential of diagnostic features of Stage I feathers and hair. To resolve these issues, we used high pressure-high temperature autoclave experiments to simulate the effects of burial on modern feathers from the Black Coucal (Centropus grilii) and Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), and on human hair. Our results reveal profound differences in the recalcitrance of feathers of different types during maturation: Stage I and Stage V feathers retain diagnostic morphological and ultrastructural details following maturation, whereas other feather types do not. Further, the morphology and arrangement of certain ultrastructural features diagnostic of Stages III and IV, e.g. barbules, are preferentially lost during maturation. These results indicate a pervasive bias in the fossil record of feathers, whereby preservation of feathers at Stages I and V is favored. Critical stages in the evolution of feathers, i.e. Stages II, III and IV, are less likely to be preserved and more likely to be misinterpreted as feathers at earlier developmental stages. Our discovery has major implications for our understanding of the fidelity of the fossil record of feathers and provides a framework for testing the significance of putative examples of fossil feathers at different developmental

  3. Disentangling rock record bias and common-cause from redundancy in the British fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dunhill, Alexander M; Hannisdal, Bjarte; Benton, Michael J

    2014-01-01

    The fossil record documents the history of life, but the reliability of that record has often been questioned. Spatiotemporal variability in sedimentary rock volume, sampling and research effort especially frustrates global-scale diversity reconstructions. Various proposals have been made to rectify palaeodiversity estimates using proxy measures for the availability and sampling of the rock record, but the validity of these approaches remains controversial. Targeting the rich fossil record of Great Britain as a highly detailed regional exemplar, our statistical analysis shows that marine outcrop area contains a signal useful for predicting changes in diversity, collections and formations, whereas terrestrial outcrop area contains a signal useful for predicting formations. In contrast, collection and formation counts are information redundant with fossil richness, characterized by symmetric, bidirectional information flow. If this is true, the widespread use of collection and formation counts as sampling proxies to correct the raw palaeodiversity data may be unwarranted.

  4. At the Origin of Animals: The Revolutionary Cambrian Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Budd, Graham E

    2013-01-01

    The certain fossil record of animals begins around 540 million years ago, close to the base of the Cambrian Period. A series of extraordinary discoveries starting over 100 years ago with Walcott’s discovery of the Burgess Shale has accelerated in the last thirty years or so with the description of exceptionally-preserved Cambrian fossils from around the world. Such deposits of “Burgess Shale Type” have been recently complemented by other types of exceptional preservation. Together with a remarkable growth in knowledge about the environments that these early animals lived in, these discoveries have long exerted a fascination and strong influence on views on the origins of animals, and indeed, the nature of evolution itself. Attention is now shifting to the period of time just before animals become common, at the base of the Cambrian and in the preceding Ediacaran Period. Remarkable though the Burgess Shale deposits have been, a substantial gap still exists in our knowledge of the earliest animals. Nevertheless, the fossils from this most remarkable period of evolutionary history continue to exert a strong influence on many aspects of animal evolution, not least recent theories about developmental evolution. PMID:24396267

  5. Aragonite and the fossil record: are we overlooking something?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balthasar, Uwe

    2016-04-01

    Aragonite and calcite are the two most common minerals from which marine organisms secrete their skeletons, yet their potential to preserve in the fossil record is very different. While calcite is generally very stable, aragonite dissolves relatively easily either during diagenesis or even pre-burial. While the complete loss of aragonitic shells is generally acknowledged, the original contribution of aragonite to commonly preserved calcareous fossils is generally overlooked, particularly in groups with no recent representatives. Palaeozoic brachiopods and stromatoporoid sponges, for example, are traditionally considered to have been made of calcite. However, EBSD work on stromatoporoids shows a complex early diagenesis during which the skeletal walls recrystallised first and served as the nucleation surface for the cements infilling the open galleries between the walls. This suggests that the original mineral composition of the skeletal walls had a high diagenetic potential which makes a stable low-magnesium calcite composition unlikely. Equally, the biggest subphylum of brachiopods, Rhynchonelliformea, is traditionally considered to have shells that are exclusively made of low-magnesium calcite. However, a survey of the shell thickness of 176 Ordovician-Silurian brachiopod valves reveals that the calcitic remains of some of the larger shells (particularly of pentamerids) are far too thin with several specimens exhibiting the irregular internal margins typical of dissolution, thus suggesting a bimineralic composition with an outer calcite and an inner aragonite layer. These examples indicate that existing estimates of Phanerozoic aragonite and calcite skeletal mineralogy are not only biased by the complete dissolution of shells, but we probably overestimate the abundance of original calcite composition in the fossil record.

  6. Patterns of generic extinction in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.; Boyajian, G. E.

    1988-01-01

    Analysis of the stratigraphic records of 19,897 fossil genera indicates that most classes and orders show largely congruent rises and falls in extinction intensity throughout the Phanerozoic. Even an ecologically homogeneous sample of reef genera shows the same basic extinction profile. The most likely explanation for the congruence is that extinction is physically rather than biologically driven and that it is dominated by the effects of geographically widespread environmental perturbations influencing most habitats. Significant departures from the congruence are uncommon but important because they indicate physiological or habitat selectivity. The similarity of the extinction records of reef organisms and the marine biota as a whole confirms that reefs and other faunas are responding to the same history of environmental stress.

  7. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe.

    PubMed

    Mayr, Gerald

    2005-11-01

    The Paleogene (Paleocene-Oligocene) fossil record of birds in Europe is reviewed and recent and fossil taxa are placed into a phylogenetic framework, based on published cladistic analyses. The pre-Oligocene European avifauna is characterized by the complete absence of passeriform birds, which today are the most diverse and abundant avian taxon. Representatives of small non-passeriform perching birds thus probably had similar ecological niches before the Oligocene to those filled by modern passerines. The occurrence of passerines towards the Lower Oligocene appears to have had a major impact on these birds, and the surviving crown-group members of many small arboreal Eocene taxa show highly specialized feeding strategies not found or rare in passeriform birds. It is detailed that no crown-group members of modern 'families' are known from pre-Oligocene deposits of Europe, or anywhere else. The phylogenetic position of Paleogene birds thus indicates that diversification of the crown-groups of modern avian 'families' did not take place before the Oligocene, irrespective of their relative position within Neornithes (crown-group birds). The Paleogene fossil record of birds does not even support crown-group diversification of Galliformes, one of the most basal taxa of neognathous birds, before the Oligocene, and recent molecular studies that dated diversification of galliform crown-group taxa into the Middle Cretaceous are shown to be based on an incorrect interpretation of the fossil taxa used for molecular clock calibrations. Several taxa that occur in the Paleogene of Europe have a very different distribution than their closest extant relatives. The modern survivors of these Paleogene lineages are not evenly distributed over the continents, and especially the great number of taxa that are today restricted to South and Central America is noteworthy. The occurrence of stem-lineage representatives of many taxa that today have a restricted Southern Hemisphere distribution

  8. Linking the Antarctic tephra record across the continent and beyond

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iverson, N. A.; Dunbar, N. W.; Kurbatov, A.; Kalteyer, D.; Yates, M. G.; McIntosh, W. C.; Sigl, M.; McConnell, J.; Pearce, N. J. G.

    2015-12-01

    Individual ice cores in Antarctica contain a wealth of paleoclimate and volcanological information that requires robust chronology, one aspect of which is cross-correlation between cores using tephra layers. An array of analytical techniques (SEM, EMPA and LA-ICP-MS) allows for the eruption dynamics and tephra transport to be better understood. Tephra layers analyzed from ice cores and blue ice sites in West Antarctica are dominantly of trachytic composition and derived from local volcanoes in Marie Byrd Land (Mt. Berlin and Mt. Takahe) and Northern Victoria Land (Mt. Melbourne and the Pleiades). Although many tephra from these volcanoes are likely to be widely distributed, a number are only identified in a single core or blue ice site. For instance, the distinctive 8.2ka tephra layer, correlated to Mt. Takahe, can be found as a visible layer in the WAIS and Siple Dome ice cores and in a blue ice area at Mt. Waesche, but, surprisingly, is absent from the RICE core. In some cases, two ice cores only 100m apart may have slightly different tephra records, suggesting non-uniform preservation of tephra. Some of these tephra layers are found in multiple cores and blue ice sites, providing insight into the tephra distribution pattern and precise chronological links between multiple climate records. One prominent regional tephra layer, with a WAIS age of 1252C.E., is found in East (Taylor Dome (Dunbar, 2003) and Talos Dome (Narcisi et al., 2012)) and West (WAIS, Siple Dome (Dunbar and Kurbatov, 2011) and RICE) Antarctic ice cores. This layer, linked to the Pleiades, provides a widespread and unambiguous tie point and exhibits a complex range of trace element composition that may provide information about travel direction of the ash cloud through the duration of the eruption. Many important marker layers are extra-continental tephra from South America and New Zealand and have more distinctive chemistry than the local alkaline volcanoes. One layer is the recently identified

  9. The fossil record of evolution: Data on diversification and extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1991-01-01

    Understanding of the evolution of complex life, and of the roles that changing terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments played in life's history, is dependent upon synthetic knowledge of the fossil record. Paleontologists have been describing fossils for more that two centuries. However, much of this information is dispersed in monographs and journal articles published throughout the world. Over the past several years, this literature was surveyed, and a data base on times of origination and extinction of fossil genera was compiled. The data base, which now holds approximately 32,000 genera, covers all taxonomic groups of marine animals, incorporates the most recent taxonomic assignments, and uses a detailed global time framework that can resolve originations and extinctions to intervals averaging three million years in duration. These data can be used to compile patterns of global biodiversity, measure rates of taxic evolution, and test hypotheses concerning adaptive radiations, mass extinctions, etc. Thus far, considerable effort was devoted to using the data to test the hypothesis of periodicity of mass extinction. Rates of extinction measured from the data base have also been used to calibrate models of evolutionary radiations in marine environments. It was observed that new groups, or clades of animals (i.e., orders and classes) tend to reach appreciable diversity first in nearshore environments and then to radiate in more offshore environments; during decline, these clades may disappear from the nearshore while persisting in offshore, deep water habitats. These observations have led to suggestions that there is something special about stressful or perturbed environments that promotes the evolution of novel kinds of animals that can rapidly replace their predecessors. The numerical model that is being investigated to study this phenomenon treats environments along onshore-offshore gradients as if they were discrete habitats. Other aspects of this

  10. The fossil record of evolution: Data on diversification and extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1986-01-01

    Synoptic studies of the fossil record of complex life on Earth indicate increasingly that extinction, and especially mass extinction, were extremely important driving forces in the history of life. Analysis of a new compilation of geologic ranges for 25,000 genera of marine animals suggests that extinction events were much more frequent in occurrence and variable in magnitude than previously suspected. At least 30 well documented and potential mass extinctions were identified in the dataset. The most recent event, distributed over 260 to 0 ma. exhibit a stationary periodicity of 26.1 + or - 1 ma, implicating a cosmological forcing mechanism. Earlier events, especially in the 575 to 450 ma interval, are more frequent, possibly indicating either a breakdown of periodicity in the more distant past; and as yet undemonstrated diminution of the period length; or frequent aperiodic terrestrial perturbations of a less stable biota superimposed upon the cosmological periodicity.

  11. Extinction, diversity and survivorship of taxa in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Newman, M. E. J.; Sibani, P.

    1999-01-01

    Using data drawn from large-scale databases, a number of interesting trends in the fossil record have been observed in recent years. These include the average decline in extinction rates throughout the Phanerozoic, the average increase in standing diversity, correlations between rates of origination and extinction, and simple laws governing the form of survivorship curves and the distribution of the lifetimes of taxa. In this paper we derive a number of mathematical relationships between these quantities and show how these different trends are interrelated. We also derive a variety of constraints on the possible forms of these trends, such as limits on the rate at which extinction may decline and limits on the allowed difference between extinction and origination rates at any given time.

  12. Cyclicity in the fossil record mirrors rock outcrop area

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Andrew B; McGowan, Alistair J

    2005-01-01

    In a recent article, Rohde & Muller (Rohde & Muller 2005 Nature 434, 208–210) identified a strong 62 Myr cyclicity in the history of marine diversity through the Phanerozoic. The data they presented were highly convincing, yet they were unable to explain what process might have generated this pattern. A significant correlation between observed genus-level diversity (after removal of long-term trends) and the amount of marine sedimentary rock measured at a surface outcrop in Western Europe is demonstrated. This suggests that cyclicity originates from long-term changes in sedimentary depositional and erosional regimes, and raises the strong possibility that the cyclicity apparent in the record of marine fossils is not a biological signal but a sampling signal. PMID:17148228

  13. Antarctic Crabs: Invasion or Endurance?

    PubMed Central

    Griffiths, Huw J.; Whittle, Rowan J.; Roberts, Stephen J.; Belchier, Mark; Linse, Katrin

    2013-01-01

    Recent scientific interest following the “discovery” of lithodid crabs around Antarctica has centred on a hypothesis that these crabs might be poised to invade the Antarctic shelf if the recent warming trend continues, potentially decimating its native fauna. This “invasion hypothesis” suggests that decapod crabs were driven out of Antarctica 40–15 million years ago and are only now returning as “warm” enough habitats become available. The hypothesis is based on a geographically and spatially poor fossil record of a different group of crabs (Brachyura), and examination of relatively few Recent lithodid samples from the Antarctic slope. In this paper, we examine the existing lithodid fossil record and present the distribution and biogeographic patterns derived from over 16,000 records of Recent Southern Hemisphere crabs and lobsters. Globally, the lithodid fossil record consists of only two known specimens, neither of which comes from the Antarctic. Recent records show that 22 species of crabs and lobsters have been reported from the Southern Ocean, with 12 species found south of 60°S. All are restricted to waters warmer than 0°C, with their Antarctic distribution limited to the areas of seafloor dominated by Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW). Currently, CDW extends further and shallower onto the West Antarctic shelf than the known distribution ranges of most lithodid species examined. Geological evidence suggests that West Antarctic shelf could have been available for colonisation during the last 9,000 years. Distribution patterns, species richness, and levels of endemism all suggest that, rather than becoming extinct and recently re-invading from outside Antarctica, the lithodid crabs have likely persisted, and even radiated, on or near to Antarctic slope. We conclude there is no evidence for a modern-day “crab invasion”. We recommend a repeated targeted lithodid sampling program along the West Antarctic shelf to fully test the validity of the

  14. Antarctic crabs: invasion or endurance?

    PubMed

    Griffiths, Huw J; Whittle, Rowan J; Roberts, Stephen J; Belchier, Mark; Linse, Katrin

    2013-01-01

    Recent scientific interest following the "discovery" of lithodid crabs around Antarctica has centred on a hypothesis that these crabs might be poised to invade the Antarctic shelf if the recent warming trend continues, potentially decimating its native fauna. This "invasion hypothesis" suggests that decapod crabs were driven out of Antarctica 40-15 million years ago and are only now returning as "warm" enough habitats become available. The hypothesis is based on a geographically and spatially poor fossil record of a different group of crabs (Brachyura), and examination of relatively few Recent lithodid samples from the Antarctic slope. In this paper, we examine the existing lithodid fossil record and present the distribution and biogeographic patterns derived from over 16,000 records of Recent Southern Hemisphere crabs and lobsters. Globally, the lithodid fossil record consists of only two known specimens, neither of which comes from the Antarctic. Recent records show that 22 species of crabs and lobsters have been reported from the Southern Ocean, with 12 species found south of 60 °S. All are restricted to waters warmer than 0 °C, with their Antarctic distribution limited to the areas of seafloor dominated by Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW). Currently, CDW extends further and shallower onto the West Antarctic shelf than the known distribution ranges of most lithodid species examined. Geological evidence suggests that West Antarctic shelf could have been available for colonisation during the last 9,000 years. Distribution patterns, species richness, and levels of endemism all suggest that, rather than becoming extinct and recently re-invading from outside Antarctica, the lithodid crabs have likely persisted, and even radiated, on or near to Antarctic slope. We conclude there is no evidence for a modern-day "crab invasion". We recommend a repeated targeted lithodid sampling program along the West Antarctic shelf to fully test the validity of the "invasion hypothesis

  15. Antarctic crabs: invasion or endurance?

    PubMed

    Griffiths, Huw J; Whittle, Rowan J; Roberts, Stephen J; Belchier, Mark; Linse, Katrin

    2013-01-01

    Recent scientific interest following the "discovery" of lithodid crabs around Antarctica has centred on a hypothesis that these crabs might be poised to invade the Antarctic shelf if the recent warming trend continues, potentially decimating its native fauna. This "invasion hypothesis" suggests that decapod crabs were driven out of Antarctica 40-15 million years ago and are only now returning as "warm" enough habitats become available. The hypothesis is based on a geographically and spatially poor fossil record of a different group of crabs (Brachyura), and examination of relatively few Recent lithodid samples from the Antarctic slope. In this paper, we examine the existing lithodid fossil record and present the distribution and biogeographic patterns derived from over 16,000 records of Recent Southern Hemisphere crabs and lobsters. Globally, the lithodid fossil record consists of only two known specimens, neither of which comes from the Antarctic. Recent records show that 22 species of crabs and lobsters have been reported from the Southern Ocean, with 12 species found south of 60 °S. All are restricted to waters warmer than 0 °C, with their Antarctic distribution limited to the areas of seafloor dominated by Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW). Currently, CDW extends further and shallower onto the West Antarctic shelf than the known distribution ranges of most lithodid species examined. Geological evidence suggests that West Antarctic shelf could have been available for colonisation during the last 9,000 years. Distribution patterns, species richness, and levels of endemism all suggest that, rather than becoming extinct and recently re-invading from outside Antarctica, the lithodid crabs have likely persisted, and even radiated, on or near to Antarctic slope. We conclude there is no evidence for a modern-day "crab invasion". We recommend a repeated targeted lithodid sampling program along the West Antarctic shelf to fully test the validity of the "invasion hypothesis".

  16. Spatial and temporal characteristics of the Little Ice Age: The Antarctic ice-core record

    SciTech Connect

    Mosley-Thompson, E.; Thompson, L.G.

    1992-03-01

    Recently, ice core records from both hemispheres, in conjunction with other proxy records (e.g., tree rings, speleothems and corals), have shown that the Little Ice Age (LIA) was spatially extensive, extending to the Antarctic. This paper examines the temporal and spatial characteristics of the dust and delta 18O information from Antarctic ice cores. Substantial differences exist in the records. For example, a 550-year record of delta 18O and dust concentrations from Siple Station, Antarctica suggests that, less dusty conditions prevailed from A.D. 1600 to 1830. Alternately, dust and delta 18O data from South Pole Station indicate that opposite conditions (e.g., cooler and more dusty) were prevalent during the LIA. Three additional Antarctic delta 18O records are integrated with the Siple and South Pole histories for a more comprehensive picture of LIA conditions. The records provide additional support for the LIA temperature opposition between the Antarctic Peninsula region and East Antarctica. In addition, periods of strongest LIA cooling are not temporally synchronous over East Antarctica. These strong regional differences demonstrate that a suite of spatially distributed, high resolution ice core records will be necessary to characterize the LIA in Antarctica.

  17. First record of Babesia sp. in Antarctic penguins.

    PubMed

    Montero, Estrella; González, Luis Miguel; Chaparro, Alberto; Benzal, Jesús; Bertellotti, Marcelo; Masero, José A; Colominas-Ciuró, Roger; Vidal, Virginia; Barbosa, Andrés

    2016-04-01

    This is the first reported case of Babesia sp. in Antarctic penguins, specifically a population of Chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica) in the Vapour Col penguin rookery in Deception Island, South Shetlands, Antarctica. We collected peripheral blood from 50 adult and 30 chick Chinstrap penguins. Examination of the samples by microscopy showed intraerythrocytic forms morphologically similar to other avian Babesia species in 12 Chinstrap penguin adults and seven chicks. The estimated parasitaemias ranged from 0.25×10(-2)% to 0.75×10(-2)%. Despite the low number of parasites found in blood smears, semi-nested PCR assays yielded a 274 bp fragment in 12 of the 19 positive blood samples found by microscopy. Sequencing revealed that the fragment was 97% similar to Babesia sp. 18S rRNA from Australian Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) confirming presence of the parasite. Parasite prevalence estimated by microscopy in adults and chicks was higher (24% vs. 23.3%, respectively) than found by semi-nested PCR (16% vs. 13.3% respectively). Although sampled penguins were apparently healthy, the effect of Babesia infection in these penguins is unknown. The identification of Babesia sp. in Antarctic penguins is an important finding. Ixodes uriae, as the only tick species present in the Antarctic Peninsula, is the key to understanding the natural history of this parasite. Future work should address the transmission dynamics and pathogenicity of Babesia sp. in Chinstrap penguin as well as in other penguin species, such as Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) and Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae), present within the tick distribution range in the Antarctic Peninsula.

  18. First record of Babesia sp. in Antarctic penguins.

    PubMed

    Montero, Estrella; González, Luis Miguel; Chaparro, Alberto; Benzal, Jesús; Bertellotti, Marcelo; Masero, José A; Colominas-Ciuró, Roger; Vidal, Virginia; Barbosa, Andrés

    2016-04-01

    This is the first reported case of Babesia sp. in Antarctic penguins, specifically a population of Chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica) in the Vapour Col penguin rookery in Deception Island, South Shetlands, Antarctica. We collected peripheral blood from 50 adult and 30 chick Chinstrap penguins. Examination of the samples by microscopy showed intraerythrocytic forms morphologically similar to other avian Babesia species in 12 Chinstrap penguin adults and seven chicks. The estimated parasitaemias ranged from 0.25×10(-2)% to 0.75×10(-2)%. Despite the low number of parasites found in blood smears, semi-nested PCR assays yielded a 274 bp fragment in 12 of the 19 positive blood samples found by microscopy. Sequencing revealed that the fragment was 97% similar to Babesia sp. 18S rRNA from Australian Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) confirming presence of the parasite. Parasite prevalence estimated by microscopy in adults and chicks was higher (24% vs. 23.3%, respectively) than found by semi-nested PCR (16% vs. 13.3% respectively). Although sampled penguins were apparently healthy, the effect of Babesia infection in these penguins is unknown. The identification of Babesia sp. in Antarctic penguins is an important finding. Ixodes uriae, as the only tick species present in the Antarctic Peninsula, is the key to understanding the natural history of this parasite. Future work should address the transmission dynamics and pathogenicity of Babesia sp. in Chinstrap penguin as well as in other penguin species, such as Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) and Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae), present within the tick distribution range in the Antarctic Peninsula. PMID:26874670

  19. NGST: Exploring the Fossil Record of Galaxy Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rich, R. Michael

    1998-01-01

    During this grant period the investigator has accomplished the following: developed and researched the science case for high resolution optical imaging with NGST (Next Generation Space Telescope); presented to the ASWG (Ad-Hoc Science Working Group) on the use of NGST to image and measure the proper motions of white dwarf stars that could account for the MACHO events toward the LMC (Large Magellanic Cloud); wrote proposals for the Design Reference Mission. Three proposals have been written on the following topics: Measuring the faint end of the white dwarf luminosity function to get an independent measure of the age of the oldest stars, measurement of the stellar luminosity function over the full range of age, abundance, and population type, and deep imaging of Local Group halos to measure the relative ages of the oldest stars in the Milky Way and other galaxies; he has introduced simulations of crowded field stellar photometry on a hypothetical population in the M31 halo. Using a physically correct luminosity function and a surface brightness of 24.5 mag/sq. arcsec, NGST imaging in 10 hours easily measures the turnoff and reaches 3 mags down the main sequence in the halo of M31; and has delivered talks at the NGST workshop in Liege, and at the meeting in Paris entitled "Connecting the Distant Universe with the Local Fossil Record".

  20. Dynamics of origination and extinction in the marine fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Alroy, John

    2008-01-01

    The discipline-wide effort to database the fossil record at the occurrence level has made it possible to estimate marine invertebrate extinction and origination rates with much greater accuracy. The new data show that two biotic mechanisms have hastened recoveries from mass extinctions and confined diversity to a relatively narrow range over the past 500 million years (Myr). First, a drop in diversity of any size correlates with low extinction rates immediately afterward, so much so that extinction would almost come to a halt if diversity dropped by 90%. Second, very high extinction rates are followed by equally high origination rates. The two relationships predict that the rebound from the current mass extinction will take at least 10 Myr, and perhaps 40 Myr if it rivals the Permo-Triassic catastrophe. Regardless, any large event will result in a dramatic ecological and taxonomic restructuring of the biosphere. The data also confirm that extinction and origination rates both declined through the Phanerozoic and that several extinctions in addition to the Permo-Triassic event were particularly severe. However, the trend may be driven by taxonomic biases and the rates vary in accord with a simple log normal distribution, so there is no sharp distinction between background and mass extinctions. Furthermore, the lack of any significant autocorrelation in the data is inconsistent with macroevolutionary theories of periodicity or self-organized criticality. PMID:18695240

  1. Micritic Peloids: Fossil Record of Biofilms Associated With Methane Seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shapiro, R. S.

    2006-12-01

    Biofilms of archaea and bacteria are found where reduced hydrocarbons seep upward to the seafloor. The process of oxidizing the methane coupled with the reduction of seawater sulfate increases the alkalinity in the localized area and promotes the precipitation of carbonate minerals. The biofilms and carbonate deposits are ubiquitous in the modern oceans and the geologic record of hydrocarbon seeps goes back well into the Paleozoic. However, the paleontologic record of the microbes responsible for the production of the carbonates is poorly constrained. The few examples comprise casts and molds of filaments and cocci, framboidal pyrite of assumed biological affinity, organic biomarkers (lipids, hopanoids), and microbialite. Volumetrically, these fossils are insignificant compared with the total bulk of seep carbonate. Research into Mesozoic and Cenozoic seep carbonates from California, Oregon, Colorado, and South Dakota has yielded a new recognition for ancient biofilms. Micrite—the most common lithotype of seeps globally—exists as both peloids and groundmass. Common peloids of micrite average 0.5 mm in diameter (range from 0.1 to 0.7 mm), incorporate some siliciclastic material, and have distinct margins. Opaque minerals, likely sulfides, occur throughout the peloids. The matrix surrounding the peloids is a similar micrite, though in some samples, the peloids are surrounded by cement. Diagenesis leads to blurring of the peloid margins until a homogenous micrite groundmass with scattered sulfide and siliciclastic grains results. Use of a white card helps to outline original peloids. Increased levels of diagenesis can lead to crystal coarsening and obliterate original textures. These peloids are likely fecal pellets. A second population of peloids occur that are smaller (0.05 to 0.10 mm), darker in color, and with more diffuse boundaries. There are generally no siliciclastic grains intermixed with these peloids. These peloids occur in millimeter-scale clusters and

  2. The fossil record and evolution: comparing cladistic and paleontologic evidence for vertebrate history.

    PubMed

    Norell, M A; Novacek, M J

    1992-03-27

    The fossil record offers the only direct evidence of extinct life and thus has figured prominently in considerations of evolutionary patterns. But the incomplete nature of the fossil record has also been emphasized in arguments that fossils play only a secondary role in the recovery of phylogenetic histories based on extant taxa. Although these criticisms recently have been countered, there is no general understanding of the correspondence between the fossil record and phylogeny. An empirical survey of recently published studies suggests no basis for assuming that the stratigraphic occurrence of fossils always provides a precise reflection of phylogeny. Nevertheless, our survey of a sample of taxa shows a tendency for positive correlation between age and clade rank and, hence, a degree of correspondence between phylogenetic pattern and the paleontologic record.

  3. The late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record of eastern Asia: synthesis and review.

    PubMed

    Bae, Christopher J

    2010-01-01

    Traditionally, Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils that cannot be allocated to Homo erectus sensu lato or modern H. sapiens have been assigned to different specific taxa. For example, in eastern Asia, these hominin fossils have been classified as archaic, early, or premodern H. sapiens. An increasing number of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils are currently being assigned to H. heidelbergensis. This is particularly the case for the African and European Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record. There have been suggestions that perhaps the eastern Asian late Middle Pleistocene hominins can also be allocated to the H. heidelbergensis hypodigm. In this article, I review the current state of the late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record from eastern Asia and examine the various arguments for assigning these hominins to the different specific taxa. The two primary conclusions drawn from this review are as follows: 1) little evidence currently exists in the eastern Asian Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record to support their assignment to H. heidelbergensis; and 2) rather than add to the growing list of hominin fossil taxa by using taxonomic names like H. daliensis for northeast Asian fossils and H. mabaensis for Southeast Asian fossils, it is better to err on the side of caution and continue to use the term archaic H. sapiens to represent all of these hominin fossils. What should be evident from this review is the need for an increase in the quality and quantity of the eastern Asian hominin fossil data set. Fortunately, with the increasing number of large-scale multidisciplinary paleoanthropological field and laboratory research projects in eastern Asia, the record is quickly becoming better understood.

  4. 'Citizen science' recording of fossils by adapting existing computer-based biodiversity recording tools

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGowan, Alistair

    2014-05-01

    Biodiversity recording activities have been greatly enhanced by the emergence of online schemes and smartphone applications for recording and sharing data about a wide variety of flora and fauna. As a palaeobiologist, one of the areas of research I have been heavily involved in is the question of whether the amount of rock available to sample acts as a bias on our estimates of biodiversity through time. Although great progress has been made on this question over the past ten years by a number of researchers, I still think palaeontology has not followed the lead offered by the 'citizen science' revolution in studies of extant biodiversity. By constructing clearly structured surveys with online data collection support, it should be possible to collect field data on the occurrence of fossils at the scale of individual exposures, which are needed to test competing hypotheses about these effects at relatively small spatial scales. Such data collection would be hard to justify for universities and museums with limited personnel but a co-ordinated citizen science programme would be capable of delivering such a programme. Data collection could be based on the MacKinnon's Lists method, used in rapid conservation assessment work. It relies on observers collecting lists of a fixed length (e.g. 10 species long) but what is important is that it focuses on getting observers to ignore sightings of the same species until that list is complete. This overcomes the problem of 'common taxa being commonly recorded' and encourages observers to seek out and identify the rarer taxa. This gives a targeted but finite task. Rather than removing fossils, participants would be encouraged to take photographs to share via a recording website. The success of iSpot, which allows users to upload photos of plants and animals for other users to help with identifications, offers a model for overcoming the problems of identifying fossils, which can often look nothing like the examples illustrated in

  5. New Palaeogene horntail wasps (Hymenoptera, Siricidae) and a discussion of their fossil record.

    PubMed

    Wedmann, Sonja; Pouillon, Jean-Marc; Nel, André

    2014-09-29

    The phylogenetic placement of siricid hymenopterans and especially the relationships among Siricidae are not resolved, and are in need of further investigation. The fossil record helps to illuminate the evolutionary history of this group. In this paper, Xoanon? eocenicus sp. nov. is newly described from the Eocene Fossillagerstätte Grube Messel (Germany). Although several characters of the wing venation of this fossil are similar to the extant genus Xoanon, there remain some doubts concerning the generic placement. A newly found fossil is attributed to Urocerus ligniticus (Piton, 1940) from the Paloecene Fossillagerstätte Menat (France) and provides more morphological information on this species. An overview of the fossil record of Siricidae in the strict sense is given and the state of knowledge on the different fossils is reviewed.

  6. Integrating developmental biology and the fossil record of reptiles.

    PubMed

    Skawiński, Tomasz; Tałanda, Mateusz

    2014-01-01

    Numerous new discoveries and new research techniques have influenced our understanding of reptile development from a palaeontological perspective. They suggest for example that transition from mineralized to leathery eggshells and from oviparity to viviparity appeared much more often in the evolution of reptiles than was previously thought. Most marine reptiles evolved from viviparous terrestrial ancestors and had probably genetic sex determination. Fossil forms often display developmental traits absent or rare among modern ones such as polydactyly, hyperphalangy, the presence of ribcage armour, reduction of head ornamentation during ontogeny, extreme modifications of vertebral count or a wide range of feather-like structures. Thus, they provide an empirical background for many morphogenetic considerations.

  7. Contemporaneous trace and body fossils from a late Pleistocene Lakebed in Victoria, Australia, allow assessment of bias in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Camens, Aaron Bruce; Carey, Stephen Paul

    2013-01-01

    The co-occurrence of vertebrate trace and body fossils within a single geological formation is rare and the probability of these parallel records being contemporaneous (i.e. on or near the same bedding plane) is extremely low. We report here a late Pleistocene locality from the Victorian Volcanic Plains in south-eastern Australia in which demonstrably contemporaneous, but independently accumulated vertebrate trace and body fossils occur. Bite marks from a variety of taxa are also present on the bones. This site provides a unique opportunity to examine the biases of these divergent fossil records (skeletal, footprints and bite marks) that sampled a single fauna. The skeletal record produced the most complete fauna, with the footprint record indicating a markedly different faunal composition with less diversity and the feeding traces suggesting the presence, amongst others, of a predator not represented by either the skeletal or footprint records. We found that the large extinct marsupial predator Thylacoleo was the only taxon apparently represented by all three records, suggesting that the behavioral characteristics of large carnivores may increase the likelihood of their presence being detected within a fossil fauna. In contrast, Diprotodon (the largest-ever marsupial) was represented only by trace fossils at this site and was absent from the site's skeletal record, despite its being a common and easily detected presence in late Pleistocene skeletal fossil faunas elsewhere in Australia. Small mammals absent from the footprint record for the site were represented by skeletal fossils and bite marks on bones.

  8. Contemporaneous Trace and Body Fossils from a Late Pleistocene Lakebed in Victoria, Australia, Allow Assessment of Bias in the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Camens, Aaron Bruce; Carey, Stephen Paul

    2013-01-01

    The co-occurrence of vertebrate trace and body fossils within a single geological formation is rare and the probability of these parallel records being contemporaneous (i.e. on or near the same bedding plane) is extremely low. We report here a late Pleistocene locality from the Victorian Volcanic Plains in south-eastern Australia in which demonstrably contemporaneous, but independently accumulated vertebrate trace and body fossils occur. Bite marks from a variety of taxa are also present on the bones. This site provides a unique opportunity to examine the biases of these divergent fossil records (skeletal, footprints and bite marks) that sampled a single fauna. The skeletal record produced the most complete fauna, with the footprint record indicating a markedly different faunal composition with less diversity and the feeding traces suggesting the presence, amongst others, of a predator not represented by either the skeletal or footprint records. We found that the large extinct marsupial predator Thylacoleo was the only taxon apparently represented by all three records, suggesting that the behavioral characteristics of large carnivores may increase the likelihood of their presence being detected within a fossil fauna. In contrast, Diprotodon (the largest-ever marsupial) was represented only by trace fossils at this site and was absent from the site's skeletal record, despite its being a common and easily detected presence in late Pleistocene skeletal fossil faunas elsewhere in Australia. Small mammals absent from the footprint record for the site were represented by skeletal fossils and bite marks on bones. PMID:23301008

  9. Holocene melt-water variations recorded in Antarctic coastal marine benthic assemblages

    SciTech Connect

    Berkman, P.A.

    1992-03-01

    Climate changes can influence the input of meltwater from the polar ice sheets. In Antarctica, signatures of meltwater input during the Holocene may be recorded in the benthic fossils which exist at similar altitudes above sea level in emerged beaches around the continent Interpreting the fossils as meltwater proxy records would be enhanced by understanding the modern ecology of the species in adjacent marine environments. Characteristics of an extant scallop assemblage in West McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, have been evaluated across a summer meltwater gradient to provide examples of meltwater records that may be contained in proximal scallop fossils. Integrating environmental proxies from coastal benthic assemblages around Antarctica, over ecological and geological time scales, is a necessary step in evaluating the marginal responses of the ice sheets to climate changes during the Holocene.

  10. Crustaceans from bitumen clast in Carboniferous glacial diamictite extend fossil record of copepods.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Huys, Rony; Stephenson, Michael H; Heward, Alan P; Taylor, Paul N

    2010-08-10

    Copepod crustaceans are extremely abundant but, because of their small size and fragility, they fossilize poorly. Their fossil record consists of one Cretaceous (c. 115 Ma) parasite and a few Miocene (c. 14 Ma) fossils. In this paper, we describe abundant crustacean fragments, including copepods, from a single bitumen clast in a glacial diamictite of late Carboniferous age (c. 303 Ma) from eastern Oman. Geochemistry identifies the source of the bitumen as an oilfield some 100-300 km to the southwest, which is consistent with an ice flow direction from glacial striae. The bitumen likely originated as an oil seep into a subglacial lake. This find extends the fossil record of copepods by some 188 Ma, and of free-living forms by 289 Ma. The copepods include evidence of the extant family Canthocamptidae, believed to have colonized fresh water in Pangaea during Carboniferous times.

  11. Gaps in the Rock and Fossil Records and Implications for the Rate and Mode of Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smith, Grant Sackett

    1988-01-01

    Examines three types of gaps in the fossil record: real gaps, imaginary gaps, and temporary gaps. Reviews some recent evidence concerning evolution from the paleontological record of microfossils, invertebrates, and vertebrates in order to make some general conclusions regarding the manner in which life evolved on earth. (CW)

  12. Assessing the fidelity of the fossil record by using marine bivalves

    PubMed Central

    Valentine, James W.; Jablonski, David; Kidwell, Susan; Roy, Kaustuv

    2006-01-01

    Taxa that fail to become incorporated into the fossil record can reveal much about the biases of this record and provide the information needed to correct such biases in empirical analyses of the history of life. Yet little is known about the characteristics of taxa missing from the fossil record. For the marine Bivalvia, which have become a model system for macroevolutionary and macroecological analysis in the fossil record, 308 of the 1,292 living genera and subgenera (herein termed “taxa”) are not recorded as fossils. These missing taxa are not a random sample of the clade, but instead tend to have small body size, reactive shell structures, commensal or parasitic habit, deep-sea distribution, narrow geographic range, restriction to regions exposing few Neogene marine sediments, or recent date of formal taxonomic description in the neontological literature. Most missing taxa show two or more of these features and tend to be concentrated in particular families. When we exclude the smallest taxa (<1 cm) and deep-sea endemics, date of published description and geographic range become the strongest predictors of the missing taxa; other factors are statistically insignificant or have relatively small effects. These biases might influence a variety of analyses including the use of fossil data in support of phylogenetic analyses, molecular clock calibrations, and analyses of spatial and temporal dynamics of clades and biotas. Clade inventories such as these can be used to develop protocols that minimize the biases imposed by sampling and preservation. PMID:16617108

  13. Discriminating signal from noise in the fossil record of early vertebrates reveals cryptic evolutionary history.

    PubMed

    Sansom, Robert S; Randle, Emma; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2015-02-01

    The fossil record of early vertebrates has been influential in elucidating the evolutionary assembly of the gnathostome bodyplan. Understanding of the timing and tempo of vertebrate innovations remains, however, mired in a literal reading of the fossil record. Early jawless vertebrates (ostracoderms) exhibit restriction to shallow-water environments. The distribution of their stratigraphic occurrences therefore reflects not only flux in diversity, but also secular variation in facies representation of the rock record. Using stratigraphic, phylogenetic and palaeoenvironmental data, we assessed the veracity of the fossil records of the jawless relatives of jawed vertebrates (Osteostraci, Galeaspida, Thelodonti, Heterostraci). Non-random models of fossil recovery potential using Palaeozoic sea-level changes were used to calculate confidence intervals of clade origins. These intervals extend the timescale for possible origins into the Upper Ordovician; these estimates ameliorate the long ghost lineages inferred for Osteostraci, Galeaspida and Heterostraci, given their known stratigraphic occurrences and stem-gnathostome phylogeny. Diversity changes through the Silurian and Devonian were found to lie within the expected limits predicted from estimates of fossil record quality indicating that it is geological, rather than biological factors, that are responsible for shifts in diversity. Environmental restriction also appears to belie ostracoderm extinction and demise rather than competition with jawed vertebrates.

  14. Discriminating signal from noise in the fossil record of early vertebrates reveals cryptic evolutionary history

    PubMed Central

    Sansom, Robert S.; Randle, Emma; Donoghue, Philip C. J.

    2015-01-01

    The fossil record of early vertebrates has been influential in elucidating the evolutionary assembly of the gnathostome bodyplan. Understanding of the timing and tempo of vertebrate innovations remains, however, mired in a literal reading of the fossil record. Early jawless vertebrates (ostracoderms) exhibit restriction to shallow-water environments. The distribution of their stratigraphic occurrences therefore reflects not only flux in diversity, but also secular variation in facies representation of the rock record. Using stratigraphic, phylogenetic and palaeoenvironmental data, we assessed the veracity of the fossil records of the jawless relatives of jawed vertebrates (Osteostraci, Galeaspida, Thelodonti, Heterostraci). Non-random models of fossil recovery potential using Palaeozoic sea-level changes were used to calculate confidence intervals of clade origins. These intervals extend the timescale for possible origins into the Upper Ordovician; these estimates ameliorate the long ghost lineages inferred for Osteostraci, Galeaspida and Heterostraci, given their known stratigraphic occurrences and stem–gnathostome phylogeny. Diversity changes through the Silurian and Devonian were found to lie within the expected limits predicted from estimates of fossil record quality indicating that it is geological, rather than biological factors, that are responsible for shifts in diversity. Environmental restriction also appears to belie ostracoderm extinction and demise rather than competition with jawed vertebrates. PMID:25520359

  15. Methods for the quantitative comparison of molecular estimates of clade age and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Julia A; Boyd, Clint A

    2015-01-01

    Approaches quantifying the relative congruence, or incongruence, of molecular divergence estimates and the fossil record have been limited. Previously proposed methods are largely node specific, assessing incongruence at particular nodes for which both fossil data and molecular divergence estimates are available. These existing metrics, and other methods that quantify incongruence across topologies including entirely extinct clades, have so far not taken into account uncertainty surrounding both the divergence estimates and the ages of fossils. They have also treated molecular divergence estimates younger than previously assessed fossil minimum estimates of clade age as if they were the same as cases in which they were older. However, these cases are not the same. Recovered divergence dates younger than compared oldest known occurrences require prior hypotheses regarding the phylogenetic position of the compared fossil record and standard assumptions about the relative timing of morphological and molecular change to be incorrect. Older molecular dates, by contrast, are consistent with an incomplete fossil record and do not require prior assessments of the fossil record to be unreliable in some way. Here, we compare previous approaches and introduce two new descriptive metrics. Both metrics explicitly incorporate information on uncertainty by utilizing the 95% confidence intervals on estimated divergence dates and data on stratigraphic uncertainty concerning the age of the compared fossils. Metric scores are maximized when these ranges are overlapping. MDI (minimum divergence incongruence) discriminates between situations where molecular estimates are younger or older than known fossils reporting both absolute fit values and a number score for incompatible nodes. DIG range (divergence implied gap range) allows quantification of the minimum increase in implied missing fossil record induced by enforcing a given set of molecular-based estimates. These metrics are used

  16. Expression of the bipolar see-saw in Antarctic climate records during the last deglaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stenni, B.; Buiron, D.; Frezzotti, M.; Albani, S.; Barbante, C.; Bard, E.; Barnola, J. M.; Baroni, M.; Baumgartner, M.; Bonazza, M.; Capron, E.; Castellano, E.; Chappellaz, J.; Delmonte, B.; Falourd, S.; Genoni, L.; Iacumin, P.; Jouzel, J.; Kipfstuhl, S.; Landais, A.; Lemieux-Dudon, B.; Maggi, V.; Masson-Delmotte, V.; Mazzola, C.; Minster, B.; Montagnat, M.; Mulvaney, R.; Narcisi, B.; Oerter, H.; Parrenin, F.; Petit, J. R.; Ritz, C.; Scarchilli, C.; Schilt, A.; Schüpbach, S.; Schwander, J.; Selmo, E.; Severi, M.; Stocker, T. F.; Udisti, R.

    2011-01-01

    Ice-core records of climate from Greenland and Antarctica show asynchronous temperature variations on millennial timescales during the last glacial period. The warming during the transition from glacial to interglacial conditions was markedly different between the hemispheres, a pattern attributed to the thermal bipolar see-saw. However, a record from the Ross Sea sector of East Antarctica has been suggested to be synchronous with Northern Hemisphere climate change. Here we present a temperature record from the Talos Dome ice core, also located in the Ross Sea sector. We compare our record with ice-core analyses from Greenland, based on methane synchronization, and find clearly asynchronous temperature changes during the deglaciation. We also find distinct differences in Antarctic records, pointing to differences in the climate evolution of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic sectors of Antarctica. In the Atlantic sector, we find that the rate of warming slowed between 16,000 and 14,500years ago, parallel with the deceleration of the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and with a slight cooling over Greenland. In addition, our chronology supports the hypothesis that the cooling of the Antarctic Cold Reversal is synchronous with the Bølling-Allerød warming in the northern hemisphere 14,700years ago.

  17. The fossil record of evolution: Analysis of extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1986-01-01

    There is increasing evidence that events in space have had direct effects on Earth history and on the history of life on Earth. Nowhere is this more evident than in mass extinction. The biosphere has undergone repeated devastation caused by relatively short-lived environmental stress, with species kill rates up to 80 and 95%. For five of the mass extinctions, geochemical or other evidence was reported suggesting large body impact as the cause of the environmental stress producing the extinctions. It was argued on statistical ground that the major extinction events are uniformly periodic in geological time. If it is true that large body impact is a principal cause of mass extinctions and if the periodicity is real, than a cosmic driving mechanism is inescapable. Paleontological data sets were developed which detail the ranges in geological time of about 4,000 families and 25,000 genera of fossil marine organisms. Analyses to date have concentrated on the most recent 250 million years. Associated with these studies are analyses of other aspects of Earth history which may have signatures indicative of extraterrestrial effects.

  18. Completeness of the fossil record: Estimating losses due to small body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, Roger A.; Maxwell, Phillip A.; Crampton, James S.; Beu, Alan G.; Jones, Craig M.; Marshall, Bruce A.

    2006-04-01

    Size bias in the fossil record limits its use for interpreting patterns of past biodiversity and ecological change. Using comparative size frequency distributions of exceptionally good regional records of New Zealand Holocene and Cenozoic Mollusca in museum archive collections, we derive first-order estimates of the magnitude of the bias against small body size and the effect of this bias on completeness of the fossil record. Our database of 3907 fossil species represents an original living pool of 9086 species, from which ˜36% have been removed by size culling, 27% from the smallest size class (<5 mm). In contrast, non-size-related losses compose only 21% of the total. In soft rocks, the loss of small taxa can be reduced by nearly 50% through the employment of exhaustive collection and preparation techniques.

  19. 30-Year Satellite Record Reveals Contrasting Arctic and Antarctic Decadal Sea Ice Variability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cavalieri, D. J.; Parkinson, C. L.; Vinnikov, K. Y.

    2003-01-01

    A 30-year satellite record of sea ice extents derived mostly from satellite microwave radiometer observations reveals that the Arctic sea ice extent decreased by 0.30+0.03 x 10(exp 6) square kilometers per 10 yr from 1972 through 2002, but by 0.36 plus or minus 0.05 x 10(exp 6) square kilometers per 10yr from 1979 through 2002, indicating an acceleration of 20% in the rate of decrease. In contrast, the Antarctic sea ice extent decreased dramatically over the period 1973-1977, then gradually increased. Over the full 30-year period, the Antarctic ice extent decreased by 0.15 plus or minus 0.08 x 10(exp 6) square kilometers per 10 yr. The trend reversal is attributed to a large positive anomaly in Antarctic sea ice extent in the early 1970's, an anomaly that apparently began in the late 1960's, as observed in early visible and infrared satellite images.

  20. Experimental analysis of decay biases in the fossil record of lobopodians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murdock, Duncan; Gabbott, Sarah; Purnell, Mark

    2016-04-01

    If fossils are to realize their full potential in reconstructing the tree of life we must understand how our view of ancient organisms is obscured by taphonomic filters of decay and preservation. In most cases, processes of decay will leave behind either nothing or only the most decay resistant body parts, and even in those rare instances where soft tissues are fossilized we cannot assume that the resulting fossil, however exquisite, represents a faithful anatomical representation of the animal as it was in life.Recent experiments have shown that the biases introduced by decay can be far from random; in chordates, for example, the most phylogenetically informative characters are also the most decay-prone, resulting in 'stemward slippage'. But how widespread is this phenomenon, and are there other non-random biases linked to decay? Intuitively, we make assumptions about the likelihood of different kinds of characters to survive and be preserved, with knock-on effects for anatomical and phylogenetic interpretations. To what extent are these assumptions valid? We combine our understanding of the fossil record of lobopodians with insights from decay experiments of modern onychophorans (velvet worms) to test these assumptions. Our analysis demonstrates that taphonomically informed tests of character interpretations have the potential to improve phylogenetic resolution. This approach is widely applicable to the fossil record - allowing us to ground-truth some of the assumptions involved in describing exceptionally preserved fossil material.

  1. Halogen species record Antarctic sea ice extent over glacial-interglacial periods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spolaor, A.; Vallelonga, P.; Plane, J. M. C.; Kehrwald, N.; Gabrieli, J.; Varin, C.; Turetta, C.; Cozzi, G.; Kumar, R.; Boutron, C.; Barbante, C.

    2013-07-01

    Sea ice is an integral part of the earth's climate system because it affects planetary albedo, sea-surface salinity, and the atmosphere-ocean exchange of reactive gases and aerosols. Bromine and iodine chemistry is active at polar sea ice margins with the occurrence of bromine explosions and the biological production of organoiodine from sea ice algae. Satellite measurements demonstrate that concentrations of bromine oxide (BrO) and iodine oxide (IO) decrease over sea ice toward the Antarctic interior. Here we present speciation measurements of bromine and iodine in the TALDICE (TALos Dome Ice CorE) ice core (159°11' E, 72°49' S; 2315 m a.s.l.) spanning the last 215 ky. The Talos Dome ice core is located 250 km inland and is sensitive to marine air masses intruding onto the Antarctic Plateau. Talos Dome bromide (Br-) is positively correlated with temperature and negatively correlated with sodium (Na). Based on the Br-/Na seawater ratio, bromide is depleted in the ice during glacial periods and enriched during interglacial periods. Total iodine, consisting of iodide (I-) and iodate (IO3-), peaks during glacials with lower values during interglacial periods. Although IO3- is considered the most stable iodine species in the atmosphere it was only observed in the TALDICE record during glacial maxima. Sea ice dynamics are arguably the primary driver of halogen fluxes over glacial-interglacial timescales, by altering the distance between the sea ice edge and the Antarctic plateau and by altering the surface area of sea ice available to algal colonization. Based on our results we propose the use of both halogens for examining Antarctic variability of past sea ice extent.

  2. Halogen species record Antarctic sea ice extent over glacial-interglacial periods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spolaor, A.; Vallelonga, P.; Plane, J. M. C.; Kehrwald, N.; Gabrieli, J.; Varin, C.; Turetta, C.; Cozzi, G.; Boutron, C.; Barbante, C.

    2013-02-01

    Sea ice is an integral part of the Earth's climate system because it affects planetary albedo, sea surface salinity, and the atmosphere-ocean exchange of reactive gases and aerosols. Bromine and iodine chemistry is active at polar sea ice margins with the occurrence of bromine explosions and the biological production of organo-iodine from sea ice algae. Satellite measurements demonstrate that concentrations of bromine oxide (BrO) and iodine oxide (IO) decrease over sea ice toward the Antarctic interior. Here we present speciation measurements of bromine and iodine in the TALDICE (TALos Dome Ice CorE) ice core (159°11' E, 72°49' S, 2315 m a.s.l.) spanning the last 215 ky. The Talos Dome ice core is located 250 km inland and is sensitive to marine air masses intruding onto the Antarctic Plateau. Talos Dome bromide (Br-) is positively correlated with temperature and negatively correlated with sodium (Na). Based on the Br-/Na seawater ratio, bromide is depleted in the ice during glacial periods and enriched during interglacial periods. Total iodine, consisting of iodide (I-) and iodate (IO3-), peaks during glacials with lower values during interglacial periods. Although IO3- is considered the most stable iodine species in the atmosphere it was only observed in the TALDICE record during glacial maxima. Sea ice dynamics are arguably the primary driver of halogen fluxes over glacial-interglacial timescales, by altering the distance between the sea ice edge and the Antarctic plateau and by altering the surface area of sea ice available to algal colonization. Based on our results we propose the use of both halogens for examining Antarctic variability of past sea ice extent.

  3. Upper Pliocene Diatom Record From Northern Basin, Ross Sea; Potential Correlation to Other Antarctic Continental Shelf Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sjunneskog, C.; Bart, P.; Chow, J.; Winter, D.; Scherer, R.; Andrill Mis Project Science Team

    2007-12-01

    The Northern Basin seismic record suggests a dynamic East Antarctic Ice Sheet with at least eight Late Neogene glacial expansions. The seismic-stratigraphic record indicates relatively thick late Neogene sequences on the outer continental shelf and upper slope and possibly undisturbed interglacial sequences. In 2003 Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP03-01) collected 10 piston and jumbo piston cores in a depth transect from Mawson Bank to Drygalski Basin. The sediment cores range from 46 cm to over 4 meters in length, only recovering the surface of upper seismic unit. The lithologies of the cores include diatom mud, bioclastic sediment, silt, sand, clay and diamicton. Diatom analyses reveals that two of these cores, NBP03-01 PC2 and NBP03-01 PC8, have penetrated into undisturbed Upper Pliocene sequences. Upper Pliocene diatomaceous units are also recovered in Prydz Bay ODP sites 742 age ca. 1.8-2.2 Ma, and 1166 ages ca 1.8-2.2 and 2.5-2.8, sandwiched between diamictons. Recovery of Pliocene and Pleistocene sediment records of interglacial events is rare on the Antarctic continental shelf and the obtained records have been difficult to correlate with any certainty. With the recent recovery of the ANDRILL MIS (AND-1 core) the potential for correlation of these records has improved significantly. The sediment record from ANDRILL MIS comprises 13 diatomaceous units, all with their own specific diatom assemblage and key species. Comparison of diatom assemblages using key taxa and PCA show a strong correlation between Northern Basin PC2 and PC8, ODP Site 742 and MIS diatom unit IV placed at the Gauss-Matuyama boundary. Continued multiproxy analyses and independent dating will be performed to further constrain the correlation. The initial results have implications for regional correlation of interglacial events, and suggest that other Pliocene sediment records may be preserved in the Northern Basin region.

  4. Phanerozoic marine biodiversity dynamics in light of the incompleteness of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Lu, Peter J; Yogo, Motohiro; Marshall, Charles R

    2006-02-21

    Long-term evolutionary dynamics have been approached through quantitative analysis of the fossil record, but without explicitly taking its incompleteness into account. Here we explore the temporal covariance structure of per-genus origination and extinction rates for global marine fossil genera throughout the Phanerozoic, both before and after corrections for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Using uncorrected data based on Sepkoski's compendium, we find significant autocovariance within origination and extinction rates, as well as covariance between extinction and origination, not one, but two, intervals later, corroborating evidence for the unexplained temporal gap found by past studies. However, these effects vanish when the data are corrected for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Instead, we observe significant covariance only between extinction and origination in the immediately following intervals. The gap in the response of the biosphere to extinction in the uncorrected fossil record thus appears to be an artifact of the incompleteness of the fossil record, specifically due to episodic variation in the probability that taxa will be preserved, on time scales comparable to the temporal resolution of Sepkoski's data. Our results also indicate that at that temporal resolution (the stage/substage of duration approximately = 5 million years), changes in origination and extinction do not persist for longer than one interval, except that elevated origination rates immediately after extinction may last for more than a single interval. Thus, although certain individual cases may deviate from the overall pattern, we find that in general the biosphere's response to perturbation is immediate geologically and usually short-lived. PMID:16477008

  5. Phanerozoic marine biodiversity dynamics in light of the incompleteness of the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Peter J.; Yogo, Motohiro; Marshall, Charles R.

    2006-01-01

    Long-term evolutionary dynamics have been approached through quantitative analysis of the fossil record, but without explicitly taking its incompleteness into account. Here we explore the temporal covariance structure of per-genus origination and extinction rates for global marine fossil genera throughout the Phanerozoic, both before and after corrections for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Using uncorrected data based on Sepkoski’s compendium, we find significant autocovariance within origination and extinction rates, as well as covariance between extinction and origination, not one, but two, intervals later, corroborating evidence for the unexplained temporal gap found by past studies. However, these effects vanish when the data are corrected for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Instead, we observe significant covariance only between extinction and origination in the immediately following intervals. The gap in the response of the biosphere to extinction in the uncorrected fossil record thus appears to be an artifact of the incompleteness of the fossil record, specifically due to episodic variation in the probability that taxa will be preserved, on time scales comparable to the temporal resolution of Sepkoski’s data. Our results also indicate that at that temporal resolution (the stage/substage of duration ≈5 million years), changes in origination and extinction do not persist for longer than one interval, except that elevated origination rates immediately after extinction may last for more than a single interval. Thus, although certain individual cases may deviate from the overall pattern, we find that in general the biosphere’s response to perturbation is immediate geologically and usually short-lived. PMID:16477008

  6. Impact theory of mass extinctions and the invertebrate fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, W.; Kauffman, E.G.; Surlyk, F.; Alvarez, L.W.; Asaro, F.; Michel, H.V.

    1984-03-16

    There is much evidence that the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary was marked by a massive meteorite impact. Theoretical consideration of the consequences of such an impact predicts sharp extinctions in many groups of animals precisely at the boundary. Paleontological data clearly show gradual declines in diversity over the last 1 to 10 million years in various invertebrate groups. Reexamination of data from careful studies of the best sections shows that, in addition to undergoing the decline, four groups (ammonites, cheilostomate bryozoans, brachiopods, and bivalves) were affected by sudden truncations precisely at the iridium anomaly that marks the boundary. The paleontological record thus bears witness to terminal-Cretaceous extinctions on two time scales: a slow decline unrelated to the impact and a sharp truncation synchronous with and probably caused by the impact. 50 references, 4 figures.

  7. Extant-only comparative methods fail to recover the disparity preserved in the bird fossil record.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Jonathan S

    2015-09-01

    Most extant species are in clades with poor fossil records, and recent studies of comparative methods show they have low power to infer even highly simplified models of trait evolution without fossil data. Birds are a well-studied radiation, yet their early evolutionary patterns are still contentious. The fossil record suggests that birds underwent a rapid ecological radiation after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and several smaller, subsequent radiations. This hypothesized series of repeated radiations from fossil data is difficult to test using extant data alone. By uniting morphological and phylogenetic data on 604 extant genera of birds with morphological data on 58 species of extinct birds from 50 million years ago, the "halfway point" of avian evolution, I have been able to test how well extant-only methods predict the diversity of fossil forms. All extant-only methods underestimate the disparity, although the ratio of within- to between-clade disparity does suggest high early rates. The failure of standard models to predict high early disparity suggests that recent radiations are obscuring deep time patterns in the evolution of birds. Metrics from different models can be used in conjunction to provide more valuable insights than simply finding the model with the highest relative fit.

  8. Ancient DNA sheds new light on the Svalbard foraminiferal fossil record of the last millennium.

    PubMed

    Pawłowska, J; Lejzerowicz, F; Esling, P; Szczuciński, W; Zajączkowski, M; Pawlowski, J

    2014-07-01

    Recent palaeogenetic studies have demonstrated the occurrence of preserved ancient DNA (aDNA) in various types of fossilised material. Environmental aDNA sequences assigned to modern species have been recovered from marine sediments dating to the Pleistocene. However, the match between the aDNA and the fossil record still needs to be evaluated for the environmental DNA approaches to be fully exploited. Here, we focus on foraminifera in sediments up to one thousand years old retrieved from the Hornsund fjord (Svalbard). We compared the diversity of foraminiferal microfossil assemblages with the diversity of aDNA sequenced from subsurface sediment samples using both cloning and high-throughput sequencing (HTS). Our study shows that 57% of the species archived in the fossil record were also detected in the aDNA data. However, the relative abundance of aDNA sequence reads and fossil specimens differed considerably. We also found a limited match between the stratigraphic occurrence of some fossil species and their aDNA sequences, especially in the case of rare taxa. The aDNA data comprised a high proportion of non-fossilised monothalamous species, which are known to dominate in modern foraminiferal communities of the Svalbard region. Our results confirm the relevance of HTS for studying past micro-eukaryotic diversity and provide insight into its ability to reflect fossil assemblages. Palaeogenetic studies including aDNA analyses of non-fossilised groups expand the range of palaeoceanographical proxies and therefore may increase the accuracy of palaeoenvironmental reconstructions.

  9. The avian fossil record in Insular Southeast Asia and its implications for avian biogeography and palaeoecology.

    PubMed

    Meijer, Hanneke J M

    2014-01-01

    Excavations and studies of existing collections during the last decades have significantly increased the abundance as well as the diversity of the avian fossil record for Insular Southeast Asia. The avian fossil record covers the Eocene through the Holocene, with the majority of bird fossils Pleistocene in age. Fossil bird skeletal remains represent at least 63 species in 54 genera and 27 families, and two ichnospecies are represented by fossil footprints. Birds of prey, owls and swiftlets are common elements. Extinctions seem to have been few, suggesting continuity of avian lineages since at least the Late Pleistocene, although some shifts in species ranges have occurred in response to climatic change. Similarities between the Late Pleistocene avifaunas of Flores and Java suggest a dispersal route across southern Sundaland. Late Pleistocene assemblages of Niah Cave (Borneo) and Liang Bua (Flores) support the rainforest refugium hypothesis in Southeast Asia as they indicate the persistence of forest cover, at least locally, throughout the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. PMID:24688871

  10. The avian fossil record in Insular Southeast Asia and its implications for avian biogeography and palaeoecology

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Excavations and studies of existing collections during the last decades have significantly increased the abundance as well as the diversity of the avian fossil record for Insular Southeast Asia. The avian fossil record covers the Eocene through the Holocene, with the majority of bird fossils Pleistocene in age. Fossil bird skeletal remains represent at least 63 species in 54 genera and 27 families, and two ichnospecies are represented by fossil footprints. Birds of prey, owls and swiftlets are common elements. Extinctions seem to have been few, suggesting continuity of avian lineages since at least the Late Pleistocene, although some shifts in species ranges have occurred in response to climatic change. Similarities between the Late Pleistocene avifaunas of Flores and Java suggest a dispersal route across southern Sundaland. Late Pleistocene assemblages of Niah Cave (Borneo) and Liang Bua (Flores) support the rainforest refugium hypothesis in Southeast Asia as they indicate the persistence of forest cover, at least locally, throughout the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. PMID:24688871

  11. Extant-only comparative methods fail to recover the disparity preserved in the bird fossil record.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Jonathan S

    2015-09-01

    Most extant species are in clades with poor fossil records, and recent studies of comparative methods show they have low power to infer even highly simplified models of trait evolution without fossil data. Birds are a well-studied radiation, yet their early evolutionary patterns are still contentious. The fossil record suggests that birds underwent a rapid ecological radiation after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and several smaller, subsequent radiations. This hypothesized series of repeated radiations from fossil data is difficult to test using extant data alone. By uniting morphological and phylogenetic data on 604 extant genera of birds with morphological data on 58 species of extinct birds from 50 million years ago, the "halfway point" of avian evolution, I have been able to test how well extant-only methods predict the diversity of fossil forms. All extant-only methods underestimate the disparity, although the ratio of within- to between-clade disparity does suggest high early rates. The failure of standard models to predict high early disparity suggests that recent radiations are obscuring deep time patterns in the evolution of birds. Metrics from different models can be used in conjunction to provide more valuable insights than simply finding the model with the highest relative fit. PMID:26257156

  12. Patagonian and Antarctic dust as recorded in the sediments of Laguna Potrok Aike (Patagonia, Argentina)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haberzettl, Torsten; Stopp, Annemarie; Lisé-Pronovost, Agathe; Gebhardt, Catalina; Ohlendorf, Christian; Zolitschka, Bernd; von Eynatten, Hilmar; Kleinhanns, Ilka; Pasado Science Team

    2010-05-01

    Although an increasing number of terrestrial paleoclimatic records from southern South America has been published during the last decade, these archives mostly cover the Lateglacial and/or the Holocene. Only little is known about the Patagonian climate before the Last Glacial Maximum. Here, we present a continuous, high-resolution magnetic susceptibility record for the past 48 ka from the maar lake Laguna Potrok Aike (51°58' S, 70°23' W, southern Patagonia, Argentina). Magnetic susceptibility serves as an excellent parameter for the parallelization of sediment cores all over Laguna Potrok Aike including sediment cores taken within the ICDP (International Continental Scientific Drilling Program) project PASADO (Potrok Aike maar lake Sediment Archive Drilling prOject). Additionally, magnetic susceptibility is assumed to be a proxy for dust deposition in this lake. Distinct similarities were found between the independently dated magnetic susceptibility record from Laguna Potrok Aike and the non-sea-salt calcium (nss-Ca) flux from the EPICA Dome C ice core record (75°06'S, 123°24'E) the latter being a proxy for mineral dust deposition in Antarctica [1]. Comparison of the two records and variations in grain size of the Laguna Potrok Aike sediment records indicate a relatively high aeolian activity in southern South America during the glacial period. During the Holocene climatic conditions driving sediment deposition seem to have been more variable and less dominated by wind compared to glacial times. Although the source of the dust found in Antarctic ice cores often has been attributed to Patagonia [2], we present the first evidence for contemporaneity of aeolian deposition in both the target area (Antarctica) and the major source area (Patagonia). Considering the similarities of the two records, magnetic susceptibility might yield the potential for chronological information: transfer of the ice core age model to a lacustrine sediment record. This would be important

  13. Early Life on Earth: the Ancient Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Westall, F.

    2004-07-01

    The evidence for early life and its initial evolution on Earth is lin= ked intimately with the geological evolution of the early Earth. The environment of the early Earth would be considered extreme by modern standards: hot (50-80=B0C), volcanically and hydrothermally active, a= noxic, high UV flux, and a high flux of extraterrestrial impacts. Habitats = for life were more limited until continent-building processes resulted in= the formation of stable cratons with wide, shallow, continental platforms= in the Mid-Late Archaean. Unfortunately there are no records of the first appearance of life and the earliest isotopic indications of the exist= ence of organisms fractionating carbon in ~3.8 Ga rocks from the Isua greenst= one belt in Greenland are tenuous. Well-preserved microfossils and micro= bial mats (in the form of tabular and domical stromatolites) occur in 3.5-= 3.3 Ga, Early Archaean, sedimentary formations from the Barberton (South Afri= ca) and Pilbara (Australia) greenstone belts. They document life forms that = show a relatively advanced level of evolution. Microfossil morphology inclu= des filamentous, coccoid, rod and vibroid shapes. Colonial microorganism= s formed biofilms and microbial mats at the surfaces of volcaniclastic = and chemical sediments, some of which created (small) macroscopic microbi= alites such as stromatolites. Anoxygenic photosynthesis may already have developed. Carbon, nitrogen and sulphur isotopes ratios are in the r= ange of those for organisms with anaerobic metabolisms, such as methanogenesi= s, sulphate reduction and photosynthesis. Life was apparently distribute= d widely in shallow-water to littoral environments, including exposed, evaporitic basins and regions of hydrothermal activity. Biomass in t= he early Archaean was restricted owing to the limited amount of energy t= hat could be produced by anaerobic metabolisms. Microfossils resembling o= xygenic photosynthesisers, such as cyanobacteria, probably first occurred in

  14. Integrating Antarctic Near Shore and Deep Sea Records of Warm Interglacials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scherer, R. P.

    2005-12-01

    The best way to accurately interpret polar ice sheet history is to make every effort to recover and date continental margin deposits proximal to the ice sheets, and confidently correlate these records with deep-sea cores. Deep-sea oxygen isotope records provide the best available archive of global ice volume, but they say nothing directly about specific changes in ice sheet configuration. Although geologic records along the margins of polar landmasses are rare, and those that exist are highly incomplete, they record climatic events in the global end-member environment, demonstrating the sensitivity of the system to climate change. Pelagic waters impinge far south along the Victoria Land coastline of Antarctica in McMurdo Sound. Increasing the southward encroachment of warm waters during interglacials affects moisture flux, sub-ice shelf circulation, and sea ice conditions, as well as surface water temperatures. These factors affect, in complex ways, ice shelf stability and, ultimately, marine (West Antarctic) and continental (East Antarctic) ice sheet configurations. The CIROS-2 drill core includes precisely dated and unequivocal evidence of pelagic waters in the near shore zone during the mid Pliocene. Likewise, the Cape Roberts Project (CRP-1) recovered a 2m thick carbonate-rich unit, unequivocally dated as MIS-31 (1.07 Ma) that indicates significantly elevated surface water temperatures and minimal sea ice. The warmest part of MIS-31 coincides with a paleomagnetic reversal (the base of the Jaramillo at 1.072 Ma), which offers an unprecedented opportunity for precise correlation with deep-sea cores, and offers the possibility of precise interhemispheric comparison of high latitude surface ocean conditions. Other marine interglacial deposits, notably MIS-11 and MIS-5e, have been recognized on the Antarctic margin, but dating is often not as precise as we strive for. High quality Pliocene through Holocene core is anticipated from the McMurdo Ice Shelf site of the

  15. Atmospheric composition as a potential taphonomic filter for the fossil leaf record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bacon, Karen; Haworth, Matthew; McElwain, Jennifer

    2016-04-01

    Controlled environment chambers provide a unique opportunity to investigate plant responses to simulated palaeoatmospheric compositions that reflect previous periods of Earth history. One potentially important role of atmospheric composition that has not been considered in detail, is how it may affect plant preservation in the fossil record. Previous work has shown that plants, particularly angiosperms, have a tendency to increase leaf mass per area (LMA) when grown in above-ambient CO2. We tested the response of six nearest living equivalent taxa for Mesozoic floras to a range of simulated Mesozoic palaeoatmospheric treatments in controlled environment chambers. Exposure to high CO2 (~1,500 ppm) led to a statistically significant (p < 0.001) increase in LMA in four out of 6 species and exposure to high CO2 and low O2 (~13%) led to a statistically significant (p < 0.001) increase in LMA in all six species. These findings suggest that atmospheric composition has a highly significant impact on LMA. If this is also the case in fossil floras, then this suggests that atmospheric composition may influence leaf preservation potential in the fossil record. Based on these results, we put forward the hypothesis that atmospheric composition is an important taphonomic filter of the fossil leaf record. Further research is now required to test the significance of atmospheric composition versus other well-known taphonomic filters.

  16. Assessing the completeness of the fossil record using brachiopod Lazarus taxa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gearty, W.; Payne, J.

    2012-12-01

    Lazarus taxa, organisms that disappear from the fossil record only to reappear later, provide a unique opportunity to assess the completeness of the fossil record. In this study, we apply logistic regression to quantify the associations of body size, geographic extent, and species diversity with the probability of being a Lazarus genus using the Phanerozoic fossil record of brachiopods. We find that both the geographic range and species diversity of a genus are inversely associated with the probability of being a Lazarus taxon in the preceding or succeeding stage. In contrast, body size exhibits little association with the probability of becoming a Lazarus taxon. A model including species diversity and geographic extent as predictors performs best among all combinations examined, whereas a model including only shell size as a predictor performs the worst - even worse than a model that assumes Lazarus taxa are randomly drawn from all available genera. These findings suggest that geographic range and species richness data can be used to improve estimates of extensions on the observed fossil ranges of genera and, thereby, better correct for sampling effects in estimates of taxonomic diversity change through the Phanerozoic.

  17. Fossilized embryos are widespread but the record is temporally and taxonomically biased

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Donoghue, P.C.J.; Kouchinsky, A.; Waloszek, Dieter; Bengtson, S.; Dong, X.-P.; Val'Kov, A.K.; Cunningham, J.A.; Repetski, J.E.

    2006-01-01

    We report new discoveries of embryos and egg capsules from the Lower Cambrian of Siberia, Middle Cambrian of Australia and Lower Ordovician of North America. Together with existing records, embryos have now been recorded from four of the seven continents. However, the new discoveries highlight secular and systematic biases in the fossil record of embryonic stages. The temporal window within which the embryos and egg capsules are found is of relatively short duration; it ends in the Early Ordovician and is roughly coincident with that of typical "Orsten"-type faunas. The reduced occurrence of such fossils has been attributed to reducing levels of phosphate in marine waters during the early Paleozoic, but may also be owing to the increasing depth of sediment mixing by infaunal metazoans. Furthermore, most records younger than the earliest Cambrian are of a single kind - large eggs and embryos of the priapulid-like scalidophoran Markuelia. We explore alternative explanations for the low taxonomic diversity of embryos recovered thus far, including sampling, size, anatomy, ecology, and environment, concluding that the preponderance of Markuelia embryos is due to its precocious development of cuticle at an embryonic stage, predisposing it to preservation through action as a substrate on which microbially mediated precipitation of authigenic calcium phosphate may occur. The fossil record of embryos may be limited to a late Neoproterozoic to early Ordovician snapshot that is subject to dramatic systematic bias. Together, these biases must be considered seriously in attempts to use the fossil record to arbitrate between hypotheses of developmental and life history evolution implicated in the origin of metazoan clades. ?? 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  18. Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system.

    PubMed

    Edgecombe, Gregory D; Ma, Xiaoya; Strausfeld, Nicholas J

    2015-12-19

    Extant panarthropods (euarthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades) are hallmarked by stunning morphological and taxonomic diversity, but their central nervous systems (CNS) are relatively conserved. The timing of divergences of the ground pattern CNS organization of the major panarthropod clades has been poorly constrained because of a scarcity of data from their early fossil record. Although the CNS has been documented in three-dimensional detail in insects from Cenozoic ambers, it is widely assumed that these tissues are too prone to decay to withstand other styles of fossilization or geologically older preservation. However, Cambrian Burgess Shale-type compressions have emerged as sources of fossilized brains and nerve cords. CNS in these Cambrian fossils are preserved as carbon films or as iron oxides/hydroxides after pyrite in association with carbon. Experiments with carcasses compacted in fine-grained sediment depict preservation of neural tissue for a more prolonged temporal window than anticipated by decay experiments in other media. CNS and compound eye characters in exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils predict divergences of the mandibulate and chelicerate ground patterns by Cambrian Stage 3 (ca 518 Ma), a dating that is compatible with molecular estimates for these splits.

  19. Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system.

    PubMed

    Edgecombe, Gregory D; Ma, Xiaoya; Strausfeld, Nicholas J

    2015-12-19

    Extant panarthropods (euarthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades) are hallmarked by stunning morphological and taxonomic diversity, but their central nervous systems (CNS) are relatively conserved. The timing of divergences of the ground pattern CNS organization of the major panarthropod clades has been poorly constrained because of a scarcity of data from their early fossil record. Although the CNS has been documented in three-dimensional detail in insects from Cenozoic ambers, it is widely assumed that these tissues are too prone to decay to withstand other styles of fossilization or geologically older preservation. However, Cambrian Burgess Shale-type compressions have emerged as sources of fossilized brains and nerve cords. CNS in these Cambrian fossils are preserved as carbon films or as iron oxides/hydroxides after pyrite in association with carbon. Experiments with carcasses compacted in fine-grained sediment depict preservation of neural tissue for a more prolonged temporal window than anticipated by decay experiments in other media. CNS and compound eye characters in exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils predict divergences of the mandibulate and chelicerate ground patterns by Cambrian Stage 3 (ca 518 Ma), a dating that is compatible with molecular estimates for these splits. PMID:26554038

  20. Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system

    PubMed Central

    Edgecombe, Gregory D.; Ma, Xiaoya; Strausfeld, Nicholas J.

    2015-01-01

    Extant panarthropods (euarthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades) are hallmarked by stunning morphological and taxonomic diversity, but their central nervous systems (CNS) are relatively conserved. The timing of divergences of the ground pattern CNS organization of the major panarthropod clades has been poorly constrained because of a scarcity of data from their early fossil record. Although the CNS has been documented in three-dimensional detail in insects from Cenozoic ambers, it is widely assumed that these tissues are too prone to decay to withstand other styles of fossilization or geologically older preservation. However, Cambrian Burgess Shale-type compressions have emerged as sources of fossilized brains and nerve cords. CNS in these Cambrian fossils are preserved as carbon films or as iron oxides/hydroxides after pyrite in association with carbon. Experiments with carcasses compacted in fine-grained sediment depict preservation of neural tissue for a more prolonged temporal window than anticipated by decay experiments in other media. CNS and compound eye characters in exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils predict divergences of the mandibulate and chelicerate ground patterns by Cambrian Stage 3 (ca 518 Ma), a dating that is compatible with molecular estimates for these splits. PMID:26554038

  1. Diversity-dependence brings molecular phylogenies closer to agreement with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Etienne, Rampal S; Haegeman, Bart; Stadler, Tanja; Aze, Tracy; Pearson, Paul N; Purvis, Andy; Phillimore, Albert B

    2012-04-01

    The branching times of molecular phylogenies allow us to infer speciation and extinction dynamics even when fossils are absent. Troublingly, phylogenetic approaches usually return estimates of zero extinction, conflicting with fossil evidence. Phylogenies and fossils do agree, however, that there are often limits to diversity. Here, we present a general approach to evaluate the likelihood of a phylogeny under a model that accommodates diversity-dependence and extinction. We find, by likelihood maximization, that extinction is estimated most precisely if the rate of increase in the number of lineages in the phylogeny saturates towards the present or first decreases and then increases. We demonstrate the utility and limits of our approach by applying it to the phylogenies for two cases where a fossil record exists (Cetacea and Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera) and to three radiations lacking fossil evidence (Dendroica, Plethodon and Heliconius). We propose that the diversity-dependence model with extinction be used as the standard model for macro-evolutionary dynamics because of its biological realism and flexibility. PMID:21993508

  2. Fossil invertebrates records in cave sediments and paleoenvironmental assessments: a study of four cave sites from Romanian Carpathians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moldovan, O. T.; Constantin, S.; Panaiotu, C.; Roban, R. D.; Frenzel, P.; Miko, L.

    2015-06-01

    Fossil invertebrates from cave sediments have been recently described as a potential new proxy for paleoenvironment and used in cross-correlations with alternate proxy records from cave deposits. Here we present the results of a fossil invertebrates study in four caves from two climatically different regions of the Romanian Carpathians, to complement paleoenvironmental data previously reported. Oribatid mites and ostracods are the most common invertebrates in the studied cave sediments. Some of the identified taxa are new for science, and most of them are indicative for either warm/cold stages or dry/wetter oscillations. In two caves the fossil invertebrates records indicate rapid climate oscillations during times known for a relatively stable climate. By corroborating the fossil invertebrates' record with the information given by magnetic properties and sediment structures, complementary data on past vegetation, temperatures, and hydraulic regimes could be gathered. This paper analyses the potential of fossil invertebrate records as a paleoenvironmental proxy, potential problems and pitfalls.

  3. The Antarctic record of Pliocene warmth and its expression in the AND-1B drillcore

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winter, Diane; Sjunneskog, Charlotte

    2010-05-01

    The potential for comparison of the now well-accepted Pliocene warmth to the current effects of modern climate change has made the topic of the extent and global expression of this warmth one of great interest. This time period is uniquely recorded in the ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project AND-1B drillcore by a stratigraphic interval representing extended depositional conditions characterized by a highly-productive open-marine environment. Nearly 100-m of diatomite and diatom-rich sediments preserve three distinct time intervals, which chronostratigraphic controls suggest represent deposition during 3.33-3.6 Ma, 4.3-4.5 Ma and ~4.6 Ma. This record is extraordinary both in its extent as well as its proximity to the Antarctic continent. The diatom assemblages preserving these time intervals record a marine environment quite different than occurs today in the Ross Sea. Species such as Shionodiscus tetraoestrupii, Stellarima stellaris and Thalassionema nitzschioides are common throughout this 100m interval while they currently are observed only in waters closer to and north of the modern Polar Frontal Zone. Sea surface temperature estimates from these species suggest conditions 3-5°C warmer than present in southern McMurdo Sound. Additionally, often low numbers of clasts within the diatomite and diatom-rich sediments corroborate a decrease in glacial and seasonal ice at the AND-1B site during this interval. Other drillcore records containing sediments from this time exist in locations both proximal to and on the Antarctic continent as well as within the Southern Ocean. Several sites in close proximity to AND-1B within McMurdo Sound (DVDP-10, DVDP-11 and CIROS-2) contain diatom-rich sediments correlative to these three intervals. The assemblages within samples from these three cores record a fjordal setting indicative of increased sea level associated with warmer marine conditions at these sites. The middle diatomite interval in AND-1B, 4.3-4.5 Ma, contains abundant

  4. Mass extinctions in the fossil record of late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic tetrapods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benton, Michael J.

    The fossil record of tetrapods is very patchy because of the problems of preservation in terrestrial sediments, and because vertebrates are rarely very abundant. However, the fossil record of tetrapods has the advantages that it is easier to establish a phylogenetic taxonomy than for many invertebrate groups (many characters; fast evolution), and there is the potential for more detailed ecological analyses (greater knowledge of modern tetrapod ecology). The diversity of tetrapods increased during the Devonian, the Carboniferous, and the Permian, but it remained generally constant during the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Early Cretaceous. Overall diversity then began to increase in the Late Cretaceous, and continued to do so during the Tertiary. The rapid radiation of modern tetrapod groups — frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, turtles, crocodiles, birds and mammals — was hardly affected by the celebrated end-Cretaceous extinction event.

  5. An Analytical Approach for Estimating Fossil Record and Diversification Events in Sharks, Skates and Rays

    PubMed Central

    Guinot, Guillaume; Adnet, Sylvain; Cappetta, Henri

    2012-01-01

    Background Modern selachians and their supposed sister group (hybodont sharks) have a long and successful evolutionary history. Yet, although selachian remains are considered relatively common in the fossil record in comparison with other marine vertebrates, little is known about the quality of their fossil record. Similarly, only a few works based on specific time intervals have attempted to identify major events that marked the evolutionary history of this group. Methodology/Principal Findings Phylogenetic hypotheses concerning modern selachians’ interrelationships are numerous but differ significantly and no consensus has been found. The aim of the present study is to take advantage of the range of recent phylogenetic hypotheses in order to assess the fit of the selachian fossil record to phylogenies, according to two different branching methods. Compilation of these data allowed the inference of an estimated range of diversity through time and evolutionary events that marked this group over the past 300 Ma are identified. Results indicate that with the exception of high taxonomic ranks (orders), the selachian fossil record is by far imperfect, particularly for generic and post-Triassic data. Timing and amplitude of the various identified events that marked the selachian evolutionary history are discussed. Conclusion/Significance Some identified diversity events were mentioned in previous works using alternative methods (Early Jurassic, mid-Cretaceous, K/T boundary and late Paleogene diversity drops), thus reinforcing the efficiency of the methodology presented here in inferring evolutionary events. Other events (Permian/Triassic, Early and Late Cretaceous diversifications; Triassic/Jurassic extinction) are newly identified. Relationships between these events and paleoenvironmental characteristics and other groups’ evolutionary history are proposed. PMID:22957091

  6. High resolution Antarctic glaciochemical climate proxy records and their global implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dixon, Daniel Arthur

    2011-12-01

    The first section of this study presents major ion, trace element, heavy metal, rare earth element and oxygen isotope data from a series of surface snow samples and shallow firn sections collected along four US ITASE traverses across extensive regions of East and West Antarctica. In each sample the dissolved major ion, total trace element, and delta18 O concentrations are measured. This provides a baseline from which changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere over Antarctica can be monitored under expected warming scenarios and continued intensification of industrial activities in the Southern Hemisphere. Satellite remote sensing measurements of microwave backscatter and grain size assist in the identification of glaze/dune areas across Antarctica and show how chemical concentrations are higher in these areas, precluding them from containing useful high-resolution chemical climate records. The majority of the non-glaze/dune samples in this study exhibit similar, or lower, concentrations to those from previous studies. Consequently, the results presented here comprise a conservative baseline for Antarctic surface snow chemical concentrations. The second section of this study presents a 200-year proxy for Northerly Air Mass Incursions (NAMI) into central and western West Antarctica. The NAMI proxy is developed from the examination of 19 shallow (21m -- 150m deep) Antarctic ice core non-sea-salt (nss) Ca2+ concentration records and it exhibits a significant rise in recent decades. This rise is unprecedented for at least the last 200 years and is coincident with anthropogenically-driven changes in other large-scale Southern Hemisphere (SH) environmental phenomena such as greenhouse gas induced warming, ozone depletion and the associated intensification of the SH westerlies. Statistical analysis suggests that atmospheric circulation is the dominant factor affecting nssCa2+ concentrations throughout central and western West Antarctica.

  7. Camellia nanningensis sp. nov.: the earliest fossil wood record of the genus Camellia (Theaceae) from East Asia.

    PubMed

    Huang, Lu-Liang; Jin, Jian-Hua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A

    2016-09-01

    A new species Camellia nanningensis was described on the basis of well-preserved mummified wood from the upper Oligocene Yongning Formation of Nanning Basin in Guangxi Province, South China. This represents the most ancient fossil wood assigned to Camellia, and the earliest fossil record of the family Theaceae in China. This fossil material shows that Camellia occurred in China as early as the late Oligocene, suggesting more ancient radiation of this genus than estimated by molecular dating. PMID:27379410

  8. Antarctic climate variability from ice core records over the last two millennia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Braida, Martina; Stenni, Barbara; Masson-Delmotte, Valerie; Dreossi, Giuliano; Oerter, Hans; Selmo, Enricomaria; Severi, Mirko; Goosse, Hugues; Mezgec, Karin

    2013-04-01

    The climate of the past can be successfully investigated through the study of polar ice sheets. Paleotemperature reconstructions from Antarctic ice cores are based on water isotope profiles, thanks to the existing relationship between δ18O (or δD) and the temperature at the site. Here we present the climate record of the past 2000 years resulting from the stable isotope analysis of the ice core drilled at Talos Dome in East Antarctica from 2003 to 2007 in the framework of the European TALDICE (TALos Dome Ice CorE) project. Talos Dome (72°49'S, 159°11'E; 2315 m; -41°C) is an ice dome on the edge of the East Antarctic plateau. The snow accumulation rate of the site (80 kg m-2 yr-1) allows extracting high-resolution data for the past millennia. The main moisture sources of snow precipitation at this near-coastal site are located in the Indian Ocean and the Ross Sea. Isotopic analyses of TALDICE detailed (10 cm) samples have been performed in the framework of the ESF-HOLOCLIP project, whose main objective is to integrate the ice core, the marine core and the modeling data to investigate the climate variability of the high latitude southern hemisphere over the Holocene. The isotopic record obtained from the TALDICE ice core is here compared with a shallow firn core (89 m long) previously drilled at Talos Dome, at a 5 km distance, and covering the past 800 years. The two isotopic records are stacked to reduce the stratigraphic noise and compared with other available isotopic records from Antarctica to highlight common trends and regional variability in the climatic signal over the past two millennia. We compare the data with a simulation performed with a three-dimensional earth system model of intermediate complexity (LOVECLIM) with and without data assimilation. Considering the δ18O profile from the TALDICE ice core and comparing it with the ones from the other available records we can observe common negative isotopic anomalies in the period from about 1450 to

  9. Seismic stratigraphy of the Antarctic Peninsula pacific margin: A record of Pliocene-Pleistocene ice volume and paleoclimate

    SciTech Connect

    Larter, R.D.; Barker, P.F. )

    1989-08-01

    Multichannel seismic profiles across the Pacific margin of the Antarctic Peninsula show a series of oblique progradational sequences. These sequences exhibit a variety of unusual characteristics that suggest they were produced by the action of ice sheets grounded out to the shelf edge at times of glacial maximum. Reflection events from deeper stratigraphic levels, followed down the continental slope and onto the rise, overlie ocean crust of known age, showing that at least eight such glacial sequences have been deposited within the past 6 m.y. Similar groundings have probably occurred on most Antarctic margins, but the depositional record is particularly well preserved at this margin because of Pliocene-Pleistocene thermal subsidence. Neogene global sea-level fluctuations have been attributed to changes in volume of continental ice sheets. The depositional sequences on the Pacific margin of the Antarctic Peninsula are thought to record West Antarctic ice-sheet fluctuations directly. Further investigation of these sequences would assess the relation between fluctuations in ice volume and the low-latitude record of global sea-level change.

  10. Developmental palaeontology in synapsids: the fossil record of ontogeny in mammals and their closest relatives.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2010-04-22

    The study of fossilized ontogenies in mammals is mostly restricted to postnatal and late stages of growth, but nevertheless can deliver great insights into life history and evolutionary mechanisms affecting all aspects of development. Fossils provide evidence of developmental plasticity determined by ecological factors, as when allometric relations are modified in species which invaded a new space with a very different selection regime. This is the case of dwarfing and gigantism evolution in islands. Skeletochronological studies are restricted to the examination of growth marks mostly in the cement and dentine of teeth and can provide absolute age estimates. These, together with dental replacement data considered in a phylogenetic context, provide life-history information such as maturation time and longevity. Palaeohistology and dental replacement data document the more or less gradual but also convergent evolution of mammalian growth features during early synapsid evolution. Adult phenotypes of extinct mammals can inform developmental processes by showing a combination of features or levels of integration unrecorded in living species. Some adult features such as vertebral number, easily recorded in fossils, provide indirect information about somitogenesis and hox-gene expression boundaries. Developmental palaeontology is relevant for the discourse of ecological developmental biology, an area of research where features of growth and variation are fundamental and accessible among fossil mammals.

  11. Developmental palaeontology in synapsids: the fossil record of ontogeny in mammals and their closest relatives.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2010-04-22

    The study of fossilized ontogenies in mammals is mostly restricted to postnatal and late stages of growth, but nevertheless can deliver great insights into life history and evolutionary mechanisms affecting all aspects of development. Fossils provide evidence of developmental plasticity determined by ecological factors, as when allometric relations are modified in species which invaded a new space with a very different selection regime. This is the case of dwarfing and gigantism evolution in islands. Skeletochronological studies are restricted to the examination of growth marks mostly in the cement and dentine of teeth and can provide absolute age estimates. These, together with dental replacement data considered in a phylogenetic context, provide life-history information such as maturation time and longevity. Palaeohistology and dental replacement data document the more or less gradual but also convergent evolution of mammalian growth features during early synapsid evolution. Adult phenotypes of extinct mammals can inform developmental processes by showing a combination of features or levels of integration unrecorded in living species. Some adult features such as vertebral number, easily recorded in fossils, provide indirect information about somitogenesis and hox-gene expression boundaries. Developmental palaeontology is relevant for the discourse of ecological developmental biology, an area of research where features of growth and variation are fundamental and accessible among fossil mammals. PMID:20071389

  12. The fossil record, function, and possible origins of shell color patterns in Paleozoic marine invertebrates

    SciTech Connect

    Kobluk, D.R. ); Mapes, R.H. )

    1989-02-01

    Fossil invertebrate shells and carapaces displaying preserved original color patterns are among the rarest fossils. The fossil record of color patterns extends into the Middle Cambrian where the trilobite Anomocare displays a fan-like array of stripes on the pygidium. About 180 Paleozic genera are known with patterns, including trilobites, cephalopods, gastropods, brachiopods, bivalves, crinoids, and crustaceans. Based upon an analysis of these taxa, it appears that patterns and pigments in middle and late Paleozoic invertebrates may have served several functions such as warning displays, light screening, camouflage, or waste disposal. However, the presence of color patterns in fossil invertebrates in the early Paleozoic may have developed prior to the evolution of vision sufficiently sophisticated to see them. This suggests that camouflage and warning displays were not the original functions of color patterns, and that in the earliest Paleozoic they may not have been functional. The authors propose a hypothesis that involves three developmental phases in the evolution of invertebrate color patterns: (1) the incorporation of metabolic by-products, perhaps some pigmented and some not pigmented, into shells and carapaces as a means of disposal of dietary or metabolic wastes, (2) use of these pigments and patterns as an environmental adaptation, such as light screening, and (3) display during and following the evolution of vision in predators sufficiently sophisticated to see the patterns.

  13. Late Paleocene fossils from the Cerrejon Formation, Colombia, are the earliest record of Neotropical rainforest.

    PubMed

    Wing, Scott L; Herrera, Fabiany; Jaramillo, Carlos A; Gómez-Navarro, Carolina; Wilf, Peter; Labandeira, Conrad C

    2009-11-01

    Neotropical rainforests have a very poor fossil record, making hypotheses concerning their origins difficult to evaluate. Nevertheless, some of their most important characteristics can be preserved in the fossil record: high plant diversity, dominance by a distinctive combination of angiosperm families, a preponderance of plant species with large, smooth-margined leaves, and evidence for a high diversity of herbivorous insects. Here, we report on an approximately 58-my-old flora from the Cerrejón Formation of Colombia (paleolatitude approximately 5 degrees N) that is the earliest megafossil record of Neotropical rainforest. The flora has abundant, diverse palms and legumes and similar family composition to extant Neotropical rainforest. Three-quarters of the leaf types are large and entire-margined, indicating rainfall >2,500 mm/year and mean annual temperature >25 degrees C. Despite modern family composition and tropical paleoclimate, the diversity of fossil pollen and leaf samples is 60-80% that of comparable samples from extant and Quaternary Neotropical rainforest from similar climates. Insect feeding damage on Cerrejón fossil leaves, representing primary consumers, is abundant, but also of low diversity, and overwhelmingly made by generalist feeders rather than specialized herbivores. Cerrejón megafossils provide strong evidence that the same Neotropical rainforest families have characterized the biome since the Paleocene, maintaining their importance through climatic phases warmer and cooler than present. The low diversity of both plants and herbivorous insects in this Paleocene Neotropical rainforest may reflect an early stage in the diversification of the lineages that inhabit this biome, and/or a long recovery period from the terminal Cretaceous extinction.

  14. Large-scale heterogeneity of the fossil record: implications for Phanerozoic biodiversity studies.

    PubMed

    Smith, A B

    2001-03-29

    Patterns of origination, extinction and standing diversity through time have been inferred from tallies of taxa preserved in the fossil record. This approach assumes that sampling of the fossil record is effectively uniform over time. Although recent evidence suggests that our sampling of the available rock record has indeed been very thorough and effective, there is also overwhelming evidence that the rock record available for sampling is itself distorted by major systematic biases. Data on rock outcrop area compiled for post-Palaeozoic sediments from Western Europe at stage level are presented. These show a strongly cyclical pattern corresponding to first- and second-order sequence stratigraphical depositional cycles. Standing diversity increases over time and, at the coarsest scale, is decoupled from surface outcrop area. This increasing trend can therefore be considered a real pattern. Changes in standing diversity and origination rates over time-scales measured in tens of millions of years, however, are strongly correlated with surface outcrop area. Extinction peaks conform to a random-walk model, but larger peaks occur at just two positions with respect to second-order stratigraphical sequences, towards the culmination of stacked transgressive system tracts and close to system bases, precisely the positions where taxonomic last occurrences are predicted to cluster under a random distribution model. Many of the taxonomic patterns that have been described from the fossil record conform to a species-area effect. Whether this arises primarily from sampling bias, or from changing surface area of marine shelf seas through time and its effect on biodiversity, remains problematic. PMID:11316484

  15. The earliest fossil record of Panorpidae (Mecoptera) from the Middle Jurassic of China

    PubMed Central

    Ding, He; Shih, Chungkun; Bashkuev, Alexei; Zhao, Yunyun; Ren, Dong

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The early history of Panorpidae (Mecoptera) is poorly known due to sparse fossil records. Up to date, only nine fossil species have been described, all from the Paleogene, except the Early Cretaceous Solusipanorpa gibbidorsa Lin, 1980. However, we suggest S. gibbidorsa is too incompletely preserved to permit even family classification. A new genus with two new species, Jurassipanorpa impunctata gen. et sp. n. and Jurassipanorpa sticta sp. n., are described based on four well-preserved specimens from the late Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China. These two new species are the earliest fossil records of Panorpidae. The new genus is erected based on a combination of forewing characters: both R1 and Rs1 with two branches, 1A reaching posterior margin of wing distad of the forking of Rs from R1, and no crossveins or only one crossvein between veins of 1A and 2A. In all four specimens, long and robust setae ranging from 0.09 to 0.38 mm in length and pointing anteriorly, are present on anal veins of forewings. The function of these setae is enigmatic. PMID:25152669

  16. MicroRNAs resolve an apparent conflict between annelid systematics and their fossil record.

    PubMed

    Sperling, Erik A; Vinther, Jakob; Moy, Vanessa N; Wheeler, Benjamin M; Sémon, Marie; Briggs, Derek E G; Peterson, Kevin J

    2009-12-22

    Both the monophyly and inter-relationships of the major annelid groups have remained uncertain, despite intensive research on both morphology and molecular sequences. Morphological cladistic analyses indicate that Annelida is monophyletic and consists of two monophyletic groups, the clitellates and polychaetes, whereas molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that polychaetes are paraphyletic and that sipunculans are crown-group annelids. Both the monophyly of polychaetes and the placement of sipunculans within annelids are in conflict with the annelid fossil record--the former because Cambrian stem taxa are similar to modern polychaetes in possessing biramous parapodia, suggesting that clitellates are derived from polychaetes; the latter because although fossil sipunculans are known from the Early Cambrian, crown-group annelids do not appear until the latest Cambrian. Here we apply a different data source, the presence versus absence of specific microRNAs--genes that encode approximately 22 nucleotide non-coding regulatory RNAs--to the problem of annelid phylogenetics. We show that annelids are monophyletic with respect to sipunculans, and polychaetes are paraphyletic with respect to the clitellate Lumbricus, conclusions that are consistent with the fossil record. Further, sipunculans resolve as the sister group of the annelids, rooting the annelid tree, and revealing the polarity of the morphological change within this diverse lineage of animals.

  17. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees (Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites-Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution. PMID:19296064

  18. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S.

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees ( Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites—Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution.

  19. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees (Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites-Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution.

  20. West Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics recorded in Plio-Pleistocene strata of the Ross Sea, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loth, A. S.; Bartek, L. R.; Luyendyk, B. P.; Wilson, D. S.

    2008-12-01

    Within the 100,000 square kilometer Eastern Basin of the Ross Sea, a 290 km section, oriented parallel to depostional dip along with 10 intersecting seismic sections that are oriented parallel to depositional strike were analyzed. Using Single-Channel Seismic (SCS) data from three different seismic surveys (NBP 0306, PD9022, and NBP 9308) 36 Plio-Pleistocene sequences were correlated across the basin from the modern ice shelf edge to the contemporary shelf break. Few of the sequences are continuous across the shelf, the majority of the sequences are of limited lateral extent. The facies within the sequences were analyzed to determine ice sheet behavior at the time of deposition. Three distinct depositional environments were interpreted based upon variations in the reflection attributes within the seismic data. Subglacial facies have a spectrum of reflection attributes from reflection-free to parallel, low-amplitude, discontinuous facies. The Grounding Line Zone facies are characterized by high amplitude, mildly discontinuous reflections. Proglacial environments are distinguished by parallel, high amplitude, continuous reflection packages. The facies distribution within many of the sequences consists of Subglacial facies in updip locales, Grounding Line Zone facies widely distributed across the shelf, and Proglacial facies present at downdip sites. The facies distribution within the sequences provides a record of the variation of the extent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) throughout the Plio-Pleistocene. Not all sequences have a consecutive facies relationship, which may have resulted from several causes: 1) changes in the flow of the WAIS, 2) interplay between the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) with the WAIS, or 3) additional grounding of the WAIS on paleobasin highs. Understanding the short-lived glacial events, whether they are a function of non-deposition or cannibalization of previous deposits, provides insight into the dynamics of marine based ice

  1. Systematics, phylogeny, and taphonomy of ghost shrimps (Decapoda): a perspective from the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.

    2016-01-01

    Ghost shrimps of Callianassidae and Ctenochelidae are soft-bodied, usually heterochelous decapods representing major bioturbators of muddy and sandy (sub)marine substrates. Ghost shrimps have a robust fossil record spanning from the Early Cretaceous (~ 133 Ma) to the Holocene and their remains are present in most assemblages of Cenozoic decapod crustaceans. Their taxonomic interpretation is in flux, mainly because the generic assignment is hindered by their insufficient preservation and disagreement in the biological classification. Furthermore, numerous taxa are incorrectly classified within the catch-all taxon Callianassa. To show the historical patterns in describing fossil ghost shrimps and to evaluate taphonomic aspects influencing the attribution of ghost shrimp remains to higher level taxa, a database of all fossil species treated at some time as belonging to the group has been compiled: 250 / 274 species are considered valid ghost shrimp taxa herein. More than half of these taxa (160 species, 58.4%) are known only from distal cheliped elements, i.e., dactylus and / or propodus, due to the more calcified cuticle locally. Rarely, ghost shrimps are preserved in situ in burrows or in direct association with them, and several previously unpublished occurrences are reported herein. For generic assignment, fossil material should be compared to living species because many of them have modern relatives. Heterochely, intraspecific variation, ontogenetic changes and sexual dimorphism are all factors that have to be taken into account when working with fossil ghost shrimps. Distal elements are usually more variable than proximal ones. Preliminary results suggest that the ghost shrimp clade emerged not before the Hauterivian (~ 133 Ma). The divergence of Ctenochelidae and Paracalliacinae is estimated to occur within the interval of Hauterivian to Albian (133–100 Ma). Callichirinae and Eucalliacinae likely diverged later during the Late Cretaceous (100–66 Ma

  2. Cosmogenic production vs. climate for the nitrate record in the TALDICE Antarctic ice core

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poluianov, Stepan; Usoskin, Ilya; Traversi, Rita

    Reconstructions of solar activity on the multimillennial scale are based usually on records of two cosmogenic isotopes (14) C and (10) Be, measured in tree trunks or ice cores. In addition to these well-known proxies, a chemical tracer was recently proposed (Traversi et al., 2012), viz. nitrate, measured in an Antarctic ice sheet with moderate snow deposition rate. Tropo-stratospheric production of nitrate by cosmic rays is significant in polar regions because of the effect of energetic galactic cosmic rays. However, some climatic factors can influence a nitrate record there. Since the strongest source of nitrate is located at low and middle latitudes as driven by thunderstorm activity, the possible air transport from the lower latitudes to the polar region may significantly distort the signal of solar activity in a nitrate record. The present work is focused on a statistical study of the relation between the air transport from low and middle latitudes and the nitrate deposition in the polar region. We used the data from the TALDICE drilling project (Talos Dome, Antarctica). As galactic cosmic ray indices we used the reconstructions of heliospheric moderation parameter based on (14) C from INTCAL09 and (10) Be from GRIP. The data series cover the age range from 675 till 12000 years BP (i.e. before 1950). We applied the wavelet coherence analysis to compare the nitrate series with a number of substances/proxies: Na(+) , Ca(2+) , MSA (methanesulphonic acid), delta(18) O, no-sea-salt-SO_4(2-) and reconstructions of heliospheric modulation parameter from the (14) C and (10) Be records. We found (1) a confirmation that the multimillennial variability of nitrate is in inverse relation with cosmic ray flux; (2) no sign of the nitrate transport from lower latitudes to the site of deposition. This suggests that variations in the nitrate record in the time scale of hundreds-thousands of years are most likely caused by local production and deposition processes.

  3. Canterbury Drifts, SW Pacific Ocean: Record of Antarctic Intermediate Water Flow Since 24 Ma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carter, R. M.

    2005-12-01

    The Canterbury Drifts were deposited in water depths between 400 and 1500 m by northward flowing, cold, intermediate depth water masses - Subantarctic Mode Water, Antarctic Intermediate Water, and their predecessor current flows. Drift accumulation started at 24 Ma, fed by terrigenous sediment derived from the newly rising Alpine Fault plate boundary in the west, which has built a progradational shelf-slope sediment prism up to 130 km wide at rates of eastward advance of up to 5.4 km/My. These regionally extensive, intermediate-depth sediment drifts can be examined in outcrop, in marine drillcore (ODP Site 1119) and at the modern seabed. The drifts comprise planar-bedded units up to several metres thick. Sand intervals have either reverse graded or sharp, erosive bases and normally graded tops. Bioturbation is moderate and the sands occur within a pervasive background of cm-scale, planar or wispy alternating muddy and sandy silts, consistent with deposition from rhythmically fluctuating bottom currents. In the Plio-Pleistocene, the sand:silt lithological rhythmicity occurs in synchroneity with Milankovitch-scale climate cycling; periods of inferred faster current flow (sand beds) mostly correspond to warm climatic intervals. The drifts vary in thickness from 300 m near the early Miocene shoreline, where they were accumulating in limited shallow water accommodation, to 2000+ m under the modern shelf edge. Mounded drifts first occur at 15 Ma (Middle Miocene), their appearance perhaps reflecting more vigorous intermediate water flow consequent upon the worldwide climatic deterioration between 15 and 13 Ma. A further change from large (more than 10 km wide) to smaller (1-3 km wide) mounded slope drifts occurs at 3.1 Ma, marking further cooling, the inception of discrete SAMW flows, and initiation of the Subantarctic Front. The natural gamma ray record from Site 1119 contains a history since 3.9 Ma of the waxing and waning of the New Zealand mountain ice cap. Back to 0

  4. Keratin Durability Has Implications for the Fossil Record: Results from a 10 Year Feather Degradation Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Moyer, Alison E.; Zheng, Wenxia; Schweitzer, Mary H.

    2016-01-01

    Keratinous ‘soft tissue’ structures (i.e. epidermally derived and originally non-biomineralized), include feathers, skin, claws, beaks, and hair. Despite their relatively common occurrence in the fossil record (second only to bone and teeth), few studies have addressed natural degradation processes that must occur in all organic material, including those keratinous structures that are incorporated into the rock record as fossils. Because feathers have high preservation potential and strong phylogenetic signal, in the current study we examine feathers subjected to different burial environments for a duration of ~10 years, using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and in situ immunofluorescence (IF). We use morphology and persistence of specific immunoreactivity as indicators of preservation at the molecular and microstructural levels. We show that feather keratin is durable, demonstrates structural and microstructural integrity, and retains epitopes suitable for specific antibody recognition in even the harshest conditions. These data support the hypothesis that keratin antibody reactivity can be used to identify the nature and composition of epidermal structures in the rock record, and to address evolutionary questions by distinguishing between alpha- (widely distributed) and beta- (limited to sauropsids) keratin. PMID:27384819

  5. Keratin Durability Has Implications for the Fossil Record: Results from a 10 Year Feather Degradation Experiment.

    PubMed

    Moyer, Alison E; Zheng, Wenxia; Schweitzer, Mary H

    2016-01-01

    Keratinous 'soft tissue' structures (i.e. epidermally derived and originally non-biomineralized), include feathers, skin, claws, beaks, and hair. Despite their relatively common occurrence in the fossil record (second only to bone and teeth), few studies have addressed natural degradation processes that must occur in all organic material, including those keratinous structures that are incorporated into the rock record as fossils. Because feathers have high preservation potential and strong phylogenetic signal, in the current study we examine feathers subjected to different burial environments for a duration of ~10 years, using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and in situ immunofluorescence (IF). We use morphology and persistence of specific immunoreactivity as indicators of preservation at the molecular and microstructural levels. We show that feather keratin is durable, demonstrates structural and microstructural integrity, and retains epitopes suitable for specific antibody recognition in even the harshest conditions. These data support the hypothesis that keratin antibody reactivity can be used to identify the nature and composition of epidermal structures in the rock record, and to address evolutionary questions by distinguishing between alpha- (widely distributed) and beta- (limited to sauropsids) keratin. PMID:27384819

  6. MicroRNAs resolve an apparent conflict between annelid systematics and their fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Sperling, Erik A.; Vinther, Jakob; Moy, Vanessa N.; Wheeler, Benjamin M.; Sémon, Marie; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Peterson, Kevin J.

    2009-01-01

    Both the monophyly and inter-relationships of the major annelid groups have remained uncertain, despite intensive research on both morphology and molecular sequences. Morphological cladistic analyses indicate that Annelida is monophyletic and consists of two monophyletic groups, the clitellates and polychaetes, whereas molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that polychaetes are paraphyletic and that sipunculans are crown-group annelids. Both the monophyly of polychaetes and the placement of sipunculans within annelids are in conflict with the annelid fossil record—the former because Cambrian stem taxa are similar to modern polychaetes in possessing biramous parapodia, suggesting that clitellates are derived from polychaetes; the latter because although fossil sipunculans are known from the Early Cambrian, crown-group annelids do not appear until the latest Cambrian. Here we apply a different data source, the presence versus absence of specific microRNAs—genes that encode approximately 22 nucleotide non-coding regulatory RNAs—to the problem of annelid phylogenetics. We show that annelids are monophyletic with respect to sipunculans, and polychaetes are paraphyletic with respect to the clitellate Lumbricus, conclusions that are consistent with the fossil record. Further, sipunculans resolve as the sister group of the annelids, rooting the annelid tree, and revealing the polarity of the morphological change within this diverse lineage of animals. PMID:19755470

  7. Microaerobic steroid biosynthesis and the molecular fossil record of Archean life.

    PubMed

    Waldbauer, Jacob R; Newman, Dianne K; Summons, Roger E

    2011-08-16

    The power of molecular oxygen to drive many crucial biogeochemical processes, from cellular respiration to rock weathering, makes reconstructing the history of its production and accumulation a first-order question for understanding Earth's evolution. Among the various geochemical proxies for the presence of O(2) in the environment, molecular fossils offer a unique record of O(2) where it was first produced and consumed by biology: in sunlit aquatic habitats. As steroid biosynthesis requires molecular oxygen, fossil steranes have been used to draw inferences about aerobiosis in the early Precambrian. However, better quantitative constraints on the O(2) requirement of this biochemistry would clarify the implications of these molecular fossils for environmental conditions at the time of their production. Here we demonstrate that steroid biosynthesis is a microaerobic process, enabled by dissolved O(2) concentrations in the nanomolar range. We present evidence that microaerobic marine environments (where steroid biosynthesis was possible) could have been widespread and persistent for long periods of time prior to the earliest geologic and isotopic evidence for atmospheric O(2). In the late Archean, molecular oxygen likely cycled as a biogenic trace gas, much as compounds such as dimethylsulfide do today. PMID:21825157

  8. Microaerobic steroid biosynthesis and the molecular fossil record of Archean life

    PubMed Central

    Waldbauer, Jacob R.; Newman, Dianne K.; Summons, Roger E.

    2011-01-01

    The power of molecular oxygen to drive many crucial biogeochemical processes, from cellular respiration to rock weathering, makes reconstructing the history of its production and accumulation a first-order question for understanding Earth’s evolution. Among the various geochemical proxies for the presence of O2 in the environment, molecular fossils offer a unique record of O2 where it was first produced and consumed by biology: in sunlit aquatic habitats. As steroid biosynthesis requires molecular oxygen, fossil steranes have been used to draw inferences about aerobiosis in the early Precambrian. However, better quantitative constraints on the O2 requirement of this biochemistry would clarify the implications of these molecular fossils for environmental conditions at the time of their production. Here we demonstrate that steroid biosynthesis is a microaerobic process, enabled by dissolved O2 concentrations in the nanomolar range. We present evidence that microaerobic marine environments (where steroid biosynthesis was possible) could have been widespread and persistent for long periods of time prior to the earliest geologic and isotopic evidence for atmospheric O2. In the late Archean, molecular oxygen likely cycled as a biogenic trace gas, much as compounds such as dimethylsulfide do today. PMID:21825157

  9. First Quaternary Fossil Record of Caecilians from a Mexican Archaeological Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wake, Thomas A.; Wake, Marvalee H.; Lesure, Richard G.

    1999-07-01

    A single vertebra from an Early Formative period archaeological site in coastal Chiapas, México, is identified as belonging to the amphibian Dermophis mexicanus (Duméril and Bibron) 1841 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae). The vertebra was recovered from deposits dated to approximately 1200-1350 B.C. The specimen represents the first Quaternary fossil record for gymnophiones. Its presence suggests the possible role of the species as a bioturbator. Its recovery is further evidence of the utility of fine-grained archaeological recovery techniques.

  10. Multi-year record of atmospheric mercury at Dumont d'Urville, East Antarctic coast: continental outflow and oceanic influences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Angot, Hélène; Dion, Iris; Vogel, Nicolas; Legrand, Michel; Magand, Olivier; Dommergue, Aurélien

    2016-07-01

    Under the framework of the Global Mercury Observation System (GMOS) project, a 3.5-year record of atmospheric gaseous elemental mercury (Hg(0)) has been gathered at Dumont d'Urville (DDU, 66°40' S, 140°01' E, 43 m above sea level) on the East Antarctic coast. Additionally, surface snow samples were collected in February 2009 during a traverse between Concordia Station located on the East Antarctic plateau and DDU. The record of atmospheric Hg(0) at DDU reveals particularities that are not seen at other coastal sites: a gradual decrease of concentrations over the course of winter, and a daily maximum concentration around midday in summer. Additionally, total mercury concentrations in surface snow samples were particularly elevated near DDU (up to 194.4 ng L-1) as compared to measurements at other coastal Antarctic sites. These differences can be explained by the more frequent arrival of inland air masses at DDU than at other coastal sites. This confirms the influence of processes observed on the Antarctic plateau on the cycle of atmospheric mercury at a continental scale, especially in areas subject to recurrent katabatic winds. DDU is also influenced by oceanic air masses and our data suggest that the ocean plays a dual role on Hg(0) concentrations. The open ocean may represent a source of atmospheric Hg(0) in summer whereas the sea-ice surface may provide reactive halogens in spring that can oxidize Hg(0). This paper also discusses implications for coastal Antarctic ecosystems and for the cycle of atmospheric mercury in high southern latitudes.

  11. Assessment of the clumped isotope composition of fossil bone carbonate as a recorder of subsurface temperatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suarez, Marina B.; Passey, Benjamin H.

    2014-09-01

    Bone is susceptible to early diagenesis, and its carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions have been suggested to reflect conditions in the soil environment and shallow subsurface during fossilization. This implies open-system recrystallization involving mass exchange of carbon and oxygen among bioapatite, soil water, and DIC. Such recrystallization would also redistribute isotopic clumping (including 13C-18O bonds), leading to the possibility that the carbonate clumped isotope compositions of fossil bone record ground temperature during early diagenesis. We assess this possibility by studying Quaternary mammalian fossil bone from subtropical to polar latitudes: if recrystallization is early and pervasive, clumped isotope derived temperatures, T(Δ47), should closely mirror latitudinal gradients in ground temperature. Excluding results from a mummified specimen yielding T(Δ47) = 38 °C (that is, indistinguishable from mammalian body temperature), we find that T(Δ47) values are intermediate between mammalian body temperature and ground temperature, suggesting partial recrystallization of bone carbonate. XRD analyses show that the nature and extent of diagenesis varies among the samples and does not relate in a straightforward manner to T(Δ47). No clear correlation exists between T(Δ47) and mean annual temperature or mean warm season temperature. Furthermore, bone tends to retain the 18O-enriched signature of body water, suggesting incomplete oxygen isotope exchange with meteoric waters. Incomplete carbon and oxygen isotope exchange between bone carbonate and soil waters is also indicated for a set of late Miocene bone-enamel pairs from a sequence of stacked paleosols in northern China. Analysis of bone as old as Early Cretaceous shows that bone carbonate is susceptible to later diagenesis at elevated burial temperatures, although T(Δ47) does not closely conform to maximum burial temperature, again suggesting partial recrystallization, or recrystallization during

  12. Preservation of key biomolecules in the fossil record: current knowledge and future challenges.

    PubMed Central

    Bada, J L; Wang, X S; Hamilton, H

    1999-01-01

    preservation in the fossil record. PMID:10091249

  13. Holocene records of geomagnetic field behavior from a north-south transect along the western Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brachfeld, S. A.; Shah, D. P.; St-Onge, M.; St-Onge, G.

    2013-12-01

    Geochronology is inherently difficult when working with Antarctic margin sediments. Radiocarbon dating and oxygen isotope stratigraphy are challenging or impossible in sites with poor preservation of biogenic calcite. Radiocarbon dating of the acid insoluble organic matter (AIOM) is further complicated by organically lean sediment and the presence of reworked organic carbon or detrital carbon from sedimentary rocks. These complications limit the ability to interpret a paleoclimate record. Geomagnetic paleointensity dating is a proven 'tuning' technique that has been successfully applied in several studies around the Antarctic margin. However, the reference curves to which these sites were tuned were constructed primarily from Northern Hemisphere data. Here we present paleomagnetic secular variation (PSV) and relative paleointensity (RPI) data from three Antarctic Peninsula sites that possess independent chronologies and which have moderate to ultra-high sedimentation rates (40 - 700 cm/ka). Maxwell Bay, located in the volcanic South Shetland Islands, is an ultra-high-resolution site with strongly magnetic sediments from which the Shallow Drilling (SHALDRIL) program recovered a 108-m record spanning the last 14 ka. Outer Barilari Bay and Hugo Island Trough, which lie to the South along the western Antarctic Peninsula, are moderate resolution sites with a high proportion of biogenic silica. Maxwell Bay and Bariliari Bay are unique in that they possess homogenous sediment and uniform magnetic mineral assemblages, while also preserving biogenic calcite, a rare combination on the Antarctic margin. All three sites preserve strong, stable remanent magnetizations with an easily isolated characteristic component and MAD values generally < 2°, with the exception of turbidites, intervals with abundant dropstones, and biosiliceous ooze intervals. Inclination values fluctuate between the present-day value at the cores sites (-58°) and the geomagnetic axial dipole inclination

  14. Evolutionary timescale of monocots determined by the fossilized birth-death model using a large number of fossil records.

    PubMed

    Eguchi, Satoshi; Tamura, Minoru N

    2016-05-01

    Although the phylogenetic relationships between monocot orders are sufficiently understood, a timescale of their evolution is needed. Several studies on molecular clock dating are available, but their results have been biased by their calibration schemes. Recently, the fossilized birth-death model, a type of Bayesian dating method, was proposed, and it does not require prior calibration and allows the use all available fossils. Using this model, we conducted divergence-time estimations of monocots to explore their evolutionary timeline without calibration bias. This is the first application of this model to seed plants. The dataset contained the matK and rbcL chloroplast genes of 118 monocot genera covering all extant orders. We employed information from 247 monocot fossils, which exceeded previous dating analyses that used a maximum of 12 monocot fossils. The crown group of monocots was dated to approximately the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous periods, and most extant monocot orders were estimated to diverge throughout the Early Cretaceous. Our results overlapped with the divergence time of insect lineages, such as beetles and flies, suggesting an association with pollinators in early monocot evolution. In addition, we proposed three new orders based on divergence time: Orchidales separated from Asparagales and Tofieldiales and Arales separated from Aslimatales. PMID:27061096

  15. Microbial fossil record of rocks from the Ross Desert, Antarctica: implications in the search for past life on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wierzchos, Jacek; Ascaso, Carmen

    2002-01-01

    Cryptoendolithic microbial communities living within Antarctic rocks are an example of survival in an extremely cold and dry environment. The extinction of these micro-organisms formerly colonizing sandstone in the Mount Fleming area (Ross Desert), was probably provoked by the hostile environment. This is considered to be a good terrestrial analogue of the first stage of the disappearance of possible life on early Mars. To date, only macroscopically observed indirect biomarkers of the past activity of cryptoendoliths in Antarctic rocks have been described. The present paper confirms, for the first time, the existence of cryptoendolith microbial fossils within these sandstone rocks. The novel in situ application of scanning electron microscopy with backscattered electron imaging and simultaneous use of X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy allowed the clear detection of microfossils left behind by Antarctic endoliths. Careful interpretation of the morphological features of cells, such as preserved cell walls in algae, fungi and bacteria, cytoplasm elements such as chloroplast membranes in algae and organic matter traces, mineral associations, and the spatial context of these structures all point to their identification as cryptoendolith microfossils. This type of investigation will prompt the development of research strategies aimed at locating and identifying the signs that Martian microbiota, probably only bacteria if they existed, may have been left for us to see.

  16. Extinction during evolutionary radiations: reconciling the fossil record with molecular phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2009-12-01

    Recent application of time-varying birth-death models to molecular phylogenies suggests that a decreasing diversification rate can only be observed if there was a decreasing speciation rate coupled with extremely low or no extinction. However, from a paleontological perspective, zero extinction rates during evolutionary radiations seem unlikely. Here, with a more comprehensive set of computer simulations, we show that substantial extinction can occur without erasing the signal of decreasing diversification rate in a molecular phylogeny. We also find, in agreement with the previous work, that a decrease in diversification rate cannot be observed in a molecular phylogeny with an increasing extinction rate alone. Further, we find that the ability to observe decreasing diversification rates in molecular phylogenies is controlled (in part) by the ratio of the initial speciation rate (Lambda) to the extinction rate (Mu) at equilibrium (the LiMe ratio), and not by their absolute values. Here we show in principle, how estimates of initial speciation rates may be calculated using both the fossil record and the shape of lineage through time plots derived from molecular phylogenies. This is important because the fossil record provides more reliable estimates of equilibrium extinction rates than initial speciation rates.

  17. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records.

    PubMed

    Kidwell, Susan M

    2015-04-21

    With overwhelming evidence of change in habitats, biologists today must assume that few, if any, study areas are natural and that biological variability is superimposed on trends rather than stationary means. Paleobiological data from the youngest sedimentary record, including death assemblages actively accumulating on modern land surfaces and seabeds, provide unique information on the status of present-day species, communities, and biomes over the last few decades to millennia and on their responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Key advances have established the accuracy and resolving power of paleobiological information derived from naturally preserved remains and of proxy evidence for environmental conditions and sample age so that fossil data can both implicate and exonerate human stressors as the drivers of biotic change and permit the effects of multiple stressors to be disentangled. Legacy effects from Industrial and even pre-Industrial anthropogenic extirpations, introductions, (de)nutrification, and habitat conversion commonly emerge as the primary factors underlying the present-day status of populations and communities; within the last 2 million years, climate change has rarely been sufficient to drive major extinction pulses absent other human pressures, which are now manifold. Young fossil records also provide rigorous access to the baseline composition and dynamics of modern-day biota under pre-Industrial conditions, where insights include the millennial-scale persistence of community structures, the dominant role of physical environmental conditions rather than biotic interactions in determining community composition and disassembly, and the existence of naturally alternating states.

  18. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records.

    PubMed

    Kidwell, Susan M

    2015-04-21

    With overwhelming evidence of change in habitats, biologists today must assume that few, if any, study areas are natural and that biological variability is superimposed on trends rather than stationary means. Paleobiological data from the youngest sedimentary record, including death assemblages actively accumulating on modern land surfaces and seabeds, provide unique information on the status of present-day species, communities, and biomes over the last few decades to millennia and on their responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Key advances have established the accuracy and resolving power of paleobiological information derived from naturally preserved remains and of proxy evidence for environmental conditions and sample age so that fossil data can both implicate and exonerate human stressors as the drivers of biotic change and permit the effects of multiple stressors to be disentangled. Legacy effects from Industrial and even pre-Industrial anthropogenic extirpations, introductions, (de)nutrification, and habitat conversion commonly emerge as the primary factors underlying the present-day status of populations and communities; within the last 2 million years, climate change has rarely been sufficient to drive major extinction pulses absent other human pressures, which are now manifold. Young fossil records also provide rigorous access to the baseline composition and dynamics of modern-day biota under pre-Industrial conditions, where insights include the millennial-scale persistence of community structures, the dominant role of physical environmental conditions rather than biotic interactions in determining community composition and disassembly, and the existence of naturally alternating states. PMID:25901315

  19. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records

    PubMed Central

    Kidwell, Susan M.

    2015-01-01

    With overwhelming evidence of change in habitats, biologists today must assume that few, if any, study areas are natural and that biological variability is superimposed on trends rather than stationary means. Paleobiological data from the youngest sedimentary record, including death assemblages actively accumulating on modern land surfaces and seabeds, provide unique information on the status of present-day species, communities, and biomes over the last few decades to millennia and on their responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Key advances have established the accuracy and resolving power of paleobiological information derived from naturally preserved remains and of proxy evidence for environmental conditions and sample age so that fossil data can both implicate and exonerate human stressors as the drivers of biotic change and permit the effects of multiple stressors to be disentangled. Legacy effects from Industrial and even pre-Industrial anthropogenic extirpations, introductions, (de)nutrification, and habitat conversion commonly emerge as the primary factors underlying the present-day status of populations and communities; within the last 2 million years, climate change has rarely been sufficient to drive major extinction pulses absent other human pressures, which are now manifold. Young fossil records also provide rigorous access to the baseline composition and dynamics of modern-day biota under pre-Industrial conditions, where insights include the millennial-scale persistence of community structures, the dominant role of physical environmental conditions rather than biotic interactions in determining community composition and disassembly, and the existence of naturally alternating states. PMID:25901315

  20. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery

    PubMed Central

    Nicholson, David B.; Mayhew, Peter J.; Ross, Andrew J.

    2015-01-01

    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well. PMID:26176667

  1. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery.

    PubMed

    Nicholson, David B; Mayhew, Peter J; Ross, Andrew J

    2015-01-01

    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well.

  2. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery.

    PubMed

    Nicholson, David B; Mayhew, Peter J; Ross, Andrew J

    2015-01-01

    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well. PMID:26176667

  3. First direct evidence of a vertebrate three-level trophic chain in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kriwet, Jürgen; Witzmann, Florian; Klug, Stefanie; Heidtke, Ulrich H J

    2008-01-22

    We describe the first known occurrence of a Permian shark specimen preserving two temnospondyl amphibians in its digestive tract as well as the remains of an acanthodian fish, which was ingested by one of the temnospondyls. This exceptional find provides for the first time direct evidence of a vertebrate three-level food chain in the fossil record with the simultaneous preservation of three trophic levels. Our analysis shows that small-sized Lower Permian xenacanthid sharks of the genus Triodus preyed on larval piscivorous amphibians. The recorded trophic interaction can be explained by the adaptation of certain xenacanthids to fully freshwater environments and the fact that in these same environments, large temnospondyls occupied the niche of modern crocodiles. This unique faunal association has not been documented after the Permian and Triassic. Therefore, this Palaeozoic three-level food chain provides strong and independent support for changes in aquatic trophic chain structures through time. PMID:17971323

  4. Molecular decay of the tooth gene Enamelin (ENAM) mirrors the loss of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Meredith, Robert W; Gatesy, John; Murphy, William J; Ryder, Oliver A; Springer, Mark S

    2009-09-01

    Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of "molecular fossils" of the enamelin (ENAM) gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra) with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the "molecular fossil" hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (omega) to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos) even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory. PMID:19730686

  5. 2015 Antarctic Maximum Sea Ice Extent Breaks Streak of Record Highs

    NASA Video Gallery

    Antarctic sea ice likely reached its annual maximum extent on Oct. 6, barring a late season surge. This video shows the evolution of the sea ice cover of the Southern Ocean from its minimum yearly ...

  6. Calcification and silicification: fossilization potential of cyanobacteria from stromatolites of Niuafo'ou's Caldera Lakes (Tonga) and implications for the early fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kremer, Barbara; Kazmierczak, Józef; Lukomska-Kowalczyk, Maja; Kempe, Stephan

    2012-06-01

    Calcification and silicification processes of cyanobacterial mats that form stromatolites in two caldera lakes of Niuafo'ou Island (Vai Lahi and Vai Si'i) were evaluated, and their importance as analogues for interpreting the early fossil record are discussed. It has been shown that the potential for morphological preservation of Niuafo'ou cyanobacteria is highly dependent on the timing and type of mineral phase involved in the fossilization process. Four main modes of mineralization of cyanobacteria organic parts have been recognized: (i) primary early postmortem calcification by aragonite nanograins that transform quickly into larger needle-like crystals and almost totally destroy the cellular structures, (ii) primary early postmortem silicification of almost intact cyanobacterial cells that leave a record of spectacularly well-preserved cellular structures, (iii) replacement by silica of primary aragonite that has already recrystallized and obliterated the cellular structures, (iv) occasional replacement of primary aragonite precipitated in the mucopolysaccharide sheaths and extracellular polymeric substances by Al-Mg-Fe silicates. These observations suggest that the extremely scarce earliest fossil record may, in part, be the result of (a) secondary replacement by silica of primary carbonate minerals (aragonite, calcite, siderite), which, due to recrystallization, had already annihilated the cellular morphology of the mineralized microbiota or (b) relatively late primary silicification of already highly degraded and no longer morphologically identifiable microbial remains.

  7. Calcification and Silicification: Fossilization Potential of Cyanobacteria from Stromatolites of Niuafo‘ou's Caldera Lakes (Tonga) and Implications for the Early Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Kazmierczak, Józef; Łukomska-Kowalczyk, Maja; Kempe, Stephan

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Calcification and silicification processes of cyanobacterial mats that form stromatolites in two caldera lakes of Niuafo‘ou Island (Vai Lahi and Vai Si‘i) were evaluated, and their importance as analogues for interpreting the early fossil record are discussed. It has been shown that the potential for morphological preservation of Niuafo‘ou cyanobacteria is highly dependent on the timing and type of mineral phase involved in the fossilization process. Four main modes of mineralization of cyanobacteria organic parts have been recognized: (i) primary early postmortem calcification by aragonite nanograins that transform quickly into larger needle-like crystals and almost totally destroy the cellular structures, (ii) primary early postmortem silicification of almost intact cyanobacterial cells that leave a record of spectacularly well-preserved cellular structures, (iii) replacement by silica of primary aragonite that has already recrystallized and obliterated the cellular structures, (iv) occasional replacement of primary aragonite precipitated in the mucopolysaccharide sheaths and extracellular polymeric substances by Al-Mg-Fe silicates. These observations suggest that the extremely scarce earliest fossil record may, in part, be the result of (a) secondary replacement by silica of primary carbonate minerals (aragonite, calcite, siderite), which, due to recrystallization, had already annihilated the cellular morphology of the mineralized microbiota or (b) relatively late primary silicification of already highly degraded and no longer morphologically identifiable microbial remains. Key Words: Stromatolites—Cyanobacteria—Calcification—Silicification—Niuafo‘ou (Tonga)—Archean. Astrobiology 12, 535–548. PMID:22794297

  8. A 300-million-year record of atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil plant cuticles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Retallack, Gregory J.

    2001-05-01

    To understand better the link between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate over geological time, records of past CO2 are reconstructed from geochemical proxies. Although these records have provided us with a broad picture of CO2 variation throughout the Phanerozoic eon (the past 544Myr), inconsistencies and gaps remain that still need to be resolved. Here I present a continuous 300-Myr record of stomatal abundance from fossil leaves of four genera of plants that are closely related to the present-day Ginkgo tree. Using the known relationship between leaf stomatal abundance and growing season CO2 concentrations, I reconstruct past atmospheric CO2 concentrations. For the past 300Myr, only two intervals of low CO2 (<1,000p.p.m.v.) are inferred, both of which coincide with known ice ages in Neogene (1-8Myr) and early Permian (275-290Myr) times. But for most of the Mesozoic era (65-250Myr), CO2 levels were high (1,000-2,000p.p.m.v.), with transient excursions to even higher CO2 (>2,000p.p.m.v.) concentrations. These results are consistent with some reconstructions of past CO2 (refs 1, 2) and palaeotemperature records, but suggest that CO2 reconstructions based on carbon isotope proxies may be compromised by episodic outbursts of isotopically light methane. These results support the role of water vapour, methane and CO2 in greenhouse climate warming over the past 300Myr.

  9. A 300-million-year record of atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil plant cuticles.

    PubMed

    Retallack, G J

    2001-05-17

    To understand better the link between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate over geological time, records of past CO2 are reconstructed from geochemical proxies. Although these records have provided us with a broad picture of CO2 variation throughout the Phanerozoic eon (the past 544 Myr), inconsistencies and gaps remain that still need to be resolved. Here I present a continuous 300-Myr record of stomatal abundance from fossil leaves of four genera of plants that are closely related to the present-day Ginkgo tree. Using the known relationship between leaf stomatal abundance and growing season CO2 concentrations, I reconstruct past atmospheric CO2 concentrations. For the past 300 Myr, only two intervals of low CO2 (<1,000 p.p.m.v.) are inferred, both of which coincide with known ice ages in Neogene (1-8 Myr) and early Permian (275-290 Myr) times. But for most of the Mesozoic era (65-250 Myr), CO2 levels were high (1,000-2,000 p.p.m.v.), with transient excursions to even higher CO2 (>2,000 p.p.m.v.) concentrations. These results are consistent with some reconstructions of past CO2 (refs 1, 2) and palaeotemperature records, but suggest that CO2 reconstructions based on carbon isotope proxies may be compromised by episodic outbursts of isotopically light methane. These results support the role of water vapour, methane and CO2 in greenhouse climate warming over the past 300 Myr.

  10. The taphonomy of unmineralised Palaeozoic fossils preserved as siliciclastic moulds and casts, and their utility in assessing the interaction between environmental change and the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacGabhann, Breandán; Schiffbauer, James; Hagadorn, James; Van Roy, Peter; Lynch, Edward; Morrsion, Liam; Murray, John

    2015-04-01

    biopolymers, and that these tissues were preferentially fossilised by the formation of an early diagenic mould directly on the organic surfaces. Excess divalent iron ions, produced during decay of more labile tissues by means of bacterial iron reduction, would have adsorbed to anionic functional groups in the biopolymeric tissues. This would have provided a ready substrate for the formation and growth of such an early diagenic mineralised mould, including aluminosilicate minerals produced via reaction with seawater silica and metal ions, and iron sulphide minerals produced via reaction with hydrogen sulphide and free sulphur produced from seawater sulphate through bacterial sulphate reduction associated with further decay. Subsequent weathering would have oxidised such iron sulphides to oxides and oxyhydroxides. This taphonomic model supports the lack of utility of the eldonid palaeobiological record in analysing environmental influence on biological communities, due to the lack of preservation of key anatomical components. However, it also suggests that the very occurrence of fossils preserved in this style is dependent on extrinsic palaeoenvironmental factors - including pH, Eh, and the concentration of other ions in the contemporaneous seawater. Analyses of the distribution of fossils preserved in this style may therefore provide information on ambient conditions which may have affected the distribution of contemporaneous mineralised fossils, potentially allowing a more complete analysis of the effects of palaeoenvironmental change on fossil ecosystems.

  11. Filamentous fabrics in low-temperature mineral assemblages: are they fossil biomarkers? Implications for the search for a subsurface fossil record on the early Earth and Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, B. A.; Farmer, J. D.

    2000-09-01

    The subsurface has been recognized as a possible habitat for microbial life on Mars. An analogous fossil record of subsurface life is nearly missing on Earth. Here we present evidence of the widespread occurrence of such a record: tubular filamentous structures with typical core diameters of 1- 2 μm were found as inclusions in minerals deposited from low- T (<100°C) aqueous fluids in subsurface environments at >140 localities worldwide. Filaments are frequently organized in composite structures with architectures similar to microbial mats. Filaments thickly encrusted by minerals exhibit gravity-oriented structures of macroscopic dimensions that are similar to stalactites. Environments of formation are sites of low- T water circulation in macroporous rocks such as volcanics, oxidized ores, limestone solution cavities and cavernous macrofossils. The age of occurrence ranges from Precambrian to Subrecent. We interpret the filamentous structures as permineralized and encrusted microbial filaments based on the following arguments: tubular construction of filaments with constant core diameters typical of microbes ( 1.5±1.1 μm), coalescence of filaments to form mat-like structures, gravity draping of micron-thin filaments indicating an originally flexible consistency, and restriction to low- T mineral assemblages. These filamentous structures formed in subsurface environments are similar in size, morphology and construction to fossilized microbes observed in modern terrestrial and marine thermal springs. This newly recognized fossil record of subterranean microbial life opens up new perspectives in the study of the paleobiology of the terrestrial subsurface and in the exploration for fossil life on Mars. Potential host rocks on Mars include major nonsedimentary units such as volcanics and impactites.

  12. An ecometric analysis of the fossil mammal record of the Turkana Basin

    PubMed Central

    Žliobaitė, Indrė; Kaya, Ferhat; Bibi, Faysal; Bobe, René; Leakey, Louise; Leakey, Meave; Patterson, David; Rannikko, Janina; Werdelin, Lars

    2016-01-01

    Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a ‘species factory’, generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87–1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’. PMID:27298463

  13. Live coral cover in the fossil record: an example from Holocene reefs of the Dominican Republic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lescinsky, H.; Titus, B.; Hubbard, D.

    2012-06-01

    Fossil reefs hold important ecological information that can provide a prehuman baseline for understanding recent anthropogenic changes in reefs systems. The most widely used proxy for reef "health," however, is live coral cover, and this has not been quantified in the fossil record because it is difficult to establish that even adjacent corals were alive at the same time. This study uses microboring and taphonomic proxies to differentiate between live and dead corals along well-defined time surfaces in Holocene reefs of the Enriquillo Valley, Dominican Republic. At Cañada Honda, live coral cover ranged from 59 to 80% along a contemporaneous surface buried by a storm layer, and the reef, as a whole had 33-80% live cover within the branching, mixed, massive and platy zones. These values equal or exceed those in the Dominican Republic and Caribbean today or reported decades ago. The values from the western Dominican Republic provide a geologic baseline against which modern anthropogenic changes in Caribbean reefs can be considered.

  14. Balsscallichirus Sakai, 2011 (Decapoda: Axiidea: Callianassidae) in the fossil record: systematics and palaeobiogeography

    PubMed Central

    Hyžný, Matúš

    2016-01-01

    The fossil record of the ghost shrimp genus Balsscallichirus Sakai, 2011 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Callianassidae) is revised. Barnardcallichirus Sakai, 2011 and Tirmizicallichirus Sakai, 2011 are considered subjective synonyms of Balsscallichirus. Based on the examination of extant species it is argued that the morphology of the major cheliped merus, in combination with other hard part morphology characters, is sufficient for assignment of the fossil material into the genus. Main identifying characters are on merus which is keeled along its midline and its lower half is tuberculated; its lower margin possesses broad proximal meral hook continuing into a lobe distally; the entire lower margin is subdivided into numerous irregularly spaced spines. Three species, Callianassa sismondai A. Milne-Edwards, 1860, C. floriana Glaessner, 1928, and Podocallichirus laepaensis Hyžný & Muñiz, 2012, originally described from the Miocene of Italy, Austria and Spain, respectively, are assigned to Balsscallichirus herein. Neocallichirus wellsi Schweitzer, Feldmann & Gingerich, 2004 from the Upper Eocene of Pakistan is tentatively assigned to that genus as well. Spatial and temporal distribution of the genus indicates that at least since the Oligocene, and possibly even sooner (the Late Eocene), the genus has been restricted to the Western Tethys Region. Later, it migrated also into West Atlantic establishing present day communities. PMID:27499568

  15. Fossil records of subsection Pinus (genus Pinus, Pinaceae) from the Cenozoic in Japan.

    PubMed

    Yamada, Toshihiro; Yamada, Mariko; Tsukagoshi, Minoru

    2014-03-01

    Extant pines of subsection Pinus (section Pinus, genus Pinus, Pinaceae) are predominantly distributed in Eastern Asia. However, the extent of diversification in the section has yet to be fully clarified. We reviewed fossil records of subsection Pinus from Japan and collected permineralized materials, in which anatomical details are preserved for better understanding of the diversification. Our results suggest that this subsection appeared in Japan no earlier than the Middle Eocene, with extant species (i.e., Pinus densiflora and Pinus thunbergii) appearing around the beginning of the Pleistocene. Pinus fujiii (Early Miocene to Early Pleistocene) is inferred to have a close affinity to P. thunbergii based on the medial arrangement of its leaf resin canals. Additionally, P. fujiii has a similar cone morphology to those of extant species living in China, bridging the morphological gap between P. thunbergii and Chinese relatives of P. thunbergii as inferred by molecular phylogenetic analyses. Our results also suggest that taxonomic revisions of Pinus miocenica and Pinus oligolepis are required among the Japanese fossil species reported to date.

  16. An ecometric analysis of the fossil mammal record of the Turkana Basin.

    PubMed

    Fortelius, Mikael; Žliobaitė, Indrė; Kaya, Ferhat; Bibi, Faysal; Bobe, René; Leakey, Louise; Leakey, Meave; Patterson, David; Rannikko, Janina; Werdelin, Lars

    2016-07-01

    Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a 'species factory', generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87-1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'.

  17. An ecometric analysis of the fossil mammal record of the Turkana Basin.

    PubMed

    Fortelius, Mikael; Žliobaitė, Indrė; Kaya, Ferhat; Bibi, Faysal; Bobe, René; Leakey, Louise; Leakey, Meave; Patterson, David; Rannikko, Janina; Werdelin, Lars

    2016-07-01

    Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a 'species factory', generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87-1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298463

  18. Insect-damaged fossil leaves record food web response to ancient climate change and extinction.

    PubMed

    Wilf, P

    2008-01-01

    Plants and herbivorous insects have dominated terrestrial ecosystems for over 300 million years. Uniquely in the fossil record, foliage with well-preserved insect damage offers abundant and diverse information both about producers and about ecological and sometimes taxonomic groups of consumers. These data are ideally suited to investigate food web response to environmental perturbations, and they represent an invaluable deep-time complement to neoecological studies of global change. Correlations between feeding diversity and temperature, between herbivory and leaf traits that are modulated by climate, and between insect diversity and plant diversity can all be investigated in deep time. To illustrate, I emphasize recent work on the time interval from the latest Cretaceous through the middle Eocene (67-47 million years ago (Ma)), including two significant events that affected life: the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65.5 Ma) and its ensuing recovery; and globally warming temperatures across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (55.8 Ma). Climatic effects predicted from neoecology generally hold true in these deep-time settings. Rising temperature is associated with increased herbivory in multiple studies, a result with major predictive importance for current global warming. Diverse floras are usually associated with diverse insect damage; however, recovery from the end-Cretaceous extinction reveals uncorrelated plant and insect diversity as food webs rebuilt chaotically from a drastically simplified state. Calibration studies from living forests are needed to improve interpretation of the fossil data.

  19. Tropical tales of polar ice: evidence of Last Interglacial polar ice sheet retreat recorded by fossil reefs of the granitic Seychelles islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutton, Andrea; Webster, Jody M.; Zwartz, Dan; Lambeck, Kurt; Wohlfarth, Barbara

    2015-01-01

    In the search for a record of eustatic sea level change on glacial-interglacial timescales, the Seychelles ranks as one of the best places on the planet to study. Owing to its location with respect to the former margins of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets that wax and wane on orbital cycles, the local-or relative-sea level history is predicted to lie within a few meters of the globally averaged eustatic signal during the Last Interglacial period. We have surveyed and dated Last Interglacial fossil corals to ascertain peak sea level and hence infer maximum retreat of polar ice sheets during this time interval. We observe a pattern of gradually rising sea level in the Seychelles between ˜129 and 125 thousand years ago (ka), with peak eustatic sea level attained after 125 ka at 7.6 ± 1.7 m higher than present. After accounting for thermal expansion and loss of mountain glaciers, this sea-level budget would require ˜5-8 m of polar ice sheet contribution, relative to today's volume, of which only ˜2 m came from the Greenland ice sheet. This result clearly identifies the Antarctic ice sheet as a significant source of melt water, most likely derived from one of the unstable, marine-based sectors in the West and/or East Antarctic ice sheet. Furthermore, the establishment of a +5.9 ± 1.7 m eustatic sea level position by 128.6 ± 0.8 ka would require that partial AIS collapse was coincident with the onset of the sea level highstand.

  20. New Biogeographic insight into Bauhinia s.l. (Leguminosae): integration from fossil records and molecular analyses

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Given that most species that have ever existed on earth are extinct, it stands to reason that the evolutionary history can be better understood with fossil taxa. Bauhinia is a typical genus of pantropical intercontinental disjunction among the Asian, African, and American continents. Geographic distribution patterns are better recognized when fossil records and molecular sequences are combined in the analyses. Here, we describe a new macrofossil species of Bauhinia from the Upper Miocene Xiaolongtan Formation in Wenshan County, Southeast Yunnan, China, and elucidate the biogeographic significance through the analyses of molecules and fossils. Results Morphometric analysis demonstrates that the leaf shapes of B. acuminata, B. championii, B. chalcophylla, B. purpurea, and B. podopetala closely resemble the leaf shapes of the new finding fossil. Phylogenetic relationships among the Bauhinia species were reconstructed using maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference, which inferred that species in Bauhinia species are well-resolved into three main groups. Divergence times were estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method under a relaxed clock, and inferred that the stem diversification time of Bauhinia was ca. 62.7 Ma. The Asian lineage first diverged at ca. 59.8 Ma, followed by divergence of the Africa lineage starting during the late Eocene, whereas that of the neotropical lineage starting during the middle Miocene. Conclusions Hypotheses relying on vicariance or continental history to explain pantropical disjunct distributions are dismissed because they require mostly Palaeogene and older tectonic events. We suggest that Bauhinia originated in the middle Paleocene in Laurasia, probably in Asia, implying a possible Tethys Seaway origin or an “Out of Tropical Asia”, and dispersal of legumes. Its present pantropical disjunction resulted from disruption of the boreotropical flora by climatic cooling after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal

  1. Fossil invertebrates records in cave sediments and paleoenvironmental assessments - a study of four cave sites from Romanian Carpathians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moldovan, O. T.; Constantin, S.; Panaiotu, C.; Roban, R. D.; Frenzel, P.; Miko, L.

    2016-01-01

    Fossil invertebrates from cave sediments have been recently described as a potential new proxy for paleoenvironment and used in cross-correlations with alternate proxy records from cave deposits. Here we present the results of a fossil invertebrates study in four caves from two climatically different regions of the Romanian Carpathians, to complement paleoenvironmental data previously reported. Oribatid mites and ostracods are the most common invertebrates in the studied cave sediments. Some of the identified taxa are new to science, and most of them are indicative for either warm and/or cold stages or dry and/or wetter oscillations. In two caves the fossil invertebrates records indicate rapid climate oscillations during times known for a relatively stable climate. By corroborating the fossil invertebrates' record with the information given by magnetic properties and sediment structures, complementary data on past vegetation, temperatures and hydraulic regimes could be gathered. This paper analyzes the potential of fossil invertebrate records as a paleoenvironmental proxy, potential problems and pitfalls.

  2. A dinosaurian facial deformity and the first occurrence of ameloblastoma in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dumbravă, Mihai D; Rothschild, Bruce M; Weishampel, David B; Csiki-Sava, Zoltán; Andrei, Răzvan A; Acheson, Katharine A; Codrea, Vlad A

    2016-01-01

    Despite documentation of various types of neoplastic pathologies encountered in the vertebrate fossil record, no ameloblastic tumours have been recognised so far. Ameloblastoma is a benign neoplasic tumour with a strong preponderance for the mandible. Here, we report for the first time the presence of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in the lower jaw of a specimen referred to the derived non-hadrosaurid hadrosauroid dinosaur Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus from the uppermost Cretaceous of the Haeg Basin in Romania. The location, external appearance and internal structure of the pathological outgrowth provide clear evidence for the diagnosis of ameloblastoma in Telmatosaurus. This report extends the range of pathologies encountered in hadrosauroid dinosaurs. In addition, recognition of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in a taxon lying close to the origin of 'duck-billed' hadrosaurid dinosaurs confirms the predisposition of this clade towards neoplasia pathologies already in its basal members. PMID:27377317

  3. A dinosaurian facial deformity and the first occurrence of ameloblastoma in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Dumbravă, Mihai D.; Rothschild, Bruce M.; Weishampel, David B.; Csiki-Sava, Zoltán; Andrei, Răzvan A.; Acheson, Katharine A.; Codrea, Vlad A.

    2016-01-01

    Despite documentation of various types of neoplastic pathologies encountered in the vertebrate fossil record, no ameloblastic tumours have been recognised so far. Ameloblastoma is a benign neoplasic tumour with a strong preponderance for the mandible. Here, we report for the first time the presence of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in the lower jaw of a specimen referred to the derived non-hadrosaurid hadrosauroid dinosaur Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus from the uppermost Cretaceous of the Haeg Basin in Romania. The location, external appearance and internal structure of the pathological outgrowth provide clear evidence for the diagnosis of ameloblastoma in Telmatosaurus. This report extends the range of pathologies encountered in hadrosauroid dinosaurs. In addition, recognition of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in a taxon lying close to the origin of ‘duck-billed’ hadrosaurid dinosaurs confirms the predisposition of this clade towards neoplasia pathologies already in its basal members. PMID:27377317

  4. Overgrowth competition between clades: implications for interpretation of the fossil record and overgrowth indices.

    PubMed

    Barnes, D K; Dick, M H

    2000-08-01

    Overgrowth interactions (2693 in total) were observed among three major groups (arguably clades) of bryozoans--cheilostomatids (57 species), ctenostomatids (3 species), and cyclostomatids (14 species). The bryozoans studied here occur in shallow water at high-temperate polar latitudes where they encrust hard substrata such as rock piles. The main study site was the intertidal and infralittoral zones of Kodiak Island, Alaska, but observations were also made in similar zones of South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. Cheilostomatids dominated the number of species, individuals, and interactions at all depths. Intraclade interactions formed 73.7% of the encounters for cheilostomatids, 1.6% for ctenostomatids, and 5.7% for cyclostomatids. The competitive ranking of the three clades was broadly ctenostomatids > cyclostomatids > cheilostomatids. Significantly, these results contradict all previous quantitative studies of bryozoan overgrowth, in which cheilostomatids are reported to overgrow cyclostomatids at a higher rate. From these studies and the literature, we calculated win indices to vary from 0 to 0.42 for living cyclostomatids, from 0.08 to 0.9 for living cheilostomatids, and from 0.25 to 0.75 for living ctenostomatids. The win indices of cyclostomatid and cheilostomatid clades show significantly more variation in living assemblages than in fossil assemblages. This disparity may be due to differential preservation (polar and subpolar assemblages last less than 4 years). The diversity was very high in terms of both species richness and interaction types (outcomes between competitor pairs). Comparison with the literature suggests the possibility that nearshore diversity of bryozoans may be bimodal (have two peaks) between high arctic and antarctic latitudes. Indices of success in overgrowth competition have been constructed in various ways. For cheilostomatids, the method of calculation had little influence on the ranking of

  5. Origin of the Eumetazoa: testing ecological predictions of molecular clocks against the Proterozoic fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peterson, Kevin J.; Butterfield, Nicholas J.

    2005-01-01

    Molecular clocks have the potential to shed light on the timing of early metazoan divergences, but differing algorithms and calibration points yield conspicuously discordant results. We argue here that competing molecular clock hypotheses should be testable in the fossil record, on the principle that fundamentally new grades of animal organization will have ecosystem-wide impacts. Using a set of seven nuclear-encoded protein sequences, we demonstrate the paraphyly of Porifera and calculate sponge/eumetazoan and cnidarian/bilaterian divergence times by using both distance [minimum evolution (ME)] and maximum likelihood (ML) molecular clocks; ME brackets the appearance of Eumetazoa between 634 and 604 Ma, whereas ML suggests it was between 867 and 748 Ma. Significantly, the ME, but not the ML, estimate is coincident with a major regime change in the Proterozoic acritarch record, including: (i) disappearance of low-diversity, evolutionarily static, pre-Ediacaran acanthomorphs; (ii) radiation of the high-diversity, short-lived Doushantuo-Pertatataka microbiota; and (iii) an order-of-magnitude increase in evolutionary turnover rate. We interpret this turnover as a consequence of the novel ecological challenges accompanying the evolution of the eumetazoan nervous system and gut. Thus, the more readily preserved microfossil record provides positive evidence for the absence of pre-Ediacaran eumetazoans and strongly supports the veracity, and therefore more general application, of the ME molecular clock.

  6. Hominin cognitive evolution: identifying patterns and processes in the fossil and archaeological record

    PubMed Central

    Shultz, Susanne; Nelson, Emma; Dunbar, Robin I. M.

    2012-01-01

    As only limited insight into behaviour is available from the archaeological record, much of our understanding of historical changes in human cognition is restricted to identifying changes in brain size and architecture. Using both absolute and residual brain size estimates, we show that hominin brain evolution was likely to be the result of a mix of processes; punctuated changes at approximately 100 kya, 1 Mya and 1.8 Mya are supplemented by gradual within-lineage changes in Homo erectus and Homo sapiens sensu lato. While brain size increase in Homo in Africa is a gradual process, migration of hominins into Eurasia is associated with step changes at approximately 400 kya and approximately 100 kya. We then demonstrate that periods of rapid change in hominin brain size are not temporally associated with changes in environmental unpredictability or with long-term palaeoclimate trends. Thus, we argue that commonly used global sea level or Indian Ocean dust palaeoclimate records provide little evidence for either the variability selection or aridity hypotheses explaining changes in hominin brain size. Brain size change at approximately 100 kya is coincident with demographic change and the appearance of fully modern language. However, gaps remain in our understanding of the external pressures driving encephalization, which will only be filled by novel applications of the fossil, palaeoclimatic and archaeological records. PMID:22734056

  7. Drivers of Deglacial and Holocene Sub-Antarctic Climate Variability Inferred from South Georgia Lake Sediment Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, S. J.; Rosqvist, G. N.; Leng, M. J.; Moreton, S. G.

    2013-12-01

    South Georgia (54-55°S, 36-38°W) straddles the boundary between Southern Hemisphere temperate and polar climatic regimes, lying 350km south of the Antarctic convergence and to the north of the present winter sea ice limit. Lake sediments from the island present a unique opportunity to identify the response of the terrestrial environment to major climatic shifts following deglaciation. Together with evidence of glacier fluctuations, lacustrine archives provide an important link between Antarctic ice core and Southern Ocean palaeoclimate records. Here, we present geochemical records from the sediments of two lakes on the Barff and Tonsberg peninsulas, spanning the transition from Termination I and through the Holocene. Our lake records, from the Tonsberg and Barff peninsulas on the north of the island, reveal a dramatic terrestrial response, but of opposite sign, to changes in the North Atlantic during Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1), the Bolling/Allerod (B/A) interval and Younger Dryas (YD), indicating a strong link between terrestrial sub-Antarctic and the Northern Hemisphere during deglaciation. The sediments support evidence from elsewhere in the region that the Southern Hemisphere westerlies shifted southwards during the early Holocene. Enhanced precipitation maintained a glacier in the upper catchment of the Barff lake between 12 and 8.5 cal. ka BP, whilst increased summer temperatures are inferred from higher organic carbon values. Aquatic productivity in the Barff lake peaks between 7 and 4 cal ka BP, coincident with evidence from marine records indicating increased sea ice and lower SSTs. This pattern is best explained by changing seasonality of local insolation, which appears to have become the dominant control on the climate of South Georgia during the Holocene.

  8. 'Unlocking the archive': Using photogrammetry of historic aerial photographs to extend the record of glacier change on the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clarke, Lucy; Fox, Adrian

    2014-05-01

    associated errors using an example glacier from the Antarctic Peninsula to highlight the suitability of this technique and demonstrate the data that can be obtained. The photogrammetric technique that is being employed for this research allows accurate measurements of surface elevation change on glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula over a 50 year-time span, enabling both spatial and temporal patterns of change and improving understanding of glacier response in this area. The use of this technique opens up possibilities for 'unlocking the archive' in other remote glacial areas where historic aerial photography exists but the collection of ground control points is limited. References: Fox, A. J. and Cziferszky, A. 2008. Unlocking the time capsule of historic aerial photography to measure changes in Antarctic Peninsula glaciers. Photogrammetric Record, 23 (121): 51-68. Hock, R., de Woul, M., Radic, V. and Dyurgerov, M. 2009. Mountain glaciers and ice caps around Antarctica make a large sea-level rise contribution. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L07501.

  9. Extreme Glacial Legacies: A Synthesis of the Antarctic Springtail Phylogeographic Record.

    PubMed

    McGaughran, Angela; Stevens, Mark I; Hogg, Ian D; Carapelli, Antonio

    2011-01-01

    We review current phylogeographic knowledge from across the Antarctic terrestrial landscape with a focus on springtail taxa. We describe consistent patterns of high genetic diversity and structure among populations which have persisted in glacial refugia across Antarctica over both short (10 Mya) timescales. Despite a general concordance of results among species, we explain why location is important in determining population genetic patterns within bioregions. We complete our review by drawing attention to the main limitations in the field of Antarctic phylogeography, namely that the scope of geographic focus is often lacking within studies, and that large gaps remain in our phylogeographic knowledge for most terrestrial groups. PMID:26467614

  10. Extreme Glacial Legacies: A Synthesis of the Antarctic Springtail Phylogeographic Record

    PubMed Central

    McGaughran, Angela; Stevens, Mark I.; Hogg, Ian D.; Carapelli, Antonio

    2011-01-01

    We review current phylogeographic knowledge from across the Antarctic terrestrial landscape with a focus on springtail taxa. We describe consistent patterns of high genetic diversity and structure among populations which have persisted in glacial refugia across Antarctica over both short (<2 Mya) and long (>10 Mya) timescales. Despite a general concordance of results among species, we explain why location is important in determining population genetic patterns within bioregions. We complete our review by drawing attention to the main limitations in the field of Antarctic phylogeography, namely that the scope of geographic focus is often lacking within studies, and that large gaps remain in our phylogeographic knowledge for most terrestrial groups. PMID:26467614

  11. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies

    PubMed Central

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a “knowledge bias” and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades. PMID:27192490

  12. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades.

  13. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades. PMID:27192490

  14. Recording of climate and diagenesis through sedimentary DNA and fossil pigments at Laguna Potrok Aike, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vuillemin, Aurèle; Ariztegui, Daniel; Leavitt, Peter R.; Bunting, Lynda; The Pasado Science Team

    2016-04-01

    Aquatic sediments record past climatic conditions while providing a wide range of ecological niches for microorganisms. In theory, benthic microbial community composition should depend on environmental features and geochemical conditions of surrounding sediments, as well as ontogeny of the subsurface environment as sediment degraded. In principle, DNA in sediments should be composed of ancient and extant microbial elements persisting at different degrees of preservation, although to date few studies have quantified the relative influence of each factor in regulating final composition of total sedimentary DNA assemblage. Here geomicrobiological and phylogenetic analyses of a Patagonian maar lake were used to indicate that the different sedimentary microbial assemblages derive from specific lacustrine regimes during defined climatic periods. Two climatic intervals (Mid-Holocene, 5 ka BP; Last Glacial Maximum, 25 ka BP) whose sediments harbored active microbial populations were sampled for a comparative environmental study based on fossil pigments and 16S rRNA gene sequences. The genetic assemblage recovered from the Holocene record revealed a microbial community displaying metabolic complementarities that allowed prolonged degradation of organic matter to methane. The series of Archaea identified throughout the Holocene record indicated an age-related stratification of these populations brought on by environmental selection during early diagenesis. These characteristics were associated with sediments resulting from endorheic lake conditions and stable pelagic regime, high evaporative stress and concomitant high algal productivity. In contrast, sulphate-reducing bacteria and lithotrophic Archaea were predominant in sediments dated from the Last Glacial Maximum, in which pelagic clays alternated with fine volcanic material characteristic of a lake level highstand and freshwater conditions, but reduced water column productivity. Comparison of sedimentary DNA composition

  15. Holocene climatic and oceanographic change of the western Antarctic Peninsula: expanding the paleo-record to the open shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leventer, A.; Domack, E. W.; Ishman, S. E.; Brachfeld, S. A.; Vernet, M.; Cape, M.; Rosenheim, B. E.; Gunter, M.; Vadman, K. J.; Santoro, J.

    2011-12-01

    Multi-proxy analyses conducted on a 4.2 meter marine sediment core from the Hugo Island Trough, an outer-shelf feature of the Palmer Deep outlet system located in the Western Antarctic Peninsula region, provide a record of regional paleoceanographic change over the past 11,000 years, and complement published inner shelf and fjord records. Chronology is based upon application of radiocarbon ages on ramped pyrolysis splits of organic carbon, bulk organic matter ages, and foram calcite ages which demonstrate that the record extends to 11,000 cal years BP. Sedimentation rates are highest in the early Holocene, 0.09 cm/year, decrease to 0.01 cm/year by 2500 cal years BP, and increase to 0.03 cm/year in the latest Holocene. Changes in glacial and sea ice extent, in the distribution of polar versus sub-polar water masses, and in surface water temperatures are evaluated through a suite of geochemical, sedimentologic and micropaleontologic data. The core extends back to the tail end of deglaciation, which is characterized by high organic carbon content, high photosynthetic pigment concentration, and abundant diatoms, primarily Chaetoceros, indicative of highly productive surface waters. This lithology is similar to deglacial sequences from around the Antarctic margin that have been associated with calving bay re-entrants formed during glacial ice retreat, and first described in sediments from the nearby Palmer Deep. Data from a temperature sensitive diatom suggest a uniformly warm early Holocene, also documented in the Palmer Deep via a TEX86 proxy; at the same time, sea ice concentration is uniformly low. The early Holocene also is characterized by high contribution of ice rafted debris (IRD), reflecting terrigenous input from the retreating ice margin. During the mid Holocene, higher concentrations of the "sub-polar" form of Eucampia antarctica, coupled to continued long Eucampia chain length, a proxy for low sea ice extent, are suggestive of southward movement of

  16. Two new fossil genera and species of Cerocephalinae (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea, Pteromalidae), including the first record from the Eocene

    PubMed Central

    Bläser, Marcel; Krogmann, Lars; Peters, Ralph S.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Cerocephalinae (Chalcidoidea, Pteromalidae) is a small group of parasitoid wasps characterized by a number of derived diagnostic features. Their hosts are endophytic beetles. So far, 43 species of Cerocephalinae have been described, including one fossil species from the Miocene. In this study, we add two new genera and species from Baltic and Dominican amber to the fossil record. Tenuicornus dominicus gen. et sp. n. is the second genus described from Dominican amber, and Pteropilosa lailarabanorum gen. et sp. n., described from Baltic amber, represents the oldest record of the subfamily, pushing the minimum age of Cerocephalinae back to the Eocene. Diagnostic characters of both species are discussed in comparison with other Cerocephalinae. An updated key to extant and fossil Cerocephalinae is presented. PMID:26798296

  17. Fossil spiders.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Penney, David

    2010-02-01

    Over the last three decades, the fossil record of spiders has increased from being previously biased towards Tertiary ambers and a few dubious earlier records, to one which reveals a much greater diversity in the Mesozoic, with many of the modern families present in that era, and with clearer evidence of the evolutionary history of the group. We here record the history of palaeoarachnology and the major breakthroughs which form the basis of studies on fossil spiders. Understanding the preservation and taphonomic history of spider fossils is crucial to interpretation of fossil spider morphology. We also review the more recent descriptions of fossil spiders and the effect these discoveries have had on the phylogenetic tree of spiders. We discuss some features of the evolutionary history of spiders and present ideas for future work.

  18. Cenozoic prograding sequences of the Antarctic continental margin: a record of glacio-eustatic and tectonic events

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cooper, A. K.; Barrett, P.J.; Hinz, K.; Traube, V.; Letichenkov, G.; Stagg, H.M.J.

    1991-01-01

    times, like today, by little or no clastic sedimentation on the continental shelf other than beneath retreated ice shelves lying far from the continental sheld edge. Ice streams carve broad depressions across the shelf and carry abundant basal sediments directly to the continental shelf edge, thereby creating troughmouth fans and sheet-like prograding sequences (i.e. type IA sequences). Numerous acoustic unconformities and multiple overcompacted layers within the prograding sequences suggest major fluctuations of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The available drilling and seismic interpretations provide the following history: (1) Cenozoic ice sheets have existed in places near the continental shelf since middle to late Eocene time. (2) A grounded Antarctic ice sheet first expanded to the continental shelf edge, with probable overdeepening of the outer shelf, in late Eucene to early Oligocene time in Prydz Bay, possibly in early Miocene time in the Ross Sea, and at least by middle Miocene time in the Weddell Sea. (3) The relative amounts of shelf prograding and inferred ice-volume variations (and related sea-level changes) have increased since middle to late Miocene time in the eastern Ross Sea, Prydz Bay, and possibly Weddell Sea. Our analysis is preliminary. Further acoustic surveys and scientific drilling are needed to resolve the proximal Antarctic record of glacio-eustatic, climatic, and tectonic events recorded by the prograding sequences. ?? 1991.

  19. Introducing Evolution to Non-Biology Majors via the Fossil Record: A Case Study from the Israeli High School System.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dodick, Jeff; Orion, Nir

    2003-01-01

    Discusses challenges faced in the teaching and learning of evolution. Presents a curricular program and a case study on evolutionary biology. Investigates students' conceptual knowledge after exposure to the program "From Dinosaurs to Darwin," which focuses on fossil records as evidence of evolution. (Contains 32 references.) (YDS)

  20. Piscivory in a Miocene Cetotheriidae of Peru: first record of fossilized stomach content for an extinct baleen-bearing whale.

    PubMed

    Collareta, Alberto; Landini, Walter; Lambert, Olivier; Post, Klaas; Tinelli, Chiara; Di Celma, Claudio; Panetta, Daniele; Tripodi, Maria; Salvadori, Piero A; Caramella, Davide; Marchi, Damiano; Urbina, Mario; Bianucci, Giovanni

    2015-12-01

    Instead of teeth, modern mysticetes bear hair-fringed keratinous baleen plates that permit various bulk-filtering predation techniques (from subsurface skimming to lateral benthic suction and engulfment) devoted to various target prey (from small invertebrates to schooling fish). Current knowledge about the feeding ecology of extant cetaceans is revealed by stomach content analyses and observations of behavior. Unfortunately, no fossil stomach contents of ancient mysticetes have been described so far; the investigation of the diet of fossil baleen whales, including the Neogene family Cetotheriidae, remains thus largely speculative. We report on an aggregate of fossil fish remains found within a mysticete skeleton belonging to an undescribed late Miocene (Tortonian) cetotheriid from the Pisco Formation (Peru). Micro-computed tomography allowed us to interpret it as the fossilized content of the forestomach of the host whale and to identify the prey as belonging to the extant clupeiform genus Sardinops. Our discovery represents the first direct evidence of piscivory in an ancient edentulous mysticete. Since among modern mysticetes only Balaenopteridae are known to ordinarily consume fish, this fossil record may indicate that part of the cetotheriids experimented some degree of balaenopterid-like engulfment feeding. Moreover, this report corresponds to one of the geologically oldest records of Sardinops worldwide, occurring near the Tortonian peak of oceanic primary productivity and cooling phase. Therefore, our discovery evokes a link between the rise of Cetotheriidae; the setup of modern coastal upwelling systems; and the radiation of epipelagic, small-sized, schooling clupeiform fish in such highly productive environments.

  1. Piscivory in a Miocene Cetotheriidae of Peru: first record of fossilized stomach content for an extinct baleen-bearing whale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collareta, Alberto; Landini, Walter; Lambert, Olivier; Post, Klaas; Tinelli, Chiara; Di Celma, Claudio; Panetta, Daniele; Tripodi, Maria; Salvadori, Piero A.; Caramella, Davide; Marchi, Damiano; Urbina, Mario; Bianucci, Giovanni

    2015-12-01

    Instead of teeth, modern mysticetes bear hair-fringed keratinous baleen plates that permit various bulk-filtering predation techniques (from subsurface skimming to lateral benthic suction and engulfment) devoted to various target prey (from small invertebrates to schooling fish). Current knowledge about the feeding ecology of extant cetaceans is revealed by stomach content analyses and observations of behavior. Unfortunately, no fossil stomach contents of ancient mysticetes have been described so far; the investigation of the diet of fossil baleen whales, including the Neogene family Cetotheriidae, remains thus largely speculative. We report on an aggregate of fossil fish remains found within a mysticete skeleton belonging to an undescribed late Miocene (Tortonian) cetotheriid from the Pisco Formation (Peru). Micro-computed tomography allowed us to interpret it as the fossilized content of the forestomach of the host whale and to identify the prey as belonging to the extant clupeiform genus Sardinops. Our discovery represents the first direct evidence of piscivory in an ancient edentulous mysticete. Since among modern mysticetes only Balaenopteridae are known to ordinarily consume fish, this fossil record may indicate that part of the cetotheriids experimented some degree of balaenopterid-like engulfment feeding. Moreover, this report corresponds to one of the geologically oldest records of Sardinops worldwide, occurring near the Tortonian peak of oceanic primary productivity and cooling phase. Therefore, our discovery evokes a link between the rise of Cetotheriidae; the setup of modern coastal upwelling systems; and the radiation of epipelagic, small-sized, schooling clupeiform fish in such highly productive environments.

  2. Fossilized spermatozoa preserved in a 50-Myr-old annelid cocoon from Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Bomfleur, Benjamin; Mörs, Thomas; Ferraguti, Marco; Reguero, Marcelo A; McLoughlin, Stephen

    2015-07-01

    The origin and evolution of clitellate annelids--earthworms, leeches and their relatives--is poorly understood, partly because body fossils of these delicate organisms are exceedingly rare. The distinctive egg cases (cocoons) of Clitellata, however, are relatively common in the fossil record, although their potential for phylogenetic studies has remained largely unexplored. Here, we report the remarkable discovery of fossilized spermatozoa preserved within the secreted wall layers of a 50-Myr-old clitellate cocoon from Antarctica, representing the oldest fossil animal sperm yet known. Sperm characters are highly informative for the classification of extant Annelida. The Antarctic fossil spermatozoa have several features that point to affinities with the peculiar, leech-like 'crayfish worms' (Branchiobdellida). We anticipate that systematic surveys of cocoon fossils coupled with advances in non-destructive analytical methods may open a new window into the evolution of minute, soft-bodied life forms that are otherwise only rarely observed in the fossil record.

  3. Fossilized spermatozoa preserved in a 50-Myr-old annelid cocoon from Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Bomfleur, Benjamin; Mörs, Thomas; Ferraguti, Marco; Reguero, Marcelo A.; McLoughlin, Stephen

    2015-01-01

    The origin and evolution of clitellate annelids—earthworms, leeches and their relatives—is poorly understood, partly because body fossils of these delicate organisms are exceedingly rare. The distinctive egg cases (cocoons) of Clitellata, however, are relatively common in the fossil record, although their potential for phylogenetic studies has remained largely unexplored. Here, we report the remarkable discovery of fossilized spermatozoa preserved within the secreted wall layers of a 50-Myr-old clitellate cocoon from Antarctica, representing the oldest fossil animal sperm yet known. Sperm characters are highly informative for the classification of extant Annelida. The Antarctic fossil spermatozoa have several features that point to affinities with the peculiar, leech-like ‘crayfish worms' (Branchiobdellida). We anticipate that systematic surveys of cocoon fossils coupled with advances in non-destructive analytical methods may open a new window into the evolution of minute, soft-bodied life forms that are otherwise only rarely observed in the fossil record. PMID:26179804

  4. Late glacial to Holocene climatic and oceanographic record of sediment facies from the South Scotia Sea off the northern Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yoon, H. I.; Khim, B. K.; Yoo, K.-C.; Bak, Y. S.; Lee, J. I.

    2007-10-01

    Two gravity cores were collected from the South Scotia Sea located off the northern Antarctic Peninsula during the 2002/2003 Korea Antarctic Research Program (KARP) expedition to determine the late Quaternary climatic and oceanographic history. Reassessment of previous sedimentological, geochemical and micropaleontological analyses combined with established age model of AMS 14C dates represent the reliable record of late Pleistocene climatic/oceanographic change for the Scotia Sea region of Antarctica. During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the South Scotia Sea received large amounts of sorted terrigenous sediments and some of the reworked diatom fossils emplaced by bottom currents from an extensively glaciated Weddell Sea continental margin. Drifting icebergs calved from the glacial fronts have dispersed glacial dropstones throughout the study area. The bottom current deposits during the glacial phase comprise two lithologic units: (1) bioturbated gravelly sandy mud (Facies 1), formed by sluggish bottom current caused by reduced dense-water production originated from the ice sheet on the Weddell Shelf, (2) indistinctly layered diatomaceous mud as shown by total organic carbon (TOC) highs in the Facies 1, deposited by sporadic bottom currents caused by intensified sea-ice formation in polynya during the glacial stage. The LGM is characterized by greater and longer sea-ice coverage and a restricted Weddell/Scotia summer communication, as evidenced by a relative decrease in percentage Thalssiosira antarctica and Chaetoceros resting spores, which are more abundant close to the Weddell Ice Shelf. Deglaciation (about 13,000-9000 14C yr BP) in the South Scotia Sea was characterized by increasing TOC, diatom abundance, and decreasing magnetic susceptibility and sand contents up core. At this time, subglacial meltwater streams began to emanate from the Weddell Ice Sheet with peak of ice rafting. Sediment-laden turbid plumes from melting glacier and deglaciated Weddell

  5. A multi-calibrated mitochondrial phylogeny of extant Bovidae (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia) and the importance of the fossil record to systematics

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Molecular phylogenetics has provided unprecedented resolution in the ruminant evolutionary tree. However, molecular age estimates using only one or a few (often misapplied) fossil calibration points have produced a diversity of conflicting ages for important evolutionary events within this clade. I here identify 16 fossil calibration points of relevance to the phylogeny of Bovidae and Ruminantia and use these, individually and together, to construct a dated molecular phylogeny through a reanalysis of the full mitochondrial genome of over 100 ruminant species. Results The new multi-calibrated tree provides ages that are younger overall than found in previous studies. Among these are young ages for the origin of crown Ruminantia (39.3–28.8 Ma), and crown Bovidae (17.3–15.1 Ma). These are argued to be reasonable hypotheses given that many basal fossils assigned to these taxa may in fact lie on the stem groups leading to the crown clades, thus inflating previous age estimates. Areas of conflict between molecular and fossil dates do persist, however, especially with regard to the base of the rapid Pecoran radiation and the sister relationship of Moschidae to Bovidae. Results of the single-calibrated analyses also show that a very wide range of molecular age estimates are obtainable using different calibration points, and that the choice of calibration point can influence the topology of the resulting tree. Compared to the single-calibrated trees, the multi-calibrated tree exhibits smaller variance in estimated ages and better reflects the fossil record. Conclusions The use of a large number of vetted fossil calibration points with soft bounds is promoted as a better approach than using just one or a few calibrations, or relying on internal-congruency metrics to discard good fossil data. This study also highlights the importance of considering morphological and ecological characteristics of clades when delimiting higher taxa. I also illustrate how

  6. 30-Year Satellite Record Reveals Accelerated Arctic Sea Ice Loss, Antarctic Sea Ice Trend Reversal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cavalieri, Donald J.; Parkinson, C. L.; Vinnikov, K. Y.

    2003-01-01

    Arctic sea ice extent decreased by 0.30 plus or minus 0.03 x 10(exp 6) square kilometers per decade from 1972 through 2002, but decreased by 0.36 plus or minus 0.05 x 10(exp 6) square kilometers per decade from 1979 through 2002, indicating an acceleration of 20% in the rate of decrease. In contrast to the Arctic, the Antarctic sea ice extent decreased dramatically over the period 1973-1977, then gradually increased, with an overall 30-year trend of -0.15 plus or minus 0.08 x 10(exp 6) square kilometers per 10yr. The trend reversal is attributed to a large positive anomaly in Antarctic sea ice extent observed in the early 1970's.

  7. Anatomical Correlates to Nectar Feeding among the Strepsirrhines of Madagascar: Implications for Interpreting the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Muchlinski, Magdalena N.; Perry, Jonathan M. G.

    2011-01-01

    One possible ecological scenario for the origin of primates is the archaic pollination and coevolution hypothesis. Its proponents contend that the consumption of nectar by some early primates and the resulting cross-pollination is an example of coevolution that drove adaptive radiations in some primates. This hypothesis is perhaps ecologically sound, but it lacks the morphology-behavior links that would allow us to test it using the fossil record. Here we attempt to identify cranial adaptations to nectar feeding among the strepsirrhines of Madagascar in order to provide such links. Many Malagasy strepsirrhines are considered effective cross-pollinators of the flowers they feed from, and nectar consumption represents as much as 75% of total feeding time. Previous studies identified skeletal correlates to nectar feeding in the crania of nonprimate mammals; from these, nine cranial measurements were chosen to be the focus of the present study. Results indicate that Cheirogaleus, Varecia, and Eulemur mirror other nectar-feeding mammals in having elongated crania and/or muzzles. These strepsirrhines might be effective cross-pollinators, lending support to the coevolution hypothesis. PMID:22567292

  8. Review of the monotreme fossil record and comparison of palaeontological and molecular data.

    PubMed

    Musser, A M

    2003-12-01

    Monotremes have traditionally been considered a remnant group of mammals descended from archaic Mesozoic stock, surviving to the present day on the relatively isolated Australian continent. Challenges to this orthodoxy have been spurred by discoveries of 'advanced' Cretaceous monotremes (Steropodon galmani, Archer, M., et al., 1985. First Mesozoic mammal from Australia-an Early Cretaceous monotreme, Nature. 318, 363-366) as well as by results from molecular data linking monotremes to therian mammals (specifically to marsupials in some studies). This paper reviews the monotreme fossil record and briefly discusses significant new information from additional Cretaceous Australian material. Mesozoic monotremes (including S. galmani) were a diverse group as evidenced by new material from the Early Cretaceous of New South Wales and Victoria currently under study. Although most of these new finds are edentulous jaws (limiting dental comparisons and determination of dietary niches), a range of sizes and forms has been determined. Some of these Cretaceous jaws exhibit archaic features-in particular evidence for the presence of a splenial bone in S. galmani-not seen in therian mammals or in post-Mesozoic (Tertiary and Quaternary) monotreme taxa. Tertiary monotremes were either archaic ornithorhynchids (toothed platypuses in the genera Monotrematum and Obdurodon) or tachyglossids (large echidnas in the genera Megalibgwilia and Zaglossus). Quaternary ornithorhynchid material is referable to the sole living platypus species Ornithorhynchus anatinus. Quaternary echidnas, however, were moderately diverse and several forms are known (Megalibgwilia species; 'Zaglossus' hacketti; Zaglossus species and Tachyglossus aculeatus).

  9. First forensic records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Queiroz, R A; Soriano, E P; Carvalho, M V D; Caldas-Junior, A F; Souza, E H A; Coelho-Junior, L G T M; Campello, R I C; Almeida, A C; Farias, R C A P; Vasconcellos, A

    2016-07-25

    The aim of this study was to describe the first records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil. The cases reported in this study resulted from forensic analysis of six human skeletons found in northeastern Brazil between 2012 and 2014. Traces of tunnels and nests commonly produced by termites were found on several human bone surfaces as well as the specimens and characteristic signs of osteophagic activity. In four cases, the species were identified: Amitermes amifer Silvestri, 1901, Nasutitermes corniger (Motschulsky, 1855) (on two skeletons), and Microcerotermes indistinctus Mathews, 1977. In two other cases, the activity of termites on bone surfaces was evidenced by remains of nests and tunnels produced by these insects. At least in the samples of human remains available for this report, the number of termites collected was greater on bones found during autumn, the rainy season in the Northeast of Brazil. The human bones examined showed termites like insects with lots of strength at bone degradation, capable of continuing the process of decomposition of human remains even in completely skeletonized bodies. PMID:27463832

  10. First forensic records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Queiroz, R A; Soriano, E P; Carvalho, M V D; Caldas-Junior, A F; Souza, E H A; Coelho-Junior, L G T M; Campello, R I C; Almeida, A C; Farias, R C A P; Vasconcellos, A

    2016-07-25

    The aim of this study was to describe the first records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil. The cases reported in this study resulted from forensic analysis of six human skeletons found in northeastern Brazil between 2012 and 2014. Traces of tunnels and nests commonly produced by termites were found on several human bone surfaces as well as the specimens and characteristic signs of osteophagic activity. In four cases, the species were identified: Amitermes amifer Silvestri, 1901, Nasutitermes corniger (Motschulsky, 1855) (on two skeletons), and Microcerotermes indistinctus Mathews, 1977. In two other cases, the activity of termites on bone surfaces was evidenced by remains of nests and tunnels produced by these insects. At least in the samples of human remains available for this report, the number of termites collected was greater on bones found during autumn, the rainy season in the Northeast of Brazil. The human bones examined showed termites like insects with lots of strength at bone degradation, capable of continuing the process of decomposition of human remains even in completely skeletonized bodies.

  11. Climate refugia: joint inference from fossil records, species distribution models and phylogeography.

    PubMed

    Gavin, Daniel G; Fitzpatrick, Matthew C; Gugger, Paul F; Heath, Katy D; Rodríguez-Sánchez, Francisco; Dobrowski, Solomon Z; Hampe, Arndt; Hu, Feng Sheng; Ashcroft, Michael B; Bartlein, Patrick J; Blois, Jessica L; Carstens, Bryan C; Davis, Edward B; de Lafontaine, Guillaume; Edwards, Mary E; Fernandez, Matias; Henne, Paul D; Herring, Erin M; Holden, Zachary A; Kong, Woo-seok; Liu, Jianquan; Magri, Donatella; Matzke, Nicholas J; McGlone, Matt S; Saltré, Frédérik; Stigall, Alycia L; Tsai, Yi-Hsin Erica; Williams, John W

    2014-10-01

    Climate refugia, locations where taxa survive periods of regionally adverse climate, are thought to be critical for maintaining biodiversity through the glacial-interglacial climate changes of the Quaternary. A critical research need is to better integrate and reconcile the three major lines of evidence used to infer the existence of past refugia - fossil records, species distribution models and phylogeographic surveys - in order to characterize the complex spatiotemporal trajectories of species and populations in and out of refugia. Here we review the complementary strengths, limitations and new advances for these three approaches. We provide case studies to illustrate their combined application, and point the way towards new opportunities for synthesizing these disparate lines of evidence. Case studies with European beech, Qinghai spruce and Douglas-fir illustrate how the combination of these three approaches successfully resolves complex species histories not attainable from any one approach. Promising new statistical techniques can capitalize on the strengths of each method and provide a robust quantitative reconstruction of species history. Studying past refugia can help identify contemporary refugia and clarify their conservation significance, in particular by elucidating the fine-scale processes and the particular geographic locations that buffer species against rapidly changing climate.

  12. Species-energy relationship in the deep sea: A test using the Quaternary fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hunt, G.; Cronin, T. M.; Roy, K.

    2005-01-01

    Little is known about the processes regulating species richness in deep-sea communities. Here we take advantage of natural experiments involving climate change to test whether predictions of the species-energy hypothesis hold in the deep sea. In addition, we test for the relationship between temperature and species richness predicted by a recent model based on biochemical kinetics of metabolism. Using the deep-sea fossil record of benthic foraminifera and statistical meta-analyses of temperature-richness and productivity-richness relationships in 10 deep-sea cores, we show that temperature but not productivity is a significant predictor of species richness over the past c. 130 000 years. Our results not only show that the temperature-richness relationship in the deep-sea is remarkably similar to that found in terrestrial and shallow marine habitats, but also that species richness tracks temperature change over geological time, at least on scales of c. 100 000 years. Thus, predicting biotic response to global climate change in the deep sea would require better understanding of how temperature regulates the occurrences and geographical ranges of species. ??2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  13. Colloquium paper: dynamics of origination and extinction in the marine fossil record.

    PubMed

    Alroy, John

    2008-08-12

    The discipline-wide effort to database the fossil record at the occurrence level has made it possible to estimate marine invertebrate extinction and origination rates with much greater accuracy. The new data show that two biotic mechanisms have hastened recoveries from mass extinctions and confined diversity to a relatively narrow range over the past 500 million years (Myr). First, a drop in diversity of any size correlates with low extinction rates immediately afterward, so much so that extinction would almost come to a halt if diversity dropped by 90%. Second, very high extinction rates are followed by equally high origination rates. The two relationships predict that the rebound from the current mass extinction will take at least 10 Myr, and perhaps 40 Myr if it rivals the Permo-Triassic catastrophe. Regardless, any large event will result in a dramatic ecological and taxonomic restructuring of the biosphere. The data also confirm that extinction and origination rates both declined through the Phanerozoic and that several extinctions in addition to the Permo-Triassic event were particularly severe. However, the trend may be driven by taxonomic biases and the rates vary in accord with a simple log normal distribution, so there is no sharp distinction between background and mass extinctions. Furthermore, the lack of any significant autocorrelation in the data is inconsistent with macroevolutionary theories of periodicity or self-organized criticality. PMID:18695240

  14. Fossil bryophytes as recorders of ancient CO2 levels: Experimental evidence and a Cretaceous case study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fletcher, Benjamin J.; Beerling, David J.; Brentnall, Stuart J.; Royer, Dana L.

    2005-09-01

    Biological and geochemical CO2 proxies provide critical constraints on understanding the role of atmospheric CO2 in driving climate change during Earth history. As no single existing CO2 proxy is without its limitations, there is a clear need for new approaches to reconstructing past CO2 concentrations. Here we develop a new pre-Quaternary CO2 proxy based on the stable carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of astomatous land plants. In a series of CO2-controlled laboratory experiments, we show that the carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C) of a range of bryophyte (liverwort and moss) species increases with atmospheric CO2 across the range 375 to 6000 ppm. Separate experiments establish that variations in growth temperature, water content and substrate type have minor impacts on the Δ13C of liverworts but not mosses, indicating the greater potential of liverworts to faithfully record past variations in CO2. A mechanistic model for calculating past CO2 concentrations from bryophyte Δ13C (White et al., 1994) is extended and calibrated using our experimental results. The potential for fossil liverworts to record past CO2 changes is investigated by analyzing the δ13C of specimens collected from Alexander Island, Antarctica dating to the "greenhouse" world of the mid-Cretaceous. Our analysis and isotopic model yield mid-Cretaceous CO2 concentrations of 1000-1400 ppm, in general agreement with independent proxy data and long-term carbon cycle models. The exceptionally long evolutionary history of bryophytes offers the possibility of reconstructing CO2 concentrations back to the mid-Ordovician, pre-dating all currently used quantitative CO2 proxies.

  15. Recording of climate and diagenesis through fossil pigments and sedimentary DNA at Laguna Potrok Aike, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vuillemin, A.; Ariztegui, D.; Leavitt, P. R.; Bunting, L.; Pasado Science Team

    2015-11-01

    Aquatic sediments record past climatic conditions while providing a wide range of ecological niches for microorganisms. Although marine sedimentary microbial assemblages are often defined by their surrounding geochemical conditions, the influence of environmental features upon microbial development and post-depositional survival remains largely unknown in the lacustrine realm. Due to long-term microbial activity, the composition of environmental DNA can be expected to evolve with sediment depth and over time and therefore should reflect both ancient and extant microbial populations, but this hypothesis has rarely been tested using a multiproxy approach. Here geomicrobiological and phylogenetic analyses of a Patagonian maar lake were used to indicate that the different sedimentary microbial assemblages derive from specific lacustrine regimes during defined climatic periods. Two well defined climatic intervals whose sediments harboured active microbial populations and measurable ATP were sampled for a comparative environmental study based on fossil pigments and 16S rRNA gene sequences. Bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences recovered from the Holocene record revealed a microbial community adapted to subsaline conditions actively producing methane during organic matter degradation. These characteristics were associated with sediments resulting from endorheic lake conditions with high evaporative stress and concomitant high algal productivity. Moreover, archaeal clone libraries established throughout the Holocene record indicate an age-related stratification of these populations, consistent with a gradual use of organic substrates after deposition. In contrast, sulphate-reducing bacteria and lithotrophic Archaea were predominant in sediments dated from the Last Glacial Maximum, in which pelagic clays alternated with fine volcanic material characteristic of a lake level highstand and freshwater conditions, but reduced water column productivity. These patterns

  16. Decay of vertebrate characters in hagfish and lamprey (Cyclostomata) and the implications for the vertebrate fossil record.

    PubMed

    Sansom, Robert S; Gabbott, Sarah E; Purnell, Mark A

    2011-04-22

    The timing and sequence of events underlying the origin and early evolution of vertebrates remains poorly understood. The palaeontological evidence should shed light on these issues, but difficulties in interpretation of the non-biomineralized fossil record make this problematic. Here we present an experimental analysis of decay of vertebrate characters based on the extant jawless vertebrates (Lampetra and Myxine). This provides a framework for the interpretation of the anatomy of soft-bodied fossil vertebrates and putative cyclostomes, and a context for reading the fossil record of non-biomineralized vertebrate characters. Decay results in transformation and non-random loss of characters. In both lamprey and hagfish, different types of cartilage decay at different rates, resulting in taphonomic bias towards loss of 'soft' cartilages containing vertebrate-specific Col2α1 extracellular matrix proteins; phylogenetically informative soft-tissue characters decay before more plesiomorphic characters. As such, synapomorphic decay bias, previously recognized in early chordates, is more pervasive, and needs to be taken into account when interpreting the anatomy of any non-biomineralized fossil vertebrate, such as Haikouichthys, Mayomyzon and Hardistiella.

  17. Egg size evolution in tropical American arcid bivalves: the comparative method and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Moran, Amy L

    2004-12-01

    Marine organisms exhibit a wide range of egg sizes, even among closely related taxa, and egg size is widely considered to be one of the most important components of the life histories of marine species. The nature of the trade-off between egg size and number and the consequences of variation in egg size for offspring growth and survivorship have been extensively modeled. Yet, there is little empirical evidence that supports the relative importance of particular environmental parameters in engendering the tremendous variation in egg size seen in marine organisms. This study compares egg sizes between six geminate species pairs of bivalves in the family Arcidae to determine whether egg size differs in predictable directions between geminate species in the two oceans separated by the Central American isthmus, and whether the direction and timing of egg size evolution among geminates in this family is correlated with both modern and paleoceanographic patterns of oceanic productivity. In all modern members of six geminate pairs, egg size was larger in the species in the western Atlantic than in its sister species the eastern Pacific. This pattern supports the hypothesis that optimal egg size differs in the two oceans due to the low productivity and poor larval feeding environment in the western Atlantic relative to the eastern Pacific. The fossil record of one geminate pair shows that egg size has remained consistently large in the western Atlantic from the Miocene to the Recent, while egg size in the eastern Pacific has decreased to the current small size in less than 2 million years; this suggests that modern-day differences between egg sizes in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific are due to either an increase in productivity in the eastern Pacific and subsequent selection for smaller eggs in that ocean, or differential patterns of extinction that occurred well after the rise of the isthmus. These results agree with ancestral character state reconstruction using

  18. Palaeontology: The Point of No Return in the Fossil Record of Eusociality.

    PubMed

    Rust, Jes; Wappler, Torsten

    2016-02-22

    The evolution of eusociality is one of the major transitions in the history of life, particularly in the insects. Now, fossil termites and ants from Burmese amber offer insights into early stages of eusociality in the Lower Cretaceous.

  19. Palaeontology: The Point of No Return in the Fossil Record of Eusociality.

    PubMed

    Rust, Jes; Wappler, Torsten

    2016-02-22

    The evolution of eusociality is one of the major transitions in the history of life, particularly in the insects. Now, fossil termites and ants from Burmese amber offer insights into early stages of eusociality in the Lower Cretaceous. PMID:26906485

  20. A long-term association between global temperature and biodiversity, origination and extinction in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Mayhew, Peter J; Jenkins, Gareth B; Benton, Timothy G

    2007-01-01

    The past relationship between global temperature and levels of biological diversity is of increasing concern due to anthropogenic climate warming. However, no consistent link between these variables has yet been demonstrated. We analysed the fossil record for the last 520 Myr against estimates of low latitude sea surface temperature for the same period. We found that global biodiversity (the richness of families and genera) is related to temperature and has been relatively low during warm ‘greenhouse’ phases, while during the same phases extinction and origination rates of taxonomic lineages have been relatively high. These findings are consistent for terrestrial and marine environments and are robust to a number of alternative assumptions and potential biases. Our results provide the first clear evidence that global climate may explain substantial variation in the fossil record in a simple and consistent manner. Our findings may have implications for extinction and biodiversity change under future climate warming. PMID:17956842

  1. Antarctic ecosystems as models for extraterrestrial surface habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wynn-Williams, D. D.; Edwards, H. G. M.

    2000-09-01

    Surface habitats in Antarctic deserts are near the limits of life on Earth and resemble those hypothesized for early Mars. Cyanobacteria dominate the transient riverbeds, stromatolitic sediments in ice-covered lakes, and endolithic communities in translucent rock. There is still no direct evidence of photosynthetic life on early Mars, but cyanobacteria are amongst the earliest microbes detectable in the fossil record for analogous habitats on Earth. Key biomolecules persist in Antarctic microbial habitats, even after extinction by excessive low temperatures, desiccation and UV-B stress within the Ozone Hole. Pigments (or their fossil residues), such as chlorophyll and the UV-protectants scytonemin, carotene and quinones, are good biomarkers. To show not only their presence but also their micro-spatial distribution in situ, we describe the use of FT-Raman spectroscopy with 1064 nm excitation to avoid autofluorescence from the pigments. We report not only the diversity of biomolecules that we have diagnosed from their unique Raman spectra of Antarctic cyanobacterial communities, but also their functional stratification in endolithic communities. Our analyses of Antarctic habitats show the potential of this remote, non-intrusive technique to probe for buried biomolecules on future Mars missions and in Antarctic Lake Vostok, >4 km beneath the Central Ice Sheet, with implications for the putative analogous sub-ice ocean on Europa.

  2. Historical whaling records reveal major regional retreat of Antarctic sea ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cotté, Cédric; Guinet, Christophe

    2007-02-01

    Several studies have provided evidence of a reduction of the Antarctic sea ice extent. However, these studies were conducted either at a global scale or at a regional scale, and possible inter-regional differences were not analysed. Using the long-term whaling database we investigated circum-Antarctic changes in summer sea ice extent from 1931 to 1987. Accounting for bias inherent in the whaling method, this analysis provides new insight into the historical ice edge reconstruction and inter-regional differences. We highlight a reduction of the sea ice extent occurring in the 1960s, mainly in the Weddell sector where the change ranged from 3° to 7.9° latitude through summer. Although the whaling method may not be appropriate for detecting fine-scale change, these results provide evidence for a heterogeneous circumpolar change of the sea ice extent. The shift is temporally and spatially consistent with other environmental changes detected in the Weddell sector and also with a shift in the Southern Hemisphere annular mode. The large reduction of the sea ice extent has probably influenced the ecosystem of the Weddell Sea, particularly the krill biomass.

  3. Piscivory in a Miocene Cetotheriidae of Peru: first record of fossilized stomach content for an extinct baleen-bearing whale.

    PubMed

    Collareta, Alberto; Landini, Walter; Lambert, Olivier; Post, Klaas; Tinelli, Chiara; Di Celma, Claudio; Panetta, Daniele; Tripodi, Maria; Salvadori, Piero A; Caramella, Davide; Marchi, Damiano; Urbina, Mario; Bianucci, Giovanni

    2015-12-01

    Instead of teeth, modern mysticetes bear hair-fringed keratinous baleen plates that permit various bulk-filtering predation techniques (from subsurface skimming to lateral benthic suction and engulfment) devoted to various target prey (from small invertebrates to schooling fish). Current knowledge about the feeding ecology of extant cetaceans is revealed by stomach content analyses and observations of behavior. Unfortunately, no fossil stomach contents of ancient mysticetes have been described so far; the investigation of the diet of fossil baleen whales, including the Neogene family Cetotheriidae, remains thus largely speculative. We report on an aggregate of fossil fish remains found within a mysticete skeleton belonging to an undescribed late Miocene (Tortonian) cetotheriid from the Pisco Formation (Peru). Micro-computed tomography allowed us to interpret it as the fossilized content of the forestomach of the host whale and to identify the prey as belonging to the extant clupeiform genus Sardinops. Our discovery represents the first direct evidence of piscivory in an ancient edentulous mysticete. Since among modern mysticetes only Balaenopteridae are known to ordinarily consume fish, this fossil record may indicate that part of the cetotheriids experimented some degree of balaenopterid-like engulfment feeding. Moreover, this report corresponds to one of the geologically oldest records of Sardinops worldwide, occurring near the Tortonian peak of oceanic primary productivity and cooling phase. Therefore, our discovery evokes a link between the rise of Cetotheriidae; the setup of modern coastal upwelling systems; and the radiation of epipelagic, small-sized, schooling clupeiform fish in such highly productive environments. PMID:26553062

  4. †Kenyaichthyidae fam. nov. and †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. - First Record of a Fossil Aplocheiloid Killifish (Teleostei, Cyprinodontiformes).

    PubMed

    Altner, Melanie; Reichenbacher, Bettina

    2015-01-01

    The extant Cyprinodontiformes (killifishes) with their two suborders Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei represent a diverse and well-studied group of fishes. However, their fossil record is comparatively sparse and has so far yielded members of the Cyprinodontoidei only. Here we report on cyprinodontiform fossils from the upper Miocene Lukeino Formation in the Tugen Hills of the Central Rift Valley of Kenya, which represent the first fossil record of an aplocheiloid killifish. A total of 169 specimens - mostly extraordinarily well preserved - and a sample of ten extant cyprinodontiform species were studied on the basis of morphometrics, meristics and osteology. A phylogenetic analysis using PAUP was also conducted for the fossils. Both the osteological data and the phylogenetic analysis provide strong evidence for the assignment of the fossils to the Aplocheiloidei, and justify the definition of the new family †Kenyaichthyidae, the new genus †Kenyaichthys and the new species †K. kipkechi sp. nov. The phylogenetic analysis unexpectedly places †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. in a sister relationship to the Rivulidae (a purely Neotropical group), a probable explanation might be lack of available synapomorphies for the Rivulidae, Nothobranchiidae and Aplocheilidae. The specimens of †K. kipkechi sp. nov. show several polymorphic characters and large overlap in meristic traits, which justifies their interpretation as a species flock in statu nascendi. Patterns of variation in neural and haemal spine dimensions in the caudal vertebrae of †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. and the extant species studied indicate that some previously suggested synapomorphies of the Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei need to be revised.

  5. †Kenyaichthyidae fam. nov. and †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. - First Record of a Fossil Aplocheiloid Killifish (Teleostei, Cyprinodontiformes).

    PubMed

    Altner, Melanie; Reichenbacher, Bettina

    2015-01-01

    The extant Cyprinodontiformes (killifishes) with their two suborders Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei represent a diverse and well-studied group of fishes. However, their fossil record is comparatively sparse and has so far yielded members of the Cyprinodontoidei only. Here we report on cyprinodontiform fossils from the upper Miocene Lukeino Formation in the Tugen Hills of the Central Rift Valley of Kenya, which represent the first fossil record of an aplocheiloid killifish. A total of 169 specimens - mostly extraordinarily well preserved - and a sample of ten extant cyprinodontiform species were studied on the basis of morphometrics, meristics and osteology. A phylogenetic analysis using PAUP was also conducted for the fossils. Both the osteological data and the phylogenetic analysis provide strong evidence for the assignment of the fossils to the Aplocheiloidei, and justify the definition of the new family †Kenyaichthyidae, the new genus †Kenyaichthys and the new species †K. kipkechi sp. nov. The phylogenetic analysis unexpectedly places †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. in a sister relationship to the Rivulidae (a purely Neotropical group), a probable explanation might be lack of available synapomorphies for the Rivulidae, Nothobranchiidae and Aplocheilidae. The specimens of †K. kipkechi sp. nov. show several polymorphic characters and large overlap in meristic traits, which justifies their interpretation as a species flock in statu nascendi. Patterns of variation in neural and haemal spine dimensions in the caudal vertebrae of †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. and the extant species studied indicate that some previously suggested synapomorphies of the Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei need to be revised. PMID:25923654

  6. A new Eemian record of Antarctic tephra layers retrieved from the Talos Dome ice core (Northern Victoria Land)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Narcisi, Biancamaria; Petit, Jean Robert; Langone, Antonio; Stenni, Barbara

    2016-02-01

    Polar ice sheets are remarkable repositories of tephra layers. The Talos Dome ice core (72°49‧S, 159°11‧E), drilled at the edge of the East Antarctic Plateau, close to Late Quaternary volcanoes, offers considerable potential to extend the current tephra time-stratigraphic framework. A tephrochronological study was undertaken of the ice core sections related to the Last Interglacial and the transition to the subsequent glacial period. Thirteen macroscopically visible layers, interpreted to be related to primary deposition of fallout tephra, have been analysed for quantitative grain size and glass shard geochemistry. The layers, precisely framed within the climate (δ18O) record for the core, span in age from 111.6 ± 1.9 to 123.3 ± 2.2 ka. Coarse particle size suggests origin from regional sources. Indeed, the vast majority of the samples display an alkaline affinity and trachytic composition that are both typical geochemical features of rifting Antarctic volcanism. Using subtle differences in the geochemical signatures and the comparison with data from previous studies, a few layers are attributed to known coeval Mt. Melbourne eruptions. Another sample subset is consistent with derivation from The Pleiades and Mt. Rittmann volcanoes. One peculiar trachytic glass population appears to be related to activity of the more distant Marie Byrd Land volcanoes. The newly detected tephras provide stratigraphic markers that could facilitate future synchronisation and dating of palaeoclimatic records. The Talos Dome tephra inventory also contributes significantly to the reconstruction of the Northern Victoria Land explosive volcanism, for which chronostratigraphic data for the Last Interglacial temporal segment are poor.

  7. Ghost shrimp Calliax de Saint Laurent, 1973 (Decapoda: Axiidea: Callianassidae) in the fossil record: systematics, palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography

    PubMed Central

    HYŽNÝ, MATÚŠ; GAŠPARIČ, ROK

    2015-01-01

    Ghost shrimps of the family Callianassidae are very common in the fossil record, but mostly as isolated cheliped elements only. The assignment to biologically defined genera, diagnosed on the basis of soft part morphology, is thus rather difficult. In this respect, proxy characters present on chelipeds that are the most durable ghost shrimp remains are needed to ascribe fossil material to extant genera. The genus Calliax de Saint Laurent, 1973 has been particularly obscure in this respect. Thorough comparison of extant members of the genus resulted in evaluation of characters present on chelipeds being taxonomically important on the genus level, specifically: 1) rectangular major P1 propodus with two ridges on the base of the fixed finger extending onto manus; 2) major P1 fingers relatively short; and 3) minor P1 chela with dactylus longer than fixed finger and possessing a wide gap between fingers. On this basis, Callianassa michelottii A. Milne Edwards, 1860, from the Oligocene and Miocene of Europe is herein reassigned to Calliax. Further re-examination of the ghost shrimp fossil record revealed that C. szobensis Müller, 1984, from the Middle Miocene of Hungary represents the same animal as C. michelottii and they are synomymised herein. The known geographic distribution of C. michelottii is expanded by the first confirmed occurrence of the species in Slovakia. All occurrences of C. michelottii known to date are reviewed and documented. The presence of Calliax michelottii comb. nov. may be considered an indicator of deeper marine settings. Based on the scarce fossil record known to date, Calliax has a Tethyan origin; it supposedly migrated westward to establish present day communities in the Caribbean sometime before the Middle Miocene. PMID:24989725

  8. Molecular and isotopic composition of lipids in modern and fossil bivalve shells: Records of paleoenvironmental change?

    SciTech Connect

    CoBabe, E.A.

    1995-12-31

    Suites of lipids residing in situ in modern and fossil bivalve shells offer new possibilities for the study of paleoecology and paleoclimatology. Distributions of carbon isotopic compositions of modem shell lipids suggests that many of these compounds, including alkanes, sterols, fatty acids, ketones and phytadienes, are derived from the bivalves and not directly from the surrounding environment. The occurrence of fatty acids in modem and fossil shell material opens up the possibility that saturation levels of these compounds may be used as paleothermometers. To date, the utility of fatty acids in paleoclimate studies has been limited because of the swift breakdown of these compounds in sediment. However, initial results indicate that fatty acids in bivalve shells retain their original structure for at least several million years. Comparison of modem bivalve shell fatty acids from tropical, temperate and polar nearshore marine systems will be presented, along with analogous fossil data.

  9. Two Years of Plankton Tows in a Seasonal Upwelling Region: Foraminiferal Abundances and Implications for the Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, C. V.; Hill, T. M.; Jahncke, J.

    2014-12-01

    Planktic foraminifera have a long history of use as paleoceaographic proxies due to their environmental sensitivity, cosmopolitan distribution and extensive fossil record. The seasonal, spatial and water mass affinities of foraminifera species have implications for the interpretation of fossil assemblages and the interpretation of shell geochemistry. Two years (2012-2014) of shallow (<200 m) plankton tows, taken along the continental shelf inside the California Current system, offer new insights into the spatial and seasonal dynamics of planktic foraminifera in an upwelling regime. Tows along with intensive hydrologic monitoring by CTD casts and discrete bottle sampling (temperature, salinity, oxygen, thermocline depth, carbonate saturation state) have spanned two complete seasonal upwelling-relaxation cycles. We present the results from these tows as well as preliminary models linking environmental drivers and foraminifera assemblages in this highly dynamic environment. Species abundances appear to be highly seasonal, in keeping with water column structure, with a seasonal upwelling to relaxation trade off between the non-spinose foraminifers Neogloboquadrina pachyderma and Neogloboquadrina incompta. We focus on the implications of species seasonality and hydrologic affinities to the interpretation of the fossil record in upwelling regions.

  10. Exceptionally preserved North American Paleogene metatherians: adaptations and discovery of a major gap in the opossum fossil record.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo; Ladevèze, Sandrine; Horovitz, Inés; Argot, Christine; Hooker, Jeremy J; Macrini, Thomas E; Martin, Thomas; Moore-Fay, Scott; de Muizon, Christian; Schmelzle, Thomas; Asher, Robert J

    2007-06-22

    A major gap in our knowledge of the evolution of marsupial mammals concerns the Paleogene of the northern continents, a critical time and place to link the early history of metatherians in Asia and North America with the more recent diversification in South America and Australia. We studied new exceptionally well-preserved partial skeletons of the Early Oligocene fossil Herpetotherium from the White River Formation in Wyoming, which allowed us to test the relationships of this taxon and examine its adaptations. Herpetotheriidae, with a fossil record extending from the Cretaceous to the Miocene, has traditionally been allied with opossums (Didelphidae) based on fragmentary material, mainly dentitions. Analysis of the new material reveals that several aspects of the cranial and postcranial anatomy, some of which suggests a terrestrial lifestyle, distinguish Herpetotherium from opossums. We found that Herpetotherium is the sister group to the crown group Marsupialia and is not a stem didelphid. Combination of the new palaeontological data with molecular divergence estimates, suggests the presence of a long undocumented gap in the fossil record of opossums extending some 45Myr from the Early Miocene to the Cretaceous.

  11. A first record of Cretaceous aphids (Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Aphidomorpha) in Australia, from the Lower Cretaceous Koonwarra Fossil Bed, Victoria.

    PubMed

    Martin, Sarah K; Skidmore, Luke I; Stilwell, Jeffrey D

    2016-01-01

    This paper describes the first species of aphid from the Lower Cretaceous Koonwarra Fossil Bed of the Gippsland Basin, southeastern Victoria, Australia. This aphid, herein named Koonwarraphis rotundafrons gen. & sp. nov., is assigned to the cosmopolitan Cretaceous superfamily Tajmyraphidoidea, which has been previously described from the Lebanese, Taimyrian, Canadian, Myanmar (Burmese), and Spanish ambers. Koonwarraphis rotundafrons is the first aphid recorded from the eastern Gondwanan landmass during the Cretaceous, and represents the only tajmyraphidoid preserved as a compression fossil, rather than as an amber inclusion. Due to the nature of the fossil's preservation, Koonwarraphis cannot be firmly placed in any of the described tajmyraphidoid families; however, all observable morphological features suggest that the genus is broadly typical of the superfamily and Cretaceous aphids in general. Koonwarraphis' shortened rostrum, a feature also seen in other tajmyraphidoids, suggests an association with the more herbaceous aspects of the Early Cretaceous Victorian flora. Considering the modern aphid preference for angiosperm plants, it is possible that this aphid was living upon the herbaceous early angiosperms recorded previously from the Koonwarra macrofloral assemblage. PMID:27395744

  12. Expanding Ice Sheets on the Antarctic Peninsula during the Plio/Pleistocene Recorded in Continental Rise Sediment Drifts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cowan, E. A.; Hillenbrand, C.

    2007-12-01

    Sediment drifts on the continental rise west of the Antarctic Peninsula are located within 125 km from the continental shelf edge, the main contributor of terrigenous sediment during both glacial and interglacial periods. The composition of drift deposits continuously recorded changes in ice sheet volume and thermal regime as well as sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and sea ice extent. The coarse-grained terrigenous sediment (pebbles and coarse sand), a proxy for iceberg-rafted debris (IRD), was analyzed in sediments spanning the last 3.1 m.y. at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Sites 1101 and 1096. IRD is deposited in both glacial intervals, dominated by fine-grained laminated mud and interglacial units consisting of bioturbated muds enriched in biogenic components. Contents of biogenic opal, which reflect diatom abundance, are relatively high from 3.1-2.2 Ma. Calcareous nannofossils are present within interglacial sediments from 2.2-0.76 Ma. Both findings suggest warm SSTs and limited sea ice over the drifts during interglacial periods before the Late Pleistocene. Quartz grains picked from the IRD fraction and imaged with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) show an abrupt change in surface microtextures at 1.35 Ma. During the Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene, many quartz grains are completely weathered and only a few show signs of crushing and abrasion, indicating that glaciers were too small to inundate the Antarctic Peninsula topography. Debris shed from mountain peaks was transported supraglacially or englacially allowing weathered grains to pass unmodified through the glaciers. Glaciers expanded in size during glacial periods from 1.35-0.76 Ma. The IRD accumulation during those periods was very high and diverse dropstone lithologies document supply from sources throughout the Antarctica Peninsula. Conditions that spawned the large polar ice sheet identified at the Last Glacial Maximum have been present on the Antarctic Peninsula during glacial periods since

  13. The First Occurrence in the Fossil Record of an Aquatic Avian Twig-Nest with Phoenicopteriformes Eggs: Evolutionary Implications

    PubMed Central

    Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Murelaga, Xabier; Larrasoaña, Juan C.; Silveira, Luis F.; Olivares, Maitane; Ortega, Luis A.; Trimby, Patrick W.; Pascual, Ana

    2012-01-01

    Background We describe the first occurrence in the fossil record of an aquatic avian twig-nest with five eggs in situ (Early Miocene Tudela Formation, Ebro Basin, Spain). Extensive outcrops of this formation reveal autochthonous avian osteological and oological fossils that represent a single taxon identified as a basal phoenicopterid. Although the eggshell structure is definitively phoenicopterid, the characteristics of both the nest and the eggs are similar to those of modern grebes. These observations allow us to address the origin of the disparities between the sister taxa Podicipedidae and Phoenicopteridae crown clades, and traces the evolution of the nesting and reproductive environments for phoenicopteriforms. Methodology/Principal Findings Multi-disciplinary analyses performed on fossilized vegetation and eggshells from the eggs in the nest and its embedding sediments indicate that this new phoenicopterid thrived under a semi-arid climate in an oligohaline (seasonally mesohaline) shallow endorheic lacustine environment. High-end microcharacterizations including SEM, TEM, and EBSD techniques were pivotal to identifying these phoenicopterid eggshells. Anatomical comparisons of the fossil bones with those of Phoenicopteriformes and Podicipediformes crown clades and extinct palaelodids confirm that this avian fossil assemblage belongs to a new and basal phoenicopterid. Conclusions/Significance Although the Podicipediformes-Phoenicopteriformes sister group relationship is now well supported, flamingos and grebes exhibit feeding, reproductive, and nesting strategies that diverge significantly. Our multi-disciplinary study is the first to reveal that the phoenicopteriform reproductive behaviour, nesting ecology and nest characteristics derived from grebe-like type strategies to reach the extremely specialized conditions observed in modern flamingo crown groups. Furthermore, our study enables us to map ecological and reproductive characters on the

  14. Solar vs. Tidal Forcing of Centennial to Decadal Scale Variability in Marine Sedimentary Records from the Western Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirkwood, G.; Domack, E.; Brachfeld, S.

    2004-12-01

    Prior studies on Holocene marine sediments from the Antarctic Peninsula, including ODP Site 1098 and USAP N. B. Palmer jumbo piston cores have revealed pronounced multi-century scale variations within a number of paleoenvironmental proxies. In order to fully understand the exact timing of this signal an ultra-high resolution jumbo piston core from the Schollaert Drift was correlated with the well-known Palmer Deep record. A precise and accurate radiocarbon chronology is now available from the former site that utilizes in-situ mollusks, rather than bulk organic matter. The resulting time series spans the last 5000 years over the 20 m length of core NBP99-03 JPC28 and the surface stratigraphy of kasten core NBP01-07 KC8. The corrected and calibrated ages (with an applied reservoir correction of 1170 years) of 10 mollusks dated by the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility and the University of Arizona TAMS facility were used to construct an age-depth profile for JPC28 and KC8. A linear trend (R2 value of 0.993) of the age-depth profile was used to extrapolate the constant time interval between magnetic susceptibility measurements, which were analyzed every 1 cm. Dominant periods in the upper 10 m of the time series were identified using the Arand Spectral Analysis Package (Howell, 2001). This analysis revealed a single pronounced maxima at 160 years, which is inconsistent with the dominant periods found in time series of climate proxies from other sites on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. In particular, periods of 200 and 400 years, which are dominant in the Palmer Deep site (Warner and Domack, 2002), are not present in the Schollaert Drift. The spectral peaks derived from the two records are significantly different at the 95% confidence level. The cycles in the Palmer Deep record have been associated with solar variability, where as the 160 year cycle in the Schollaert Drift is close to a 180 year cycle in tidal forces (Keeling

  15. Phylogeography of Douglas-fir based on mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA sequences: testing hypotheses from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gugger, Paul F; Sugita, Shinya; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine

    2010-05-01

    The integration of fossil and molecular data can provide a synthetic understanding of the ecological and evolutionary history of an organism. We analysed range-wide maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA and paternally inherited chloroplast DNA sequence data with coalescent simulations and traditional population genetic methods to test hypotheses of population divergence generated from the fossil record of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), an ecologically and economically important western North American conifer. Specifically, we tested (i) the hypothesis that the Pliocene orogeny of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada caused the divergence of coastal and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir varieties; and (ii) the hypothesis that multiple glacial refugia existed on the coast and in the Rocky Mountains. We found that Douglas-fir varieties diverged about 2.11 Ma (4.37 Ma-755 ka), which could be consistent with a Pliocene divergence. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir probably resided in three or more glacial refugia. More variable molecular markers would be required to detect the two coastal refugia suggested in the fossil record. Comparison of mitochondrial DNA and chloroplast DNA variation revealed that gene flow via pollen linked populations isolated from seed exchange. Postglacial colonization of Canada from coastal and Rocky Mountain refugia near the ice margin at the Last Glacial Maximum produced a wide hybrid zone among varieties that formed almost exclusively by pollen exchange and chloroplast DNA introgression, not seed exchange. Postglacial migration rates were 50-165 m/year, insufficient to track projected 21st century warming in some regions. Although fossil and genetic data largely agree, each provides unique insights. PMID:20374486

  16. Fossil isotope records of seasonal climate and ecology: Straight from the horse's mouth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharp, Z. D.; Cerling, T. E.

    1998-03-01

    Isotope analysis of a bulk fossil tooth gives a “snapshot” impression of paleoclimatic conditions—a single point in time. However, hypsodont teeth grow over a period of a year or more, so that stable carbon and oxygen isotope variations along their length are a “tape recorder” of short-term seasonal variations from the distant past. We have used a new in situ micro-laser sampling method to determine submillimeter carbon and oxygen isotope variations in the enamel of individual fossil horse teeth to assess ancient annual meteoric water variations and feeding patterns. The δ18O values from a 6.8 Ma fossil horse tooth (Astrohippus ansae) from Texas vary cyclically along the 6 cm length of the tooth with a smoothed amplitude of >4‰, similar to the monthly averaged amplitude measured in modern meteoric waters from the region. The seasonal δ18O values are ˜3‰ to 4‰ higher than those calculated from modern meteoric water data, suggesting either a higher local meteoric water value in the Miocene of Texas, or that the animal received a high proportion of its dietary water from plants or highly evaporated water. A Holocene horse tooth from the shores of Glacial Lake Agassiz, North Dakota (Equus sp.), also has isotopic variations with the same 35 mm periodicity, but a smoothed amplitude of only 2‰. This horse most likely had a buffered drinking supply. The calculated δ18O of the water in equilibrium with this tooth is the same as the modern measured annual average. The variations within a single tooth can be as large as those generally observed in entire stratigraphic sections of fossil teeth analyzed by bulk methods. The new method provides an important technique for evaluating fossil diagenesis; conventional bulk analyses of teeth fragments may not be representative of the whole tooth, thus explaining analytical scatter that has been previously attributed to diagenesis.

  17. A stacked record of relative geomagnetic paleointensity for the past 270 kyr from the western continental rise of the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macrì, Patrizia; Sagnotti, Leonardo; Lucchi, Renata Giulia; Rebesco, Michele

    2006-11-01

    Paleomagnetic and rock magnetic investigations were carried out on four gravity cores recovered from the western continental rise of the Antarctic Peninsula during the SEDANO II cruise of RV OGS-Explora. The studied cores, each about 6.5 m-long, were collected at a depth of 3700-4100 m below the sea level, on the distal gentle side of sediment Drift 7, and consist of very fine-grained sediments spanning through various glacial-interglacial cycles. Detailed analysis of the paleomagnetic and rock magnetic data allowed to reconstruct relative paleointensity (RPI) records (NRM20 mT/ARM20 mT) for each core. We established a refined age model for the studied sequences by correlating individual SEDANO RPI curves to the global RPI stack SINT-800 [Y. Guyodo, J.-P. Valet, Global changes in intensity of the Earth's magnetic field during the past 800 kyr, Nature 399 (1999) 249-252]. The individual normalized SEDANO RPI records are in mutual close agreement; they were thus merged in a RPI stacking curve spanning the last 270 kyr and showing a low standard deviation. This study also points out that RPI records may provide a viable tool to date otherwise difficult-to-date sedimentary sequences, such as those deposited along peri-Antarctic margins. The new RPI chronology indicates that the sampled sedimentary sequence is younger than previously thought and allows a new high-resolution correlation to oxygen isotope stages. Furthermore, we recognized variations in the rock magnetic parameters that appear to be climatically-driven, with changes in the relative proportion of two magnetic mineral populations with distinct coercivities. Rock magnetic and lithological trends observed in the SEDANO cores indicate that during the climatic cycles of the Late Pleistocene this sector of the peri-Antarctic margin was subjected to subtle, yet identifiable, environmental changes, confirming a relatively higher instability of the West Antarctic ice sheet with respect to the East Antarctic

  18. A 5000-year fossil record of larval shell morphology of submarine cave microshells.

    PubMed

    Ubukata, Takao; Kitamura, Akihisa; Hiramoto, Mayumi; Kase, Tomoki

    2009-01-01

    A 5000-year fossil series of minute submarine cave bivalves was studied using morphometric and evolutionary analyses. The obtained results indicate that the shapes of larval shells of studied species were labile, whereas the size of the larval shell was stable in each species studied. This result is different than that previously reported in most other studies in which size change is more common than shape change. This unique evolutionary pattern of these bivalves might be attributed to their refugial lifestyle. PMID:19146597

  19. The consequences of time averaging for measuring temporal species turnover in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomašových, Adam; Kidwell, Susan

    2010-05-01

    Modeling time averaging effects with simple simulations allows us to evaluate the magnitude of change in temporal species turnover that is expected to occur in long (paleoecological) time series with fossil assemblages. Distinguishing different modes of metacommunity dynamics (such as neutral, density-dependent, or trade-off dynamics) with time-averaged fossil assemblages requires scaling-up time-averaging effects because the decrease in temporal resolution and the decrease in temporal inter-sample separation (i.e., the two main effects of time averaging) substantially increase community stability relative to assemblages without or with weak time averaging. Large changes in temporal scale that cover centuries to millennia can lead to unprecedented effects on temporal rate of change in species composition. Temporal variation in species composition monotonically decreases with increasing duration of time-averaging in simulated fossil assemblages. Time averaging is also associated with the reduction of species dominance owing to the temporal switching in the identity of dominant species. High degrees of time averaging can cause that community parameters of local fossil assemblages converge to parameters of metacommunity rather that to parameters of individual local non-averaged communities. We find that the low variation in species composition observed among mollusk and ostracod subfossil assemblages can be explained by time averaging alone, and low temporal resolution and reduced temporal separation among assemblages in time series can thus explain a substantial part of the reduced variation in species composition relative to unscaled predictions of neutral model (i.e., species do not differ in birth, death, and immigration rates on per capita basis). The structure of time-averaged assemblages can thus provide important insights into processes that act over larger temporal scales, such as evolution of niches and dispersal, range-limit dynamics, taxon cycles, and

  20. Antarctic Miocene Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashworth, A. C.; Lewis, A. R.

    2013-12-01

    Fossils from Antarctic Miocene terrestrial deposits, coupled with stratigraphic, geochemical and paleontological data from marine boreholes, provide new insights into the climatic history of the continent. During the Miocene, ice caps coalesced to form ice sheets and vegetated surfaces gave way to barren expanses. The cryospheric changes especially have global climatic implications. The fossil data consists of diatoms, pollen and spores, and macroscopic remains of plants, ostracods, insects, molluscs and a fish. Plant fossils include wood and leaves of Nothofagus (southern beech), seeds of several vascular plants, including Ranunculus (buttercup), Hippuris (mare's-tail) and Myriophyllum (watermilfoil), megaspores of Isoetes (quillwort), and moss species. The insect chitin consists of larval head capsules of Chironomidae (midges) and exoskeletal parts of Coleoptera (beetles). The molluscs include freshwater gastropods and bivalves. The majority of these taxa are likely descendants of taxa that had survived on the continent from the Paleogene or earlier. Even though early Miocene glaciations may have been large, the climate was never cold enough to cause the extinction of the biota, which probably survived in coastal refugia. Early Miocene (c. 20 Ma) macrofossils from the McMurdo Dry Valleys (77°S) support palynological interpretations from the Cape Roberts and ANDRILL marine records that the upland vegetation was a shrub tundra. Mean summer temperature (MST) in the uplands was c. 6°C and possibly higher at the coast. The climate was wet, supporting mires and lakes. By the mid-Miocene, even though the climate continued to be wet. MST was c. 4°C which was too cold to support Nothofagus and most vascular plant species. Stratigraphic evidence indicates that the time between the Early and Mid-Miocene was a time of repeated ice advances and retreats of small glaciers originating from ice caps. At c. 14 Ma there appears to have been a modal shift in climate to

  1. Individual to Community-Level Faunal Responses to Environmental Change from a Marine Fossil Record of Early Miocene Global Warming

    PubMed Central

    Belanger, Christina L.

    2012-01-01

    Modern climate change has a strong potential to shift earth systems and biological communities into novel states that have no present-day analog, leaving ecologists with no observational basis to predict the likely biotic effects. Fossil records contain long time-series of past environmental changes outside the range of modern observation, which are vital for predicting future ecological responses, and are capable of (a) providing detailed information on rates of ecological change, (b) illuminating the environmental drivers of those changes, and (c) recording the effects of environmental change on individual physiological rates. Outcrops of Early Miocene Newport Member of the Astoria Formation (Oregon) provide one such time series. This record of benthic foraminiferal and molluscan community change from continental shelf depths spans a past interval environmental change (∼20.3-16.7 mya) during which the region warmed 2.1–4.5°C, surface productivity and benthic organic carbon flux increased, and benthic oxygenation decreased, perhaps driven by intensified upwelling as on the modern Oregon coast. The Newport Member record shows that (a) ecological responses to natural environmental change can be abrupt, (b) productivity can be the primary driver of faunal change during global warming, (c) molluscs had a threshold response to productivity change while foraminifera changed gradually, and (d) changes in bivalve body size and growth rates parallel changes in taxonomic composition at the community level, indicating that, either directly or indirectly through some other biological parameter, the physiological tolerances of species do influence community change. Ecological studies in modern and fossil records that consider multiple ecological levels, environmental parameters, and taxonomic groups can provide critical information for predicting future ecological change and evaluating species vulnerability. PMID:22558424

  2. Antarctic Intermediate Water properties since 400 ka recorded in infaunal (Uvigerina peregrina) and epifaunal (Planulina wuellerstorfi) benthic foraminifera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elmore, Aurora C.; McClymont, Erin L.; Elderfield, Henry; Kender, Sev; Cook, Michael R.; Leng, Melanie J.; Greaves, Mervyn; Misra, Sambuddha

    2015-10-01

    Reconstruction of intermediate water properties is important for understanding feedbacks within the ocean-climate system, particularly since these water masses are capable of driving high-low latitude teleconnections. Nevertheless, information about intermediate water mass evolution through the late Pleistocene remains limited. This paper examines changes in Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), the most extensive intermediate water mass in the modern ocean through the last 400 kyr using the stable isotopic composition (δ18O and δ13C) and trace element concentration (Mg/Ca and B/Ca) of two benthic foraminiferal species from the same samples: epifaunal Planulina wuellerstorfi and infaunal Uvigerina peregrina. Our results confirm that the most reasonable estimates of AAIW temperature and Δ[CO2-3] are generated by Mg/CaU. peregrina and B/CaP. wuellerstorfi, respectively. We present a 400 kyr record of intermediate water temperature and Δ[CO2-3] from a sediment core from the Southwest Pacific (DSDP site 593; 40°30‧S, 167°41‧E, 1068 m water depth), which lies within the core of modern AAIW. Our results suggest that a combination of geochemical analyses on both infaunal and epifaunal benthic foraminiferal species yields important information about this critical water mass through the late Pleistocene. When combined with two nearby records of water properties from deeper depths, our data demonstrate that during interglacial stages of the late Pleistocene, AAIW and Circumpolar Deep Water (CPDW) have more similar water mass properties (temperature and δ13C), while glacial stages are typified by dissimilar properties between AAIW and CPDW in the Southwest Pacific. Our new Δ[CO2-3] record shows short time-scale variations, but a lack of coherent glacial-interglacial variability indicating that large quantities of carbon were not stored in intermediate waters during recent glacial periods.

  3. Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic control on early diagenetic processes and fossil record in Cretaceous continental sandstones of Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia, Antônio J. V.; da Rosa, Átila A. S.; Goldberg, Karin

    2005-08-01

    The Early Cretaceous, pre-rift continental rock sequences of northeastern Brazil (Rio do Peixe, Araripe, Recôncavo-Tucano, and Sergipe-Alagoas basins), deposited in a wide intracontinental basin (Afro-Brazilian Depression), and the Late Cretaceous, post-rift continental deposits of the Paraná Basin (Bauru Group, Minas Gerais) reflect the controlling processes related to the Brazilian record of nonmarine fossil vertebrates. These sequences were deposited in braided fluvial, eolian, and lacustrine environments in a semi-arid to arid climate. Sedimentary and diagenetic processes ascribed to paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental conditions are among the major factors that control fossil preservation in fluvial deposits. The pre-rift successions contain a rare record of a dinosaur fauna that lived near more humid highlands in the northern portion of the Afro-Brazilian Depression, relative to its southern counterpart, where hardly any fossil remains would have been preserved in the adverse climatic conditions. The Afro-Brazilian Depression is interpreted as a large pathway for dinosaurs before the breakup of Gondwana. Conversely, abundant dinosaur remains (bones, eggs, and teeth) and other vertebrates (turtles, crocodiles, frogs, and fish) are found in the Bauru Group in the Paraná Basin. In this unit, the seasonal paleoclimate provided sufficient conditions for the maintenance of bodies of water that served as nesting and living sites for various vertebrate forms. Paleoclimatic conditions are assumed to account for the different preservation of bones in the Paraná Basin relative to the Afro-Brazilian Depression, because the latter was subject to more arid conditions, and the humid environment was restricted to the northern margin.

  4. Tooth counts through growth in diapsid reptiles: implications for interpreting individual and size-related variation in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Brown, Caleb Marshall; VanBuren, Collin S; Larson, Derek W; Brink, Kirstin S; Campione, Nicolás E; Vavrek, Matthew J; Evans, David C

    2015-04-01

    Tooth counts are commonly recorded in fossil diapsid reptiles and have been used for taxonomic and phylogenetic purposes under the assumption that differences in the number of teeth are largely explained by interspecific variation. Although phylogeny is almost certainly one of the greatest factors influencing tooth count, the relative role of intraspecific variation is difficult, and often impossible, to test in the fossil record given the sample sizes available to palaeontologists and, as such, is best investigated using extant models. Intraspecific variation (largely manifested as size-related or ontogenetic variation) in tooth counts has been examined in extant squamates (lizards and snakes) but is poorly understood in archosaurs (crocodylians and dinosaurs). Here, we document tooth count variation in two species of extant crocodylians (Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus porosus) as well as a large varanid lizard (Varanus komodoensis). We test the hypothesis that variation in tooth count is driven primarily by growth and thus predict significant correlations between tooth count and size, as well as differences in the frequency of deviation from the modal tooth count in the premaxilla, maxilla, and dentary. In addition to tooth counts, we also document tooth allometry in each species and compare these results with tooth count change through growth. Results reveal no correlation of tooth count with size in any element of any species examined here, with the exception of the premaxilla of C. porosus, which shows the loss of one tooth position. Based on the taxa examined here, we reject the hypothesis, as it is evident that variation in tooth count is not always significantly correlated with growth. However, growth trajectories of smaller reptilian taxa show increases in tooth counts and, although current samples are small, suggest potential correlates between tooth count trajectories and adult size. Nevertheless, interspecific variation in growth patterns

  5. Tooth counts through growth in diapsid reptiles: implications for interpreting individual and size-related variation in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Brown, Caleb Marshall; VanBuren, Collin S; Larson, Derek W; Brink, Kirstin S; Campione, Nicolás E; Vavrek, Matthew J; Evans, David C

    2015-04-01

    Tooth counts are commonly recorded in fossil diapsid reptiles and have been used for taxonomic and phylogenetic purposes under the assumption that differences in the number of teeth are largely explained by interspecific variation. Although phylogeny is almost certainly one of the greatest factors influencing tooth count, the relative role of intraspecific variation is difficult, and often impossible, to test in the fossil record given the sample sizes available to palaeontologists and, as such, is best investigated using extant models. Intraspecific variation (largely manifested as size-related or ontogenetic variation) in tooth counts has been examined in extant squamates (lizards and snakes) but is poorly understood in archosaurs (crocodylians and dinosaurs). Here, we document tooth count variation in two species of extant crocodylians (Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus porosus) as well as a large varanid lizard (Varanus komodoensis). We test the hypothesis that variation in tooth count is driven primarily by growth and thus predict significant correlations between tooth count and size, as well as differences in the frequency of deviation from the modal tooth count in the premaxilla, maxilla, and dentary. In addition to tooth counts, we also document tooth allometry in each species and compare these results with tooth count change through growth. Results reveal no correlation of tooth count with size in any element of any species examined here, with the exception of the premaxilla of C. porosus, which shows the loss of one tooth position. Based on the taxa examined here, we reject the hypothesis, as it is evident that variation in tooth count is not always significantly correlated with growth. However, growth trajectories of smaller reptilian taxa show increases in tooth counts and, although current samples are small, suggest potential correlates between tooth count trajectories and adult size. Nevertheless, interspecific variation in growth patterns

  6. Non-climatic signal in ice core records: lessons from Antarctic mega-dunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ekaykin, A.; Eberlein, L.; Lipenkov, V.; Popov, S.; Scheinert, M.; Schröder, L.; Turkeev, A.

    2015-12-01

    We present the results of glaciological investigations in the mega-dune area located 30 km to the east from Vostok Station (central East Antarctica) implemented during the 58th, 59th and 60th Russian Antarctic Expedition (January 2013-January 2015). Snow accumulation rate and isotope content (δD, δ18O and δ17O) were measured along the 2 km profile across the mega-dune ridge accompanied by precise GPS altitude measurements and GPR survey. It is shown that the spatial variability of snow accumulation and isotope content covaries with the surface slope. The accumulation rate regularly changes by one order of magnitude within the distance < 1 km, with the reduced accumulation at the leeward slope of the dune and increased accumulation in the hollow between the dunes. At the same time, the accumulation rate averaged over the length of a dune wave (22 mm we) corresponds well with the value obtained at Vostok Station, which suggests no additional wind-driven snow sublimation in the mega-dunes compared to the surrounding plateau. The snow isotopic composition is in negative correlation with the snow accumulation. Analyzing dxs/δD and 17O-excess/δD slopes, we conclude that the spatial variability of the snow isotopic composition in the mega-dune area could be explained by post-depositional snow modifications. Using the GPR data, we estimated the apparent dune drift velocity (4.6 ± 1.1 m yr-1). The full cycle of the dune drift is thus about 410 years. Since the spatial anomalies of snow accumulation and isotopic composition are supposed to drift with the dune, an ice core drilled in the mega-dune area would exhibit the non-climatic 410 year cycle of these two parameters. We simulated a vertical profile of snow isotopic composition with such a non-climatic variability, using the data on the dune size and velocity. This artificial profile is then compared with the real vertical profile of snow isotopic composition obtained from a core drilled in the mega-dune area. We

  7. Non-climatic signal in ice core records: lessons from Antarctic megadunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ekaykin, Alexey; Eberlein, Lutz; Lipenkov, Vladimir; Popov, Sergey; Scheinert, Mirko; Schröder, Ludwig; Turkeev, Alexey

    2016-06-01

    We present the results of glaciological investigations in the megadune area located 30 km to the east of Vostok Station (central East Antarctica) implemented during the 58th, 59th and 60th Russian Antarctic Expedition (January 2013-2015). Snow accumulation rate and isotope content (δD, δ18O and δ17O) were measured along the 2 km profile across the megadune ridge accompanied by precise GPS altitude measurements and ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey. It is shown that the spatial variability of snow accumulation and isotope content covaries with the surface slope. The accumulation rate regularly changes by 1 order of magnitude within the distance < 1 km, with the reduced accumulation at the leeward slope of the dune and increased accumulation in the hollow between the dunes. At the same time, the accumulation rate averaged over the length of a dune wave (22 mm w.e.) corresponds well with the value obtained at Vostok Station, which suggests no additional wind-driven snow sublimation in the megadunes compared to the surrounding plateau. The snow isotopic composition is in negative correlation with the snow accumulation. Analysing dxs / δD and 17O-excess / δD slopes (where dxs = δD - 8 ṡ δ18O and 17O-excess = ln(δ17O / 1000 + 1) -0.528 ṡ ln (δ18O / 1000 + 1)), we conclude that the spatial variability of the snow isotopic composition in the megadune area could be explained by post-depositional snow modifications. Using the GPR data, we estimated the apparent dune drift velocity (4.6 ± 1.1 m yr-1). The full cycle of the dune drift is thus about 410 years. Since the spatial anomalies of snow accumulation and isotopic composition are supposed to drift with the dune, a core drilled in the megadune area would exhibit the non-climatic 410-year cycle of these two parameters. We simulated a vertical profile of snow isotopic composition with such a non-climatic variability, using the data on the dune size and velocity. This artificial profile is then compared

  8. Vegetation response to climate change in Alaska: examples from the fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ager, Thomas A.

    2007-01-01

    Preface: This report was presented as an invited paper at the Fish & Wildlife Service Climate Forum held in Anchorage, Alaska on February 21-23, 2007. The purpose of the talk was to provide some examples of past climate changes that appear to have caused significant responses in Alaskan vegetation. These examples are based on interpretations of dated fossil assemblages (pollen, spores and plant macrofossils) collected and interpreted by U.S. Geological Survey and collaborating scientists from other scientific organizations during the past several decades.

  9. The baryon halo of the milky way: A fossil record of its formation

    PubMed

    Bland-Hawthorn; Freeman

    2000-01-01

    Astronomers believe that the baryon (stellar) halo of the Milky Way retains a fossil imprint of how it was formed. But a vast literature shows that the struggle to interpret the observations within a consistent framework continues. The evidence indicates that the halo has built up through a process of accretion and merging over billions of years, which is still going on at a low level. Future satellite missions to derive three-dimensional space motions and heavy element (metal) abundances for a billion stars will disentangle the existing web and elucidate how galaxies like our own came into existence.

  10. The bubble fossil record: insight into boiling nucleation using nanofluid pool-boiling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huitink, David; Ontiveros, Elvis Efren Dominguez; Hassan, Yassin

    2012-02-01

    Subcooled pool boiling of Al2O3/water nanofluid (0.1 vol%) was investigated. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy were used to observe surface features of the wire heater where nanoparticles had deposited. A layer of aggregated alumina particles collected on the heated surface, where evidence of fluid shear associated with bubble nucleation and departure was "fossilized" in the fluidized nano-porous surface coating. These structures contain evidence of the fluid forces present in the microlayer prior to departure and provide a unique understanding of boiling phenomena. A unique mode of heat transfer was identified in nanofluid pool boiling.

  11. Phylogenomic dating--a method of constraining the age of microbial taxa that lack a conventional fossil record.

    PubMed

    Blank, Carrine E

    2009-03-01

    A phylogenomic dating approach was used to identify potential age constraints for multiple archaeal groups, many of which have no fossil, isotopic, or biomarker record. First, well-resolved phylogenetic trees were inferred with the use of multiple gene sequences obtained from whole genome sequences. Next, the ability to use oxygen as a terminal electron acceptor was coded into characters, and ancestral state reconstruction was used to identify clades with taxa that metabolize oxygen and likely had an aerobic ancestor. Next, the habitat of the ancestor was inferred. If the local presence of Cyanobacteria could be excluded from the putative ancestral habitat, then these clades would have originated after the rise in atmospheric oxygen 2.32 Ga. With this method, an upper age of 2.32 Ga (an "oxygen age constraint") is proposed for four major archaeal clades: the Sulfolobales, Thermoplasmatales, Thermoproteus neutrophilus/Pyrobaculum spp., and the Thermoproteales. It was also shown that the halophilic archaea likely had an aerobic common ancestor, yet the possibility of local oxygen oases before oxygenation of the atmosphere could not be formally rejected. Thus, an oxygen age constraint was not assessed for this group. This work suggests that many archaeal groups are not as ancient as many in the research community have previously assumed, and it provides a new method for establishing upper age constraints for major microbial groups that lack a conventional fossil record.

  12. Towards a morphological metric of assemblage dynamics in the fossil record: a test case using planktonic foraminifera.

    PubMed

    Hsiang, Allison Y; Elder, Leanne E; Hull, Pincelli M

    2016-04-01

    With a glance, even the novice naturalist can tell you something about the ecology of a given ecosystem. This is because the morphology of individuals reflects their evolutionary history and ecology, and imparts a distinct 'look' to communities--making it possible to immediately discern between deserts and forests, or coral reefs and abyssal plains. Once quantified, morphology can provide a common metric for characterizing communities across space and time and, if measured rapidly, serve as a powerful tool for quantifying biotic dynamics. Here, we present and test a new high-throughput approach for analysing community shape in the fossil record using semi-three-dimensional (3D) morphometrics from vertically stacked images (light microscopic or photogrammetric). We assess the potential informativeness of community morphology in a first analysis of the relationship between 3D morphology, ecology and phylogeny in 16 extant species of planktonic foraminifera--an abundant group in the marine fossil record--and in a preliminary comparison of four assemblages from the North Atlantic. In the species examined, phylogenetic relatedness was most closely correlated with ecology, with all three ecological traits examined (depth habitat, symbiont ecology and biogeography) showing significant phylogenetic signal. By contrast, morphological trees (based on 3D shape similarity) were relatively distantly related to both ecology and phylogeny. Although improvements are needed to realize the full utility of community morphometrics, our approach already provides robust volumetric measurements of assemblage size, a key ecological characteristic. PMID:26977067

  13. Revisiting the origin and diversification of vascular plants through a comprehensive Bayesian analysis of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Silvestro, Daniele; Cascales-Miñana, Borja; Bacon, Christine D; Antonelli, Alexandre

    2015-07-01

    Plants have a long evolutionary history, during which mass extinction events dramatically affected Earth's ecosystems and its biodiversity. The fossil record can shed light on the diversification dynamics of plant life and reveal how changes in the origination-extinction balance have contributed to shaping the current flora. We use a novel Bayesian approach to estimate origination and extinction rates in plants throughout their history. We focus on the effect of the 'Big Five' mass extinctions and on estimating the timing of origin of vascular plants, seed plants and angiosperms. Our analyses show that plant diversification is characterized by several shifts in origination and extinction rates, often matching the most important geological boundaries. The estimated origin of major plant clades predates the oldest macrofossils when considering the uncertainties associated with the fossil record and the preservation process. Our findings show that the commonly recognized mass extinctions have affected each plant group differently and that phases of high extinction often coincided with major floral turnovers. For instance, after the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary we infer negligible shifts in diversification of nonflowering seed plants, but find significantly decreased extinction in spore-bearing plants and increased origination rates in angiosperms, contributing to their current ecological and evolutionary dominance.

  14. Phylogenomic Dating-A Method of Constraining the Age of Microbial Taxa That Lack a Conventional Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blank, Carrine E.

    2009-03-01

    A phylogenomic dating approach was used to identify potential age constraints for multiple archaeal groups, many of which have no fossil, isotopic, or biomarker record. First, well-resolved phylogenetic trees were inferred with the use of multiple gene sequences obtained from whole genome sequences. Next, the ability to use oxygen as a terminal electron acceptor was coded into characters, and ancestral state reconstruction was used to identify clades with taxa that metabolize oxygen and likely had an aerobic ancestor. Next, the habitat of the ancestor was inferred. If the local presence of Cyanobacteria could be excluded from the putative ancestral habitat, then these clades would have originated after the rise in atmospheric oxygen 2.32 Ga. With this method, an upper age of 2.32 Ga (an "oxygen age constraint") is proposed for four major archaeal clades: the Sulfolobales, Thermoplasmatales, Thermoproteus neutrophilus/Pyrobaculum spp., and the Thermoproteales. It was also shown that the halophilic archaea likely had an aerobic common ancestor, yet the possibility of local oxygen oases before oxygenation of the atmosphere could not be formally rejected. Thus, an oxygen age constraint was not assessed for this group. This work suggests that many archaeal groups are not as ancient as many in the research community have previously assumed, and it provides a new method for establishing upper age constraints for major microbial groups that lack a conventional fossil record.

  15. Environmental Magnetic Record of Worldwide Late Pleistocene Climatic Events from the Pacific Margin of the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sagnotti, L.; Patrizia, M.; Camerlenghi, A.; Rebesco, M.

    2001-12-01

    We report a high-resolution paleomagnetic and rock magnetic study carried out on three piston cores, recovered within the SEDANO Project in the western continental rise of the Antarctic Peninsula. The cores span the time interval between the present-day and the last interglacial, with one (SED-06) extending to about 150 kyr. An improved age model for the three cores was obtained by correlating the relative paleointensity records to global paleointensity reference curves (SINT-200). In such improved time frame we found that sharp coercivity minima (corresponding to characteristic dark grey layers in the last glacial interval of the SED-02 and SED-04 cores) are time correlated with the Heinrich events identified in the North Atlantic sediments. We relate such environmental magnetic signal to variations in deep sea diagenetic processes of sulphides formation, which reflect changes in the input of detrital organic matter controlled by past sea-ice extent. Because of the inherent chronological uncertainties it is not yet possible to identify time lags or leads in interhemispheric linkage, but the timing of these dark grey layers is close enough to that the Heinrich events to suggest an interhemispheric consistent response to global climate changes during the last glaciation.

  16. Antarctic-type blue whale calls recorded at low latitudes in the Indian and eastern Pacific Oceans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stafford, Kathleen M.; Bohnenstiehl, DelWayne R.; Tolstoy, Maya; Chapp, Emily; Mellinger, David K.; Moore, Sue E.

    2004-10-01

    Blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, were once abundant around the Antarctic during the austral summer, but intensive whaling during the first half of the 20th century reduced their numbers by over 99%. Although interannual variability of blue whale occurrence on the Antarctic feeding grounds was documented by whalers, little was known about where the whales spent the winter months. Antarctic blue whales produce calls that are distinct from those produced by blue whales elsewhere in the world. To investigate potential winter migratory destinations of Antarctic blue whales, we examined acoustic data for these signals from two low-latitude locales: the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Antarctic-type blue whale calls were detected on hydrophones in both regions during the austral autumn and winter (May-September), with peak detections in July. Calls occurred over relatively brief periods in both oceans, suggesting that there may be only a few animals migrating so far north and/or producing calls. Antarctic blue whales appear to use both the Indian and eastern Pacific Oceans concurrently, indicating that there is not a single migratory destination. Acoustic data from the South Atlantic and from mid-latitudes in the Indian or Pacific Oceans are needed for a more global understanding of migratory patterns and destinations of Antarctic blue whales.

  17. Challenges Of Interpreting Antarctic Pliocene Climate From The Sediment Record At ODP Sites 693 And 697 In The Weddell Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    OConnell, S.; Cullen, K.; Flores, C.; Hall, J. T.; Kaufman, Z. S.

    2015-12-01

    The Weddell Sea receives sediment from both East and West Antarctica and records cryospheric changes in both ice sheets. Examination of Pliocene sediment from two ODP Sites (693 and 697) provides a history of ice rafted detritus (IRD), biosilica production and orbital pacing. Age dating at both sites is limited to shipboard biostratigraphy and paleomagnetics, yielding low age resolution. Using this age data we have attempted to correlate sedimentary changes with the LR04 benthic stack to provide a context with global oceanographic changes. Site 693 is adjacent to Dronning Maud Land on a shelf bench in 2480 m water and receives sediment exclusively from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). Detailed analysis of Core 8R, (approximately 1 sample/2-3 kyr) within Chron 2Ar (3.58-4.18 my) shows little variation in wt% biosilica and wt% IRD (fraction >63um). The exception is around 4 Ma when IRD is relatively constant at 2 wt%, while biosilica ranges 6 to 14%. These changes do not parallel the LR04 stack, suggesting limited interaction at this site with the global ocean. 40Ar/39Ar dating of hornblendes and biotites give a consistent age between 400-650 Ma (Pan African orogeny). The limited age range and composition, as well as small variation in % of IRD and biosilica suggest a single source and support the interpretation that this portion of the EAIS was relatively stable at this time. Site 697, in 3480 m water, lies in the Jane Basin, adjacent to the South Orkney Islands. The interval between 3.0 and 3.8 Ma has higher variation in both IRD (1-13%) and biosilica (2-12%) than Site 693, an expected outcome because its terrigeneous sediment source is dominated by the less stable West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Clear obliquity pacing, correlateable with part of the LR04 stack, is observed. However after 3.3 Ma, near the beginning of the Pliocene warm period, wt% IRD is less than 2% and biosilica increases to it's highest values. This suggests that few icebergs are reaching this far

  18. A new 10Be record recovered from an Antarctic ice core: validity and limitations to record the solar activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baroni, Mélanie; Bard, Edouard; Aster Team

    2015-04-01

    Cosmogenic nuclides provide the only possibility to document solar activity over millennia. Carbon-14 (14C) and beryllium-10 (10Be) records are retrieved from tree rings and ice cores, respectively. Recently, 14C records have also proven to be reliable to detect two large Solar Proton Events (SPE) (Miyake et al., Nature, 2012, Miyake et al., Nat. Commun., 2013) that occurred in 774-775 A.D. and in 993-994 A.D.. The origin of these events is still under debate but it opens new perspectives for the interpretation of 10Be ice core records. We present a new 10Be record from an ice core from Dome C (Antarctica) covering the last millennium. The chronology of this new ice core has been established by matching volcanic events on the WAIS Divide ice core (WDC06A) that is the best dated record in Antarctica over the Holocene (Sigl et al., JGR, 2013, Sigl et al., Nat. Clim. Change, 2014). The five minima of solar activity (Oort, Wolf, Spörer, Maunder and Dalton) are detected and characterized by a 10Be concentration increase of ca. 20% above average in agreement with previous studies of ice cores drilled at South Pole and Dome Fuji in Antarctica (Bard et al., EPSL, 1997; Horiuchi et al., Quat. Geochrono., 2008) and at NGRIP and Dye3 in Greenland (Berggren et al., GRL, 2009). The high resolution, on the order of a year, allows the detection of the 11-year solar cycle. Sulfate concentration, a proxy for volcanic eruptions, has also been measured in the very same samples, allowing a precise comparison of both 10Be and sulfate profiles. We confirm the systematic relationship between stratospheric eruptions and 10Be concentration increases, first evidenced by observations of the stratospheric volcanic eruptions of Agung in 1963 and Pinatubo in 1991 (Baroni et al., GCA, 2011). This relationship is due to an increase in 10Be deposition linked to the role played by the sedimentation of volcanic aerosols. In the light of these new elements, we will discuss the limitations and

  19. A new record of post-glacial sedimentation in a glacial trough, offshore sub-Antarctic South Georgia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meisel, Ove; Graham, Alastair; Kuhn, Gerhard

    2014-05-01

    Past studies of South Georgia's climatic history were constrained to land-based sedimentary records, such as peat bogs and coastal lakes, or to terrestrial geomorphology, such as terminal moraines. Hence, the current state of knowledge on past climatic changes in South Georgia is characterised by a complete absence of records from sedimentary marine archives in the fjords or coastal embayments of the region. This study comprises detailed examination of one of the first marine sediment cores recovered on its northeastern shelf in Royal Bay Glacial Trough. Alongside the analysis of new acoustic sub-bottom data, it is the first work to deliver extensive insight into South Georgia's post-glacial climatic history from a marine perspective. The glacial troughs on the South Georgia shelf radiate from the coast towards the shelf edge and represent major sediment traps as they form the only key large-scale depressions in the shelf bathymetry. Sedimentary records, covering a period since at least the Last Glacial Maximum, are thought likely to be recorded in most of them. The sediment core of this study covers sedimentation dated from a maximum of 15,346 ± 492 cal. yr BP until the present day. Physical core parameters indicate a major change in climatic conditions around 14,000 cal. yr BP, the time of the Antarctic Cold Reversal. Holocene climate variabilities are also recorded in the trough infill. The acoustic data show a major change in sedimentation and a pronounced unconformity at the core site, which appears to have had a widespread effect over a large area of the shelf. The origin of the unconformity remains unclear, though several hypotheses, including bottom-current erosion, glacial overriding and earthquake activity, are proposed and discussed. Another important finding at the core site is the presence of methane-derived authigenic carbonates. They form either as secondary precipitates in the subsurface or syndepositional at the seafloor as individual minerals or

  20. Contrasting behavioral and feeding strategies recorded by tidal-flat bivalve trace fossils from the Upper Carboniferous of eastern Kansas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mangano, M.G.; Buatois, L.A.; West, R.R.; Maples, C.G.

    1998-01-01

    Upper Carboniferous tidal-flat deposits near Waverly, eastern Kansas (Stull Shale Member, Kanwaka Shale Formation), host abundant and very well-preserved trace fossils attributed to the activity of burrowing bivalves. Thin shell lenses with an abundant bivalve fauna area associated with the ichnofossil-bearing beds and afford an unusual opportunity to relate trace fossils to their makers. Two distinctive life and feeding strategies can be reconstructed on the basis of trace fossil analysis and functional morphology. Lockeria siliquaria hyporeliefs commonly are connected with vertical to inclined, truncated endichnial shafts in the absence of horizontal locomotion traces. These structures record vertical and oblique displacement through the sediment, and suggest relatively stable domiciles rather than temporary resting traces as typically considered. Crowded bedding surfaces displaying cross-cutting relationships between specimens of L. siliquaria and differential preservation at the top (concave versus convex epireliefs) record a complex history of successive events of colonization, erosion, deposition, and recolonization (time-averaged assemblages). Irregujlar contours of some large hypichnia indicate the cast of the foot, while other outlines closely match the anterior area of Wilkingia, its suggested tracemaker. Relatively stable, vertical to inclined life positions and dominanit vertical mobility suggest a filter-feeding strategy. Moreover, the elongate shell and pallial sinus of Wilkingia providfe a strong independent line of evidence for an opisthosiphonate, moderately deep-tier inhabitant. Wilingia may represent a pioneer attempt at siphon-feeding in the late Paleozoic, preceding the outcome of the Mesozoic infaunal radiation. A second strategy is represented by Lockeia ornata and association locomotionm and locomotion/feding structures. Lockeia ornata is commonly connected with chevron locomotion traces that record the bifurcated foot of a protobranch

  1. Late glacial climate estimates for southern Nevada: The ostracode fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Forester, R.M.; Smith, A.J.

    1995-10-01

    Climate change plays an important role in determining as possible long term hydrological performance of the potential high level nuclear waste repository within Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Present-day global circulation results in this region having an arid to semi-arid climate characterized by hot and relatively dry summers. Global circulation during the late glacial (about 14 to 20 ka) was very different from the present-day. Preliminary study of late-glacial fossil ostracodes from {open_quotes}marsh deposits{close_quotes} in the upper Las Vegas Valley suggests mean annual precipitation may have been four times higher, while mean annual temperature may have been about 10{degrees}C cooler than today. A major difference between present-day and late-glacial climate was likely the existence of cooler, cloudier, and wetter summers in the past.

  2. Cosmogenic production and climate contributions to nitrate record in the TALDICE Antarctic ice core

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poluianov, S.; Traversi, R.; Usoskin, I.

    2014-12-01

    This paper presents the results of a comparative wavelet coherence analysis of a multimillennial nitrate record with a number of climatic and solar activity proxies. Distinguishing between these factors is important in the view of a possibility of nitrate deposited in a polar region to represent galactic cosmic ray flux and, consequently, solar activity. We used the data from the TALDICE drilling project (Talos Dome, Antarctica), which covers the age range 12,000-700 BP (years before present, i.e. before 1950) and includes records of nitrate as well as climatic proxies, such as Na+, Ca2+, MSA (methanesulphonic acid), δ18O, SO42-. The solar activity series is represented by reconstructions of the heliospheric modulation parameter from the 14C and 10Be data. We found (1) a confirmation of multimillennial relation between nitrate and galactic cosmic ray flux; (2) no clear signature of long-term variations of nitrate transport from lower latitudes. We suggest that variations in the nitrate record in the time scale of hundreds-thousands years are most likely caused by local production, deposition and post-deposition processes.

  3. Microbe-like inclusions in tree resins and implications for the fossil record of protists in amber.

    PubMed

    Thiel, V; Lausmaa, J; Sjövall, P; Ragazzi, E; Seyfullah, L J; Schmidt, A R

    2016-07-01

    During the past two decades, a plethora of fossil micro-organisms have been described from various Triassic to Miocene ambers. However, in addition to entrapped microbes, ambers commonly contain microscopic inclusions that sometimes resemble amoebae, ciliates, microfungi, and unicellular algae in size and shape, but do not provide further diagnostic features thereof. For a better assessment of the actual fossil record of unicellular eukaryotes in amber, we studied equivalent inclusions in modern resin of the Araucariaceae; this conifer family comprises important amber-producers in Earth history. Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), we investigated the chemical nature of the inclusion matter and the resin matrix. Whereas the matrix, as expected, showed a more hydrocarbon/aromatic-dominated composition, the inclusions contain abundant salt ions and polar organics. However, the absence of signals characteristic for cellular biomass, namely distinctive proteinaceous amino acids and lipid moieties, indicates that the inclusions do not contain microbial cellular matter but salts and hydrophilic organic substances that probably derived from the plant itself. Rather than representing protists or their remains, these microbe-like inclusions, for which we propose the term 'pseudoinclusions', consist of compounds that are immiscible with the terpenoid resin matrix and were probably secreted in small amounts together with the actual resin by the plant tissue. Consequently, reports of protists from amber that are only based on the similarity of the overall shape and size to extant taxa, but do not provide relevant features at light-microscopical and ultrastructural level, cannot be accepted as unambiguous fossil evidence for these particular groups.

  4. Microbe-like inclusions in tree resins and implications for the fossil record of protists in amber.

    PubMed

    Thiel, V; Lausmaa, J; Sjövall, P; Ragazzi, E; Seyfullah, L J; Schmidt, A R

    2016-07-01

    During the past two decades, a plethora of fossil micro-organisms have been described from various Triassic to Miocene ambers. However, in addition to entrapped microbes, ambers commonly contain microscopic inclusions that sometimes resemble amoebae, ciliates, microfungi, and unicellular algae in size and shape, but do not provide further diagnostic features thereof. For a better assessment of the actual fossil record of unicellular eukaryotes in amber, we studied equivalent inclusions in modern resin of the Araucariaceae; this conifer family comprises important amber-producers in Earth history. Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), we investigated the chemical nature of the inclusion matter and the resin matrix. Whereas the matrix, as expected, showed a more hydrocarbon/aromatic-dominated composition, the inclusions contain abundant salt ions and polar organics. However, the absence of signals characteristic for cellular biomass, namely distinctive proteinaceous amino acids and lipid moieties, indicates that the inclusions do not contain microbial cellular matter but salts and hydrophilic organic substances that probably derived from the plant itself. Rather than representing protists or their remains, these microbe-like inclusions, for which we propose the term 'pseudoinclusions', consist of compounds that are immiscible with the terpenoid resin matrix and were probably secreted in small amounts together with the actual resin by the plant tissue. Consequently, reports of protists from amber that are only based on the similarity of the overall shape and size to extant taxa, but do not provide relevant features at light-microscopical and ultrastructural level, cannot be accepted as unambiguous fossil evidence for these particular groups. PMID:27027519

  5. Fossil Horses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    1994-06-01

    The family Equidae have an extensive fossil record spanning the past 58 million years, and the evolution of the horse has frequently been used as a classic example of long-term evolution. In recent years, however, there have been many important discoveries of fossil horses, and these, in conjunction with such new methods as cladistics, and techniques such as precise geochronology, have allowed us to achieve a much greater understanding of the evolution and biology of this important group. This book synthesizes the large body of data and research relevant to an understanding of fossil horses from several disciplines including biology, geology and paleontology. Using horses as the central theme, the author weaves together in the text such topics as modern geochronology, paleobiogeography, climate change, evolution and extinction, functional morphology, and population biology during the Cenozoic period. This book will be exciting reading for researchers and graduate students in vertebrate paleontology, evolution, and zoology.

  6. Atmospheric methane isotopic record favors fossil sources flat in 1980s and 1990s with recent increase.

    PubMed

    Rice, Andrew L; Butenhoff, Christopher L; Teama, Doaa G; Röger, Florian H; Khalil, M Aslam K; Rasmussen, Reinhold A

    2016-09-27

    Observations of atmospheric methane (CH4) since the late 1970s and measurements of CH4 trapped in ice and snow reveal a meteoric rise in concentration during much of the twentieth century. Since 1750, levels of atmospheric CH4 have more than doubled to current globally averaged concentration near 1,800 ppb. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the CH4 growth rate slowed substantially and was near or at zero between 1999 and 2006. There is no scientific consensus on the drivers of this slowdown. Here, we report measurements of the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric CH4 ((13)C/(12)C and D/H) from a rare air archive dating from 1977 to 1998. Together with more modern records of isotopic atmospheric CH4, we performed a time-dependent retrieval of methane fluxes spanning 25 y (1984-2009) using a 3D chemical transport model. This inversion results in a 24 [18, 27] Tg y(-1) CH4 increase in fugitive fossil fuel emissions since 1984 with most of this growth occurring after year 2000. This result is consistent with some bottom-up emissions inventories but not with recent estimates based on atmospheric ethane. In fact, when forced with decreasing emissions from fossil fuel sources our inversion estimates unreasonably high emissions in other sources. Further, the inversion estimates a decrease in biomass-burning emissions that could explain falling ethane abundance. A range of sensitivity tests suggests that these results are robust.

  7. Towards a morphological metric of assemblage dynamics in the fossil record: a test case using planktonic foraminifera

    PubMed Central

    Hsiang, Allison Y.; Elder, Leanne E.; Hull, Pincelli M.

    2016-01-01

    With a glance, even the novice naturalist can tell you something about the ecology of a given ecosystem. This is because the morphology of individuals reflects their evolutionary history and ecology, and imparts a distinct ‘look’ to communities—making it possible to immediately discern between deserts and forests, or coral reefs and abyssal plains. Once quantified, morphology can provide a common metric for characterizing communities across space and time and, if measured rapidly, serve as a powerful tool for quantifying biotic dynamics. Here, we present and test a new high-throughput approach for analysing community shape in the fossil record using semi-three-dimensional (3D) morphometrics from vertically stacked images (light microscopic or photogrammetric). We assess the potential informativeness of community morphology in a first analysis of the relationship between 3D morphology, ecology and phylogeny in 16 extant species of planktonic foraminifera—an abundant group in the marine fossil record—and in a preliminary comparison of four assemblages from the North Atlantic. In the species examined, phylogenetic relatedness was most closely correlated with ecology, with all three ecological traits examined (depth habitat, symbiont ecology and biogeography) showing significant phylogenetic signal. By contrast, morphological trees (based on 3D shape similarity) were relatively distantly related to both ecology and phylogeny. Although improvements are needed to realize the full utility of community morphometrics, our approach already provides robust volumetric measurements of assemblage size, a key ecological characteristic. PMID:26977067

  8. Atmospheric methane isotopic record favors fossil sources flat in 1980s and 1990s with recent increase.

    PubMed

    Rice, Andrew L; Butenhoff, Christopher L; Teama, Doaa G; Röger, Florian H; Khalil, M Aslam K; Rasmussen, Reinhold A

    2016-09-27

    Observations of atmospheric methane (CH4) since the late 1970s and measurements of CH4 trapped in ice and snow reveal a meteoric rise in concentration during much of the twentieth century. Since 1750, levels of atmospheric CH4 have more than doubled to current globally averaged concentration near 1,800 ppb. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the CH4 growth rate slowed substantially and was near or at zero between 1999 and 2006. There is no scientific consensus on the drivers of this slowdown. Here, we report measurements of the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric CH4 ((13)C/(12)C and D/H) from a rare air archive dating from 1977 to 1998. Together with more modern records of isotopic atmospheric CH4, we performed a time-dependent retrieval of methane fluxes spanning 25 y (1984-2009) using a 3D chemical transport model. This inversion results in a 24 [18, 27] Tg y(-1) CH4 increase in fugitive fossil fuel emissions since 1984 with most of this growth occurring after year 2000. This result is consistent with some bottom-up emissions inventories but not with recent estimates based on atmospheric ethane. In fact, when forced with decreasing emissions from fossil fuel sources our inversion estimates unreasonably high emissions in other sources. Further, the inversion estimates a decrease in biomass-burning emissions that could explain falling ethane abundance. A range of sensitivity tests suggests that these results are robust. PMID:27621453

  9. Was Australopithecus anamensis ancestral to A. afarensis? A case of anagenesis in the hominin fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kimbel, William H; Lockwood, Charles A; Ward, Carol V; Leakey, Meave G; Rak, Yoel; Johanson, Donald C

    2006-08-01

    We tested the hypothesis that early Pliocene Australopithecus anamensis was ancestral to A. afarensis by conducting a phylogenetic analysis of four temporally successive fossil samples assigned to these species (from earliest to latest: Kanapoi, Allia Bay, Laetoli, Hadar) using polarized character-state data from 20 morphological characters of the dentition and jaws. If the hypothesis that A. anamensis is ancestral to A. afarensis is true, then character-state changes between the temporally ordered site-samples should be congruent with hypothesized polarity transformations based on outgroup (African great ape) conditions. The most parsimonious reconstruction of character-state evolution suggests that each of the hominin OTUs shares apomorphies only with geologically younger OTUs, as predicted by the hypothesis of ancestry (tree length=31; Consistency Index=0.903). This concordance of stratigraphic and character-state data supports the idea that the A. anamensis and A. afarensis samples represent parts of an anagenetically evolving lineage, or evolutionary species. Each site-sample appears to capture a different point along this evolutionary trajectory. We discuss the implications of this conclusion for the taxonomy and adaptive evolution of these early-middle Pliocene hominins.

  10. High-resolution leaf-fossil record spanning the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, K.R.; Nichols, D.J.; Attrep, M.; Orth, C.J.

    1989-01-01

    THEORIES that explain the extinctions characterizing the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary1-3 need to be tested by analyses of thoroughly sampled biotas. Palynological studies are the primary means for stratigraphic placement of the terrestrial boundary and for estimates of plant extinction4-12, but have not been combined with quantitative analyses of fossil leaves (megaflora). Megafloral studies complement palynology by representing local floras with assemblages capable of high taxonomic resolution13, but have previously lacked the sample size and stratigraphic spacing needed to resolve latest Cretaceous floral history5,14-18. We have now combined megafloral data from a 100-m-thick composite K/T boundary section in North Dakota with detailed palynological analysis. Here the boundary is marked by a 30% palynofloral extinction coincident with iridium and shocked-mineral anomalies and lies ???2 m above the highest dinosaur remains. The megaflora undergoes a 79% turnover across the boundary, and smaller changes 17- and 25-m below it. This pattern is consistent with latest Cretaceous climatic warming preceding a bolide impact. ?? 1989 Nature Publishing Group.

  11. Fossil pollen records indicate that Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of Andean uplift.

    PubMed

    Palazzesi, L; Barreda, V D; Cuitiño, J I; Guler, M V; Tellería, M C; Ventura Santos, R

    2014-01-01

    The Patagonian steppe-a massive rain-shadow on the lee side of the southern Andes-is assumed to have evolved ~15-12 Myr as a consequence of the southern Andean uplift. However, fossil evidence supporting this assumption is limited. Here we quantitatively estimate climatic conditions and plant richness for the interval ~10-6 Myr based on the study and bioclimatic analysis of terrestrially derived spore-pollen assemblages preserved in well-constrained Patagonian marine deposits. Our analyses indicate a mesothermal climate, with mean temperatures of the coldest quarter between 11.4 °C and 16.9 °C (presently ~3.5 °C) and annual precipitation rarely below 661 mm (presently ~200 mm). Rarefied richness reveals a significantly more diverse flora during the late Miocene than today at the same latitude but comparable with that approximately 2,000 km further northeast at mid-latitudes on the Brazilian coast. We infer that the Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of the Andean uplift as previously insinuated. PMID:24675482

  12. Fossil pollen records indicate that Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of Andean uplift

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palazzesi, L.; Barreda, V. D.; Cuitiño, J. I.; Guler, M. V.; Tellería, M. C.; Ventura Santos, R.

    2014-03-01

    The Patagonian steppe—a massive rain-shadow on the lee side of the southern Andes—is assumed to have evolved ~15-12 Myr as a consequence of the southern Andean uplift. However, fossil evidence supporting this assumption is limited. Here we quantitatively estimate climatic conditions and plant richness for the interval ~10-6 Myr based on the study and bioclimatic analysis of terrestrially derived spore-pollen assemblages preserved in well-constrained Patagonian marine deposits. Our analyses indicate a mesothermal climate, with mean temperatures of the coldest quarter between 11.4 °C and 16.9 °C (presently ~3.5 °C) and annual precipitation rarely below 661 mm (presently ~200 mm). Rarefied richness reveals a significantly more diverse flora during the late Miocene than today at the same latitude but comparable with that approximately 2,000 km further northeast at mid-latitudes on the Brazilian coast. We infer that the Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of the Andean uplift as previously insinuated.

  13. Biophysical constraints on the origin of leaves inferred from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Osborne, C P; Beerling, D J; Lomax, B H; Chaloner, W G

    2004-07-13

    The molecular tool kit for producing flat-bladed photosynthetic structures evolved in marine and terrestrial plants during the middle Paleozoic, but it took a further 20 million years before leaves suddenly spread throughout land floras. This delay has long been difficult to explain, given the apparent advantage of leaves for photosynthetic primary production. Theory and experiments predict that exceptionally high atmospheric CO2 levels in the middle Paleozoic delayed the origin of leaves by restricting stomatal development. This would have limited evaporative cooling, leading to lethal overheating of leaves absorbing large quantities of solar energy. Here we test the central prediction of this argument with a morphometric analysis of 300 plant fossils from major European collections. We show a 25-fold enlargement of leaf blades in two phylogenetically independent clades as atmospheric CO2 levels fell during the late Paleozoic. Furthermore, preliminary data suggest that the first abrupt increase in leaf size was accompanied by an 8-fold rise in stomatal density. These evolutionary patterns support the relaxation of biophysical constraints on leaf area predicted by theory and point to a significant role for CO2 in plant evolution.

  14. Trace fossils and substrates of the terminal Proterozoic–Cambrian transition: Implications for the record of early bilaterians and sediment mixing

    PubMed Central

    Droser, Mary L.; Jensen, Sören; Gehling, James G.

    2002-01-01

    The trace fossil record is important in determining the timing of the appearance of bilaterian animals. A conservative estimate puts this time at ≈555 million years ago. The preservational potential of traces made close to the sediment–water interface is crucial to detecting early benthic activity. Our studies on earliest Cambrian sediments suggest that shallow tiers were preserved to a greater extent than typical for most of the Phanerozoic, which can be attributed both directly and indirectly to the low levels of sediment mixing. The low levels of sediment mixing meant that thin event beds were preserved. The shallow depth of sediment mixing also meant that muddy sediments were firm close to the sediment–water interface, increasing the likelihood of recording shallow-tier trace fossils in muddy sediments. Overall, trace fossils can provide a sound record of the onset of bilaterian benthic activity. PMID:12271130

  15. Circum-Antarctic warming events between 4 and 3.5 Ma recorded in marine sediments from the Prydz Bay (ODP Leg 188) and the Antarctic Peninsula (ODP Leg 178) margins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Escutia, C.; Bárcena, M. A.; Lucchi, R. G.; Romero, O.; Ballegeer, A. M.; Gonzalez, J. J.; Harwood, D. M.

    2009-11-01

    Our study characterizes glacial and interglacial deposition on two Antarctic margins in order to discriminate between regional and continent-wide early to middle Pliocene warm intervals that caused sea-ice reduction and continental ice sheet retreat. We use a multi-proxy (i.e., sediment facies and grain size, siliceous microfossils, biogenic opal, geochemical composition and clay mineralogy) approach to examine sediments recovered in drill holes from the West Antarctic Peninsula and the East Antarctic Prydz Bay margins, focusing on the climatic record between 4 and 3.5 Ma. Warm conditions in both East and West Antarctica are recorded, which based on our age model correspond to periods of prolonged or extreme warmth correlated with isotopic stages Gi5, Gi1, MG11 and MG7. For the Gi5 interglacial our data corroborates the 60% Dictyocha percentage at 34.60 mbsf previously reported from Prydz Bay and interpreted to indicate a SSST of about 5.6 °C above present. Our higher-resolution sampling interval shows Dictyocha percentages up to 87.5%, suggesting even higher SSSTs above present levels. During MG11, which coincides with the section dated by the magnetic polarity reversal Gilbert-Gauss at 3.58 Ma, SSSTs were tentatively 2.5°-4° warmer than present, and reduced sea-ice cover in Prydz Bay and probably also west of the Antarctic Peninsula is indicated by increased primary productivity. In addition, a reduction of ice sheet size is suggested by the bioturbated and IRD-enriched facies that characterize these high-productivity intervals. Based in our age model and calculated sedimentation rates glacial-interglacial cyclicity between 4 and 3.5 Ma in the cores from Antarctic Peninsula and Prydz Bay Sites, result in frequencies consistent with obliquity and precession forcing. The prolonged early-middle Pliocene warm period was superimposed on a cooling trend recorded by the: 1) increase of the terrigenous sediment supply at all our sites starting between 3.7 and 3.6 Ma

  16. The fossil record of phenotypic integration and modularity: A deep-time perspective on developmental and evolutionary dynamics.

    PubMed

    Goswami, Anjali; Binder, Wendy J; Meachen, Julie; O'Keefe, F Robin

    2015-04-21

    Variation is the raw material for natural selection, but the factors shaping variation are still poorly understood. Genetic and developmental interactions can direct variation, but there has been little synthesis of these effects with the extrinsic factors that can shape biodiversity over large scales. The study of phenotypic integration and modularity has the capacity to unify these aspects of evolutionary study by estimating genetic and developmental interactions through the quantitative analysis of morphology, allowing for combined assessment of intrinsic and extrinsic effects. Data from the fossil record in particular are central to our understanding of phenotypic integration and modularity because they provide the only information on deep-time developmental and evolutionary dynamics, including trends in trait relationships and their role in shaping organismal diversity. Here, we demonstrate the important perspective on phenotypic integration provided by the fossil record with a study of Smilodon fatalis (saber-toothed cats) and Canis dirus (dire wolves). We quantified temporal trends in size, variance, phenotypic integration, and direct developmental integration (fluctuating asymmetry) through 27,000 y of Late Pleistocene climate change. Both S. fatalis and C. dirus showed a gradual decrease in magnitude of phenotypic integration and an increase in variance and the correlation between fluctuating asymmetry and overall integration through time, suggesting that developmental integration mediated morphological response to environmental change in the later populations of these species. These results are consistent with experimental studies and represent, to our knowledge, the first deep-time validation of the importance of developmental integration in stabilizing morphological evolution through periods of environmental change. PMID:25901310

  17. The fossil record of phenotypic integration and modularity: A deep-time perspective on developmental and evolutionary dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Goswami, Anjali; Binder, Wendy J.; Meachen, Julie; O’Keefe, F. Robin

    2015-01-01

    Variation is the raw material for natural selection, but the factors shaping variation are still poorly understood. Genetic and developmental interactions can direct variation, but there has been little synthesis of these effects with the extrinsic factors that can shape biodiversity over large scales. The study of phenotypic integration and modularity has the capacity to unify these aspects of evolutionary study by estimating genetic and developmental interactions through the quantitative analysis of morphology, allowing for combined assessment of intrinsic and extrinsic effects. Data from the fossil record in particular are central to our understanding of phenotypic integration and modularity because they provide the only information on deep-time developmental and evolutionary dynamics, including trends in trait relationships and their role in shaping organismal diversity. Here, we demonstrate the important perspective on phenotypic integration provided by the fossil record with a study of Smilodon fatalis (saber-toothed cats) and Canis dirus (dire wolves). We quantified temporal trends in size, variance, phenotypic integration, and direct developmental integration (fluctuating asymmetry) through 27,000 y of Late Pleistocene climate change. Both S. fatalis and C. dirus showed a gradual decrease in magnitude of phenotypic integration and an increase in variance and the correlation between fluctuating asymmetry and overall integration through time, suggesting that developmental integration mediated morphological response to environmental change in the later populations of these species. These results are consistent with experimental studies and represent, to our knowledge, the first deep-time validation of the importance of developmental integration in stabilizing morphological evolution through periods of environmental change. PMID:25901310

  18. THE VERY FAINT END OF THE UV LUMINOSITY FUNCTION OVER COSMIC TIME: CONSTRAINTS FROM THE LOCAL GROUP FOSSIL RECORD

    SciTech Connect

    Weisz, Daniel R.; Johnson, Benjamin D.; Conroy, Charlie

    2014-10-10

    We present a new technique to estimate the evolution of the very faint end of the UV luminosity function (LF) out to z ∼ 5. Measured star formation histories (SFHs) from the fossil record of Local Group (LG) galaxies are used to reconstruct the LF down to M {sub UV} ∼–5 at z ∼ 5 and M {sub UV} ∼–1.5 at z < 1. Such faint limits are well beyond the current observational limits and are likely to remain beyond the limits of next-generation facilities. The reconstructed LFs, when combined with direct measurements of the LFs at higher luminosity, are well-fit by a standard Schechter function with no evidence of a break to the faintest limits probed by this technique. The derived faint-end slope, α, steepens from ≈ – 1.2 at z < 1 to ≈ – 1.6 at 4 < z < 5. We test the effects of burstiness in the SFHs and find the recovered LFs to be only modestly affected. Incompleteness corrections for the faintest LG galaxies and the (unlikely) possibility of significant luminosity-dependent destruction of dwarf galaxies between high redshift and the present epoch are important uncertainties. These and other uncertainties can be mitigated with more detailed modeling and future observations. The reconstructed faint end LF from the fossil record can therefore be a powerful and complementary probe of the high-redshift faint galaxies believed to play a key role in the reionization of the universe.

  19. Neotropical mammal diversity and the Great American Biotic Interchange: spatial and temporal variation in South America's fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Carrillo, Juan D.; Forasiepi, Analía; Jaramillo, Carlos; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2015-01-01

    The vast mammal diversity of the Neotropics is the result of a long evolutionary history. During most of the Cenozoic, South America was an island continent with an endemic mammalian fauna. This isolation ceased during the late Neogene after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama, resulting in an event known as the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI). In this study, we investigate biogeographic patterns in South America, just before or when the first immigrants are recorded and we review the temporal and geographical distribution of fossil mammals during the GABI. We performed a dissimilarity analysis which grouped the faunal assemblages according to their age and their geographic distribution. Our data support the differentiation between tropical and temperate assemblages in South America during the middle and late Miocene. The GABI begins during the late Miocene (~10–7 Ma) and the putative oldest migrations are recorded in the temperate region, where the number of GABI participants rapidly increases after ~5 Ma and this trend continues during the Pleistocene. A sampling bias toward higher latitudes and younger records challenges the study of the temporal and geographic patterns of the GABI. PMID:25601879

  20. Observations of asexual reproductive strategies in Antarctic hexactinellid sponges from ROV video records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Teixidó, Núria; Gili, Josep-Maria; Uriz, María-J.; Gutt, Julian; Arntz, Wolf E.

    2006-04-01

    Hexactinellid sponges are one of the structuring taxa of benthic communities on the Weddell Sea shelf (Antarctica). However, little is known about their reproduction patterns (larval development, release, settlement, and recruitment), particularly in relation to sexual and asexual processes in sponge populations. Video stations obtained during several expeditions covering a wide depth range and different areas recorded a high frequency of asexual reproductive strategies (ARS) (bipartition and budding) among hexactinellids. Analysis of seabed video strips between 108 and 256 m depth, representing an area of 1400 m 2, showed that about 28% of these sponges exhibited ARS. The Rossella nuda type dominated most of the video stations and exhibited the highest proportion of budding (35%). This proportion increased with the size class. Size class >20 cm exhibited in all the stations a mean value of 8.3±0.7 (SE) for primary and of 2.5±0.2 (SE) for secondary propagules per sponge, respectively. Results from a shallow station (Stn 059, 117 m depth) showed the highest relative abundance of R. nuda type and budding (>20 cm ˜72%, 10-20 cm ˜60%, 5-10 cm ˜12%, and <5 cm ˜3%). A potential influence of iceberg scouring disturbance on the occurrence of budding and number of propagules also was investigated. We conclude that asexual reproduction in hexactinellid sponges may be more frequent than has been thought before and it may greatly influence the genetic structure of populations.

  1. Tectonometamorphic record in a fossilized subduction channel: insights from the Cycladic Blueschist Unit (Cyclades, Greece)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laurent, Valentin; Roche, Vincent; Jolivet, Laurent; Lanari, Pierre; Augier, Romain; Scaillet, Stéphane

    2016-04-01

    The comprehension of subduction dynamics is partly based on the reconstruction of detailed Pressure-Temperature-time-deformation paths of HP-LT metamorphic rocks, which have undergone a complete burial-exhumation cycle. The Cycladic Blueschist Unit (CBU), located in the Aegean domain (Greece), is one of the best examples of a fossilized subduction channel. The tectonometamorphic history of this domain can be summarized in two successive episodes: (1) From the Paleocene to the Eocene, the formation of the Hellenides-Taurides belt due to the convergence between Eurasia and Africa. During this episode, the entrance of the Apulian crust in the subduction zone led to an episode of crustal thickening and formation-exhumation of HP-LT metamorphic units like the CBU. (2) From the Early Oligocene, consecutively to the retreat of the African slab, back-arc extension affected the previously thickened crust and the Aegean Sea started to form. Syros and Sifnos islands are worldwide known for their excellent preservation of HP-LT parageneses in the CBU, providing one of the best case-studies to understand the tectonometamorphic evolution of a subduction channel. This study aims to decipher the P-T-t-d path of the CBU using for the first time on Syros, Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material to constrain metamorphic peak temperature (Beyssac et al., 2002) and a quantitative X-ray micro-mapping approach together with the program XMapTools (Lanari et al., 2014). The micro-mapping tools allowed extracting local chemical compositions observed in zoned garnets to calculate the local effective bulk composition. Forward models are then created to constrain P-T conditions of crystallization of these local assemblages. This study brings new data on the debated metamorphic peak conditions of the CBU, which undoubtedly attained at least 20 ± 2 kbar / 530 ± 50°C. Additionally, the geological and metamorphic maps of Syros and Sifnos have been totally redrawn in order to decipher the

  2. One hundred fifty-year record of lead isotopes in Antarctic snow from Coats Land

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Planchon, F. A. M.; van de Velde, K.; Rosman, K. J. R.; Wolff, E. W.; Ferrari, C. P.; Boutron, C. F.

    A record of the concentrations of Pb and Ba and the isotopic composition of Pb has been established for a remote, low accumulation site in the Atlantic sector of Antarctica (Coats Land) by means of thermal ionization mass spectrometry. The snow samples cover the period ˜1840 to 1990. They were taken from the walls of a pit to a depth of 7.8 m and as a core to 16 m; ultraclean procedures were used. Detailed laboratory subsampling provided both long-term (secular scale) and short-term (intra-annual) Pb, Ba, and Pb isotope variations. The results show that there have been significant variations in Pb concentrations (range, 0.1 to 9.3 pg/g) and isotopic composition (range, 1.096 to 1.208 for 206Pb/ 207Pb ratio) since the 1840s. The data show evidence of pollution for this metal in Antarctica as early as the 1880s. Several Pb maxima were observed: the first at the beginning of the 20th century and the last in the 1970s to 1980s, with a clear decrease during recent years. Although the last maximum is clearly linked to the rise and fall in the use of leaded gasoline in the Southern Hemisphere, especially in South America, the reason for the first remains uncertain. The pattern of changing isotopic composition of Pb reveals the changing origin and character of the anthropogenic inputs to Antarctica. An interesting feature in this pattern is the relatively large contribution of unradiogenic Pb in the ˜1890s, possibly originating from Australia. Another interesting feature is the pronounced intra-annual variation in the isotopic composition of Pb, which illustrates the complexity of the changing inputs of Pb to Antarctica.

  3. Late Eocene Antarctic glacial events revealed by radiogenic isotope records from the Kerguelen Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, B. W.; Munn, G. H.; Bohaty, S. M.; Scher, H. D.

    2011-12-01

    Oxygen isotope measurements of benthic foraminifera in ODP Hole 738B (Kerguelen Plateau, Southern Ocean) show a 0.6% shift toward more positive values at ca. 37.1 Ma, near the middle/late Eocene boundary. The δ18O values during this cool event reach 2.2%, which may reflect a combination of both intermediate deep-water cooling and partial glaciation of East Antarctica. We conducted neodymium (Nd) isotope measurements of the terrigenous detrital fraction (i.e., decarbonated and leached) from the same samples used to construct the stable isotope record. Our results reveal a shift in the Nd isotope composition of fine-grained material deposited on Kerguelen Plateau that coincides with the δ18O excursion. The background ɛNd values (i.e., before and after the δ18O shift) are -12 ɛNd, consistent with regionally sourced sediment from along the East Antarctica margin (e.g., Wilkes Land, Prydz Bay). During the δ18O excursion at 37.1 Ma, there is transient decrease in ɛNd values to -15.5. These results strongly indicate that Kerguelen Plateau received an influx of detrital material from ancient sediment sources (i.e., with low ɛNd values), such as those found in nearby Prydz Bay. Our results support an increase in continental ice volume in East Antarctica during this event, resulting in enhanced rates of mechanical weathering. We have also documented a second cool event ca. 36.7 Ma, approximately 400 kyr after the 37 Ma event. Future efforts will focus on determining the timing of middle-to-late Eocene cooling episoides and further documenting changes in weathering during each of these events.

  4. Novel long-chain anteiso-alkanes and anteiso-alkanoic acids in Antarctic rocks colonized by living and fossil cryptoendolithic microorganisms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matsumoto, G. I.; Friedmann, E. I.; Watanuki, K.; Ocampo-Friedmann, R.

    1992-01-01

    Saponified extracts of rock samples colonized by cryptoendolithic microbial communities from the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, were separated into hydrocarbon and fatty acid fractions by silica gel column chromatography. Hydrocarbons and methyl esters of fatty acids were analyzed by capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Unusually, a suite of long-chain anteiso-alkanes (a-C20 to a-C30) and anteiso-alkanoic acids (a-C20 to a-C30) were detected in many samples, together with straight-chain, branched and/or cyclic and acyclic isoprenoid compounds. These novel compounds are probably derived from unidentified heterotrophic bacteria or symbiotic processes in a unique microbial community in the Antarctic cold desert and suggest the occurrence of a special biosynthetic pathway. Long-chain anteiso-alkanes are probably formed through microbial decarboxylation of corresponding anteiso-alkanoic acids. They may serve as new biomarkers in environmental and geochemical studies.

  5. Arthropod eyes: The early Cambrian fossil record and divergent evolution of visual systems.

    PubMed

    Strausfeld, Nicholas J; Ma, Xiaoya; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Fortey, Richard A; Land, Michael F; Liu, Yu; Cong, Peiyun; Hou, Xianguang

    2016-03-01

    evolution of sessile eyes equipped with optics typical of extant xiphosurans. Observations of fossil material, including that of trilobites and eurypterids, support the proposition that the ancestral compound eye was the apposition type. Cambrian arthropods include possible precursors of mandibulate eyes. The latter are the modified compound eyes, now sessile, and their underlying optic lobes exemplified by scutigeromorph chilopods, and the mobile stalked compound eyes and more elaborate optic lobes typifying Pancrustacea. Radical divergence from an ancestral apposition type is demonstrated by the evolution of chelicerate eyes, from doublet sessile-eyed stem-group taxa to special apposition eyes of xiphosurans, the compound eyes of eurypterids, and single-lens eyes of arachnids. Different eye types are discussed with respect to possible modes of life of the extinct species that possessed them, comparing these to extant counterparts and the types of visual centers the eyes might have served. PMID:26276096

  6. International Workshop on Antarctic Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Annexstad, J. O.; Schultz, L.; Waenke, H.

    1986-01-01

    Topics addressed include: meteorite concentration mechanisms; meteorites and the Antarctic ice sheet; iron meteorites; iodine overabundance in meteorites; entrainment, transport, and concentration of meteorites in polar ice sheets; weathering of stony meteorites; cosmic ray records; radiocarbon dating; element distribution and noble gas isotopic abundances in lunar meteorites; thermoanalytical characterization; trace elements; thermoluminescence; parent sources; and meteorite ablation and fusion spherules in Antarctic ice.

  7. Shifts in Ross Sea food web structure as indicated by δ15N and δ13C values of fossil Antarctic seals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leopold, A.; Brault, E.; McMahon, K.

    2013-12-01

    As climate change continues to mount, there is a growing need for understanding its effects on biological-physical interactions of marine ecosystems. Assessing the effects of anthropogenic activities on the coastal marine ecosystem involves understanding the underlying mechanisms driving these changes as well as establishing baselines of the natural system. Preliminary findings have indicated shifts in bulk carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) isotopic values of southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) samples, collected in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica in the Ross Sea region, over approximately the last 7,000 years. These shifts could result from 1) seals changing their foraging location and/or diet over this time, 2) climate change-induced shifts in the biogeochemistry at the base of the food web, or 3) some combination of both processes. We explored the patterns of long-term change in Ross Sea food web structure by examining the stable isotope values of three top predators in this system, Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii), leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx), and crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophagus). Fossil seal samples were collected in the Dry Valleys during the austral summer of 2012/13 and then analyzed for bulk C and N isotopes via an elemental analyzer/isotope-ratio mass spectrometer (EA/IRMS). Our initial findings indicate that C isotopic values of fossil seal samples from Weddell, leopard, and crabeater seals were more enriched than isotopic values of modern seals of the same species (e.g., δ13C = -22.79 × 0.92 ‰ and -26.71 × 0.50 ‰ for fossil and modern crabeater seals, respectively). Given the relatively consistent diet of crabeater seals, these findings suggest a shift in baseline food web structure occurred over the last 10,000 years, either through changes in foraging location or local shifts in biogeochemistry. For all species, N isotopic values are widely variable (e.g., 7.28 to 16.0 δ15N ‰ for the Weddell seal), which may be a result of

  8. New Early Triassic trace fossil records from South China: implications for biotic recovery following the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, M.; George, A. D.; Chen, Z.; Zhang, Y.

    2013-12-01

    New Early Triassic trace fossil assemblages are documented from the Susong and Tianshengqiao areas in South China to evaluate the mode and tempo of biotic recovery of epifaunal and infaunal organisms following the end-Permian mass extinction. The Susong succession is exposed in Anhui area of the Lower Yangtze region and comprises mudstone and carbonate facies that record overall shallowing from offshore to supratidal settings. The Tianshengqiao succession crops out in the Luoping area, Yuannan Province of the Upper Yangtze region, and consists of mixed carbonate and siliciclastic facies which were deposited in shallow marine to offshore settings. Bivalve and conodont biostratigraphy helps constrain the chronostratigraphic framework of the Lower Triassic successions in these two sections. Griesbachian to Dieneria ichnological records in both successions are characterized by low ichnodiversity, low ichnofabric indices (ii=1-2) and low bedding plane bioturbation indices (bpbi=1-2). Higher ii (ii= 3 and 4) corresponding to densely populated diminutive Skolithos in the Tianshengqiao succession suggest an opportunistic strategy during earliest Triassic deposition. Ichnological data from the Susong succession show an increase in ichnodiversity during the Smithian. A total of 12 ichnogenera including Arenicolites, Chondrites, Gyrochorte, Laevicyclus, Monocraterion, Palaeophycus, Phycodes, Plaolites, Thalassinoides, Treptichnus, Trichichnus and one problematic trace are identified. Ichnofabric indices (ii) and bpbi increase to moderate to high levels (ii = 4-5, bpbi= 3-5). Although complex traces such as Rhizocorallium are in Spathian strata in this section, the low levels of ichnodiversity, ichnofabric indices and diminutive Planolites suggest a decline in recovery. In the Tianshengqiao succession, ichnofabric indices exhibit a moderate to high value (ii= 3 to 5), however, only six ichnogenera are found and Planolites burrows are consistently small (average diameter at 3

  9. Quantitative palaeotemperature records inferred from fossil pollen and chironomid assemblages from Lake Gilltjärnen, northern central Sweden

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antonsson, Karin; Brooks, Stephen J.; Seppä, Heikki; Telford, Richard J.; Birks, H. John B.

    2006-12-01

    Palaeotemperature reconstructions based on radiocarbon-dated fossil pollen and chironomid stratigraphies obtained from Lake Gilltjärnen provide evidence of climate changes during the last 11 000 years in the boreal zone of northern central Sweden. The records show consistent trends during the early and mid-Holocene, indicating low temperatures at 11 000-10 000 cal. yr BP, followed by a rising trend and a period of maximum values from about 7000 to 4000 cal. yr BP. At 3000 cal. yr BP the chironomid-inferred temperature values rise abruptly, deviating from the late-Holocene cooling trend indicated by the pollen-based reconstruction and most of the other palaeotemperature records from central Scandinavia, probably as a result of local limnological changes in Lake Gilltjärnen and its catchment. Comparison of the present results with a lake-level reconstruction from Lake Ljustjärnen, ca. 100 km southwest of Lake Gilltjärnen, shows that the low early-Holocene temperatures were associated with high lake-levels at 10 500-8500 cal. yr BP, whereas low lake-levels and dry conditions prevailed during the period of high temperatures at between 7500 and 5000 cal.yrBP, probably due to high summer evapotranspiration and lower precipitation. Copyright

  10. When did Carcharocles megalodon become extinct? A new analysis of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon ("Megalodon") is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9-2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems. PMID:25338197

  11. When did Carcharocles megalodon become extinct? A new analysis of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon ("Megalodon") is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9-2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems.

  12. When Did Carcharocles megalodon Become Extinct? A New Analysis of the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F.

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon (“Megalodon”) is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9–2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems. PMID:25338197

  13. Scaling relationships between craniofacial sexual dimorphism and body mass dimorphism in primates: implications for the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Plavcan, J Michael

    2003-01-01

    Craniofacial remains (the most abundant identifiable remains in the fossil record) potentially offer important information about body size dimorphism in extinct species. This study evaluates the scaling relationships between body mass dimorphism and different measures of craniofacial dimorphism, evaluating taxonomic differences in the magnitude and scaling of craniofacial dimorphism across higher taxonomic groups. Data on 40 dimensions from 129 primate species and subspecies demonstrate that few dimensions change proportionally with body mass dimorphism. Primates show general patterns of greater facial vs. neurocranial and orbital dimorphism, and greater dimorphism in lengths as opposed to breadths. Within any species, though, different craniofacial dimensions can yield very different reconstructions of size dimorphism. There are significant taxonomic differences in the relationships between size and craniofacial dimorphism among primate groups that can have a significant impact on reconstructions of body mass dimorphism. Hominoids tend to show lower degrees of facial dimorphism proportional to size dimorphism than other primates. This in turn implies that strong craniofacial dimorphism in Australopithecus africanus could imply very strong body size dimorphism, conflicting with the relatively modest size dimorphism inferred from postcrania. Different methods of estimating the magnitude of size dimorphism from craniofacial measurements yield similar results, and yield comparatively low percent prediction errors for a number of dimensions. However, confidence intervals for most estimates are so large as to render most estimates highly tentative.

  14. Major adaptive radiation in neritopsine gastropods estimated from 28S rRNA sequences and fossil records.

    PubMed

    Kano, Yasunori; Chiba, Satoshi; Kase, Tomoki

    2002-12-01

    A well-supported phylogeny of the Neritopsina, a gastropod superorder archaic in origin, radiated ecologically and diverse in morphology, is reconstructed based on partial 28S rRNA sequences. The result (Neritopsidae (Hydrocenidae (Helicinidae + Neritiliidae) (Neritidae + Phenacolepadidae))) is highly congruent with the fossil records and the character distribution of reproductive tracts in extant taxa. We suggest that the Neritopsina originated in subtidal shallow waters, invaded the land and became fully terrestrial at least three times in different clades, by the extinct Dawsonellidae in the Late Palaeozoic and by the Helicinidae and Hydrocenidae in the Mesozoic. Invasion of fresh- and brackish waters is prevalent among the Neritopsina as the Jurassic and freshwater ancestory is most probable for helicinids. The Phenacolepadidae, a group exclusively inhabiting dysoxic environments, colonized deep-sea hydrothermal vents and seeps in the Late Cretaceous or Early Cenozoic. Submarine caves have served as refuges for the archaic Neritopsidae since the Early to Middle Cenozoic, and the marine neritopsine slug Titiscania represents a highly specialized but relatively recent offshoot of this family. The Neritiliidae is another clade to be found utilizing submarine caves as shelter by the Oligocene; once adapted to the completely dark environment, but some neritiliids have immigrated to surface freshwater habitats. PMID:12495489

  15. The Mescal Cave Fauna (San Bernardino County, California) and testing assumptions of habitat fidelity in the Quaternary fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stegner, Mary Allison

    2015-05-01

    The late Pleistocene and Holocene vertebrate fossil record for the northern Mojave Desert (southwestern USA) is known primarily from five sites. Until now, only two of these have been radiometrically dated, and temporal placement of the others has been based on stratigraphic or biostratigraphic correlation, leading to circular interpretations of mammal extirpations in the Mojave. Here, I report a revised and complete faunal list for Mescal Cave, along with 22 AMS radiocarbon dates from 5 vertebrate taxa recovered from its deposits. The results reported here demonstrate time-averaging in Mescal Cave encompassing around ~ 34 ka, a maximum age 14 ka older and minimum age 10 ka younger than previously thought. Furthermore, radiocarbon analyses suggest local extirpation of Marmota flaviventris around 3.6 cal ka BP, considerably younger than expected based on regional patterns of warming and aridification in the Mojave. Conversely, radiocarbon dates from another presumably boreal species, Neotoma cinerea, are considerably older than expected, suggesting either that climate change at this site did not directly mirror regional patterns, that habitat requirements for these two species are not strictly boreal or cool/mesic as has often been assumed, or that local edaphic conditions and/or competitive interactions overrode the regional climatic controls on theses species' distribution.

  16. Grazing trails formed by soldier fly larvae (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) and their paleoenvironmental and paleoecological implications for the fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mangano, M.G.; Buatois, L.A.; Claps, G.L.

    1996-01-01

    Recent trails formed by soldier fly larvae (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) were examined in a shallow pond in the floodplain of a braided river in Jujuy Province, northwestern Argentina. Collected specimens were identified as Stratiomys convexa van der Wulp. Simple, irregularly meandering trails were produced across the surface of a muddy-silty substrate. Since soldier fly larvae extend their caudal respiratory tube to the water-air interface, they are restricted to extremely shallow water. The presence of benthic algal remains within the mouthparts of the larvae suggests a feeding habit of algal grazing. If preserved, these trails would be included in the ichnogenus Helminthopsis, a common element in ancient freshwater ichnofaunas. Helminthopsis preserved in pond and lacustrine margin deposits younger than Late Jurassic is regarded as one possible trace fossil analogue of the trails documented herein. Additionally, it is suggested that larvae of many aquatic Diptera with similar ecologic restrictions are potential tracemakers of Helminthopsis and other simple trails in these environments, particularly in post-Paleozoic deposits. Studies of modern shallow aquatic habitats and reexamination of the ichnologic record stress the importance of fly larvae as tracemakers in lake margin and pond ecosystems. Ecologic requirements of soldier fly larvae make them inappropriate analogues of Helminthopsis tracemakers in deeper water, lacustrine settings. ?? 1996 OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) Amsterdam B.V. Published in The Netherlands by Harwood Academic Publishers GmbH.

  17. A search for evidence of large body Earth impacts associated with biological crisis zones in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Orth, C. J.; Gilmore, J. S.; Knight, J. D.

    1985-01-01

    The natural history of the Earth, how the present plant and animal species developed, how others completely died out, etc., was studied. The rock strata sampled and studied were at the time of deposition at sea bottom. It was found that, exactly at the stratigraphic level corresponding to the extinction, a thin clay layer was greatly enriched in the the rare element iridium. It was hypothesized that the excess irridium at the boundary came from a large steroid like object that hit the earth, and that the impact of this object threw up a dust cloud dense enough and long lasting enough to bring about the extinction of a wide variety of plants and animals, producing the unique break in in the fossil record, the cretaceous-tertiary boundary. The same iridium and platinum metals enrichement are found in a thin clay layer that corresponds with the boundary as difined by sudden radical changes in plant populations. The irridium enrichement is confirmed at other fresh water origin rites in the Raton Basin.

  18. Phylogeny and rates of molecular evolution of planktonic foraminifera: SSU rDNA sequences compared to the fossil record.

    PubMed

    de Vargas, C; Zaninetti, L; Hilbrecht, H; Pawlowski, J

    1997-09-01

    Planktonic foraminifera are marine protists, whose calcareous shells form oceanic sediments and are widely used for stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental analyses. The fossil record of planktonic foraminifera is compared here to their molecular phylogeny inferred from ribosomal DNA sequences. Eighteen partial SSU rDNA sequences from species representing all modern planktonic families (Globigerinidae, Hastigerinidae, Globorotaliidae, Candeinidae) were obtained and compared to seven sequences representing the major groups of benthic foraminifera. The phylogenetic analyses indicate a polyphyletic origin for the planktonic foraminifera. The Candeinidae, the Globorotaliidae, and the clade Globigerinidae + Hastigerinidae seem to have originated independently, at different epochs in the evolution of foraminifera. Inference of their relationships, however, is limited by substitution rates of heterogeneity. Rates of SSU rDNA evolution vary from 4.0 x 10(-9) substitutions/site/year in the Globigerinidae to less than 1.0 x 10(-9) substitutions/site/year in the Globorotaliidae. These variations may be related to different levels of adaptation to the planktonic mode of life. A clock-like evolution is observed among the Globigerinidae, for which molecular and paleontological data are congruent. Phylogeny of the Globorotaliidae is clearly biased by rapid rates of substitution in two species (G. truncatulinoides and G. menardii). Our study reveals differences in absolute rates of evolution at all taxonomic levels in planktonic foraminifera and demonstrates their effect on phylogenetic reconstructions.

  19. An analysis of pterosaurian biogeography: implications for the evolutionary history and fossil record quality of the first flying vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Upchurch, Paul; Andres, Brian; Butler, Richard J.; Barrett, Paul M.

    2015-01-01

    The biogeographical history of pterosaurs has received very little treatment. Here, we present the first quantitative analysis of pterosaurian biogeography based on an event-based parsimony method (Treefitter). This approach was applied to a phylogenetic tree comprising the relationships of 108 in-group pterosaurian taxa, spanning the full range of this clade's stratigraphical and geographical extent. The results indicate that there is no support for the impact of vicariance or coherent dispersal on pterosaurian distributions. However, this group does display greatly elevated levels of sympatry. Although sampling biases and taxonomic problems might have artificially elevated the occurrence of sympatry, we argue that our results probably reflect a genuine biogeographical signal. We propose a novel model to explain pterosaurian distributions: pterosaurs underwent a series of ‘sweep-stakes’ dispersal events (across oceanic barriers in most cases), resulting in the founding of sympatric clusters of taxa. Examination of the spatiotemporal distributions of pterosaurian occurrences indicates that their fossil record is extremely patchy. Thus, while there is likely to be genuine information on pterosaurian diversity and biogeographical patterns in the current data-set, caution is required in its interpretation. PMID:26339122

  20. Stable isotopes and Antarctic moss banks: Plants and soil microbes respond to recent warming on the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Royles, Jessica; Amesbury, Matthew; Ogée, Jérôme; Wingate, Lisa; Convey, Peter; Hodgson, Dominic; Griffiths, Howard; Leng, Melanie; Charman, Dan

    2014-05-01

    The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, with air temperature increases of as much as 3°C recorded since the 1950s. However, the longer-term context of this change is limited and existing records, largely relying on ice core data, are not suitably located to be able to trace the spatial signature of change over time. We are working on a project exploiting stable isotope records preserved in moss peat banks spanning 10 degrees of latitude along the Antarctic Peninsula as an archive of late Holocene climate variability. Here we present a unique time series of past moss growth and soil microbial activity that has been produced from a 150 year old moss bank at Lazarev Bay, Alexander Island (69°S), a site at the southern limit of significant plant growth in the Antarctic Peninsula region. These moss banks are ideal archives for palaeoclimate research as they are well-preserved by freezing, generally monospecific, easily dated by radiocarbon techniques, and have sufficiently high accumulation rates to permit decadal resolution. We use accumulation rates, cellulose δ13C and fossil testate amoebae to show that growth rates, assimilation and microbial productivity rose rapidly in the 1960s, consistent with temperature change, although recently may have stalled, concurrent with other evidence. The increase in biological activity is unprecedented in the last 150 years. Along with work completed on Signy Island (60°S), in the South Orkney Islands, in which we used carbon isotope evidence to show recent climate-related enhancement of CO2 assimilation and peat accumulation rates in Antarctica, the observed relationships between moss growth, microbial activity and climate suggests that moss bank records have the potential to test the regional expression of temperature variability shown by instrumental data on the Antarctic Peninsula over centennial to millennial timescales, by providing long-term records of summer growth conditions

  1. Review of the fossil matamata turtles: earliest well-dated record and hypotheses on the origin of their present geographical distribution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferreira, Gabriel S.; Rincón, Ascanio D.; Solórzano, Andrés; Langer, Max C.

    2016-04-01

    The matamata ( Chelus fimbriatus) is a highly aquatic chelid turtle known exclusively from northern South America. Due to its extremely modified morphology, it is well circumscribed among living taxa, but that is not the case of the two extinct species ascribed to the taxon, Chelus colombianus and Chelus lewisi. These were originally described for the Miocene of Colombia and Venezuela, respectively, and are known mostly from post-cranial material. Few traits have been considered diagnostic for these fossil taxa, and their shared geographic and temporal distributions raise doubts about their distinctiveness. Here, we describe new turtle remains from the early Miocene Castillo Formation, at Cerro la Cruz, northwestern Venezuela, assigning them to C. colombianus. We also review the taxonomy and diagnostic features of the fossil species of Chelus, comparing them with the variation recognized within C. fimbriatus. All alleged differences between the fossil Chelus species were found in our sample of the extant species, and may represent intraspecific variation of a single fossil species. Further, we reviewed the fossil record of Chelus spp. and proposed a paleobiogeographic hypothesis to explain its present geographic range.

  2. Review of the fossil matamata turtles: earliest well-dated record and hypotheses on the origin of their present geographical distribution.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Gabriel S; Rincón, Ascanio D; Solórzano, Andrés; Langer, Max C

    2016-04-01

    The matamata (Chelus fimbriatus) is a highly aquatic chelid turtle known exclusively from northern South America. Due to its extremely modified morphology, it is well circumscribed among living taxa, but that is not the case of the two extinct species ascribed to the taxon, Chelus colombianus and Chelus lewisi. These were originally described for the Miocene of Colombia and Venezuela, respectively, and are known mostly from post-cranial material. Few traits have been considered diagnostic for these fossil taxa, and their shared geographic and temporal distributions raise doubts about their distinctiveness. Here, we describe new turtle remains from the early Miocene Castillo Formation, at Cerro la Cruz, northwestern Venezuela, assigning them to C. colombianus. We also review the taxonomy and diagnostic features of the fossil species of Chelus, comparing them with the variation recognized within C. fimbriatus. All alleged differences between the fossil Chelus species were found in our sample of the extant species, and may represent intraspecific variation of a single fossil species. Further, we reviewed the fossil record of Chelus spp. and proposed a paleobiogeographic hypothesis to explain its present geographic range.

  3. Bedform signature of a West Antarctic palaeo-ice stream reveals a multi-temporal record of flow and substrate control

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, Alastair G. C.; Larter, Robert D.; Gohl, Karsten; Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter; Smith, James A.; Kuhn, Gerhard

    2009-12-01

    The presence of a complex bedform arrangement on the sea floor of the continental shelf in the western Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica, indicates a multi-temporal record of flow related to the activity of one or more ice streams in the past. Mapping and division of the bedforms into distinct landform assemblages reveals their time-transgressive history, which implies that bedforms can neither be considered part of a single downflow continuum nor a direct proxy for palaeo-ice velocity, as suggested previously. A main control on the bedform imprint is the geology of the shelf, which is divided broadly between rough bedrock on the inner shelf, and smooth, dipping sedimentary strata on the middle to outer shelf. Inner shelf bedform variability is well preserved, revealing information about local, complex basal ice conditions, meltwater flow, and ice dynamics over time. These details, which are not apparent at the scale of regional morphological studies, indicate that past ice streams flowed across the entire shelf at times, and often had onset zones that lay within the interior of the Antarctic Ice Sheet today. In contrast, highly elongated subglacial bedforms on sedimentary strata of the middle to outer shelf represent a timeslice snapshot of the last activity of ice stream flow, and may be a truer representation of fast palaeo-ice flow in these locations. A revised model for ice streams on the shelf captures complicated multi-temporal bedform patterns associated with an Antarctic palaeo-ice stream for the first time, and confirms a strong substrate control on a major ice stream system that drained the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Late Quaternary.

  4. Where's the glass? Biomarkers, molecular clocks, and microRNAs suggest a 200-Myr missing Precambrian fossil record of siliceous sponge spicules.

    PubMed

    Sperling, E A; Robinson, J M; Pisani, D; Peterson, K J

    2010-01-01

    The earliest evidence for animal life comes from the fossil record of 24-isopropylcholestane, a sterane found in Cryogenian deposits, and whose precursors are found in modern demosponges, but not choanoflagellates, calcareans, hexactinellids, or eumetazoans. However, many modern demosponges are also characterized by the presence of siliceous spicules, and there are no convincing demosponge spicules in strata older than the Cambrian. This temporal disparity highlights a problem with our understanding of the Precambrian fossil record--either these supposed demosponge-specific biomarkers were derived from the sterols of some other organism and are simply retained in modern demosponges, or spicules do not primitively characterize crown-group demosponges. Resolving this issue requires resolving the phylogenetic placement of another group of sponges, the hexactinellids, which not only make a spicule thought to be homologous to the spicules of demosponges, but also make their first appearance near the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary. Using two independent analytical approaches and data sets--traditional molecular phylogenetic analyses and the presence or absence of specific microRNA genes--we show that demosponges are monophyletic, and that hexactinellids are their sister group (together forming the Silicea). Thus, spicules must have evolved before the last common ancestor of all living siliceans, suggesting the presence of a significant gap in the silicean spicule fossil record. Molecular divergence estimates date the origin of this last common ancestor well within the Cryogenian, consistent with the biomarker record, and strongly suggests that siliceous spicules were present during the Precambrian but were not preserved.

  5. The Stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet During the Last Interglacial (127-110 ka): A New Record From the Patriot Hills

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turney, C. S.; Fogwill, C. J.; Etheridge, D. M.; Bird, M. I.; Rubino, M.; Thornton, D.; Munksgaard, N.; Cooper, A.; Millman, H.; Rootes, C.; Rivera, A.; Baker, A.; Weyrich, L.

    2015-12-01

    The Last Interglacial (LIG; ca. 127 - 110 ka) is increasingly being investigated as a possible analogue for future climate change. Quantified estimates of LIG temperatures suggest global mean temperatures were approximately 2˚C warmer than the pre-industrial period, similar to the RCP2.6 scenario for the end of the twenty-first century. Importantly this period is associated with a global sea level between 6.6 and 9.4 m higher than present day, of which a significant component most probably derived from Antarctica. However, the contribution from the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) remains highly uncertain. To investigate the stability of the WAIS we report new results from the Patriot Hills blue ice area, located close to the modern day grounding line of the Institute Ice Stream in the Weddell Sea Embayment. A multi proxy study of the ice (including water stable isotopes and atmospheric gas concentrations) provides a unique record of changing WAIS extent over the last glacial-interglacial cycle. We present evidence for the presence of LIG ice at Patriot Hills and discuss the implications for Antarctic ice sheet stability and global sea level rise during super-interglacials.

  6. Does the Sediment Flux Balance of the Larsen Basin, Antarctic Peninsula, Record Glacial Sediment Transport during the Cretaceous Greenhouse?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oliver, B.; Barbeau, D. L.; Hemming, S. R.

    2011-12-01

    Recent geochemical, sequence stratigraphic, and integrated investigations of marine strata from several continental margins and ocean basins suggest that ephemeral ice sheets may have existed on Antarctica during parts of the Cretaceous and early Paleogene thought to be too warm for widespread glaciation. The existence of these ice sheets during the Cretaceous, despite a greenhouse global climate driven by atmospheric CO2 levels two to four times the modern concentration, underscores an insufficiency in our understanding of the relationship between climate change, glaciation, and sea level rise that could affect our ability to predict deglaciation and sea level changes as a result of anthropogenic warming. Preliminary mass-balance calculations between the Larsen Basin, a sedimentary basin adjacent to the northernmost Antarctic Peninsula, and the Peninsula itself offer new evidence in support of the Cretaceous glaciation hypothesis. Simple computations based on the thickness and areal extent of the Larsen basin and the average exhumation depths of the proximal Antarctic Peninsula suggest that the sediment eroded from Peninsula can account for less than 60% of Larsen sediments. The large sediment excess requires both a more distal source region and a mechanism to transport a large amount of sediment from that source. Further, new detrital zircon geochronology from the early Paleogene strata of the Larsen basin indicate substantial contributions of sediment from non-Peninsular sources, of which the Ellsworth Mountains provide the closest match in zircon age populations. The presence of sediment derived from the Ellsworths in the distant Larsen Basin implies that ephemeral, but extensive, ice sheets could have been responsible for transporting the sediment to the basin. A time-dependent reconstruction of the source-to-sink sedimentation history of the Larsen Basin-Antarctic Peninsula system will thus be invaluable in evaluating the Cretaceous glaciation hypothesis. A

  7. The first fossil record of the Emesinae genus Emesopsis Uhler (Hemiptera: Heteroptera, Reduviidae) from Eocene Baltic amber.

    PubMed

    Popov, Yuri A; Chłond, Dominik

    2015-01-01

    Two new fossil representatives of the assassin bug family Reduviidae are described as new from Baltic amber (Upper Eocene), belonging to the genus Emesopsis of the tribe Ploiariolini (Emesinae): Emesopsis putshkovi sp. nov. and E. similis sp. nov. These representatives of the Emesinae are the oldest fossil bugs of the genus Emesopsis known so far, and reported for the first time. This genus is also briefly diagnosed. PMID:26624642

  8. †Kenyaichthyidae fam. nov. and †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. – First Record of a Fossil Aplocheiloid Killifish (Teleostei, Cyprinodontiformes)

    PubMed Central

    Altner, Melanie; Reichenbacher, Bettina

    2015-01-01

    The extant Cyprinodontiformes (killifishes) with their two suborders Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei represent a diverse and well-studied group of fishes. However, their fossil record is comparatively sparse and has so far yielded members of the Cyprinodontoidei only. Here we report on cyprinodontiform fossils from the upper Miocene Lukeino Formation in the Tugen Hills of the Central Rift Valley of Kenya, which represent the first fossil record of an aplocheiloid killifish. A total of 169 specimens - mostly extraordinarily well preserved - and a sample of ten extant cyprinodontiform species were studied on the basis of morphometrics, meristics and osteology. A phylogenetic analysis using PAUP was also conducted for the fossils. Both the osteological data and the phylogenetic analysis provide strong evidence for the assignment of the fossils to the Aplocheiloidei, and justify the definition of the new family †Kenyaichthyidae, the new genus †Kenyaichthys and the new species †K. kipkechi sp. nov. The phylogenetic analysis unexpectedly places †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. in a sister relationship to the Rivulidae (a purely Neotropical group), a probable explanation might be lack of available synapomorphies for the Rivulidae, Nothobranchiidae and Aplocheilidae. The specimens of †K. kipkechi sp. nov. show several polymorphic characters and large overlap in meristic traits, which justifies their interpretation as a species flock in statu nascendi. Patterns of variation in neural and haemal spine dimensions in the caudal vertebrae of †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. and the extant species studied indicate that some previously suggested synapomorphies of the Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei need to be revised. PMID:25923654

  9. First Recorded Loss of an Emperor Penguin Colony in the Recent Period of Antarctic Regional Warming: Implications for Other Colonies

    PubMed Central

    Trathan, Philip N.; Fretwell, Peter T.; Stonehouse, Bernard

    2011-01-01

    In 1948, a small colony of emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri was discovered breeding on Emperor Island (67° 51′ 52″ S, 68° 42′ 20″ W), in the Dion Islands, close to the West Antarctic Peninsula (Stonehouse 1952). When discovered, the colony comprised approximately 150 breeding pairs; these numbers were maintained until 1970, after which time the colony showed a continuous decline. By 1999 there were fewer than 20 pairs, and in 2009 high-resolution aerial photography revealed no remaining trace of the colony. Here we relate the decline and loss of the Emperor Island colony to a well-documented rise in local mean annual air temperature and coincident decline in seasonal sea ice duration. The loss of this colony provides empirical support for recent studies (Barbraud & Weimerskirch 2001; Jenouvrier et al 2005, 2009; Ainley et al 2010; Barber-Meyer et al 2005) that have highlighted the vulnerability of emperor penguins to changes in sea ice duration and distribution. These studies suggest that continued climate change is likely to impact upon future breeding success and colony viability for this species. Furthermore, a recent circumpolar study by Fretwell & Trathan (2009) highlighted those Antarctic coastal regions where colonies appear most vulnerable to such changes. Here we examine which other colonies might be at risk, discussing various ecological factors, some previously unexplored, that may also contribute to future declines. The implications of this are important for future modelling work and for understanding which colonies actually are most vulnerable. PMID:21386883

  10. First recorded loss of an emperor penguin colony in the recent period of Antarctic regional warming: implications for other colonies.

    PubMed

    Trathan, Philip N; Fretwell, Peter T; Stonehouse, Bernard

    2011-02-28

    In 1948, a small colony of emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri was discovered breeding on Emperor Island (67° 51' 52″ S, 68° 42' 20″ W), in the Dion Islands, close to the West Antarctic Peninsula (Stonehouse 1952). When discovered, the colony comprised approximately 150 breeding pairs; these numbers were maintained until 1970, after which time the colony showed a continuous decline. By 1999 there were fewer than 20 pairs, and in 2009 high-resolution aerial photography revealed no remaining trace of the colony. Here we relate the decline and loss of the Emperor Island colony to a well-documented rise in local mean annual air temperature and coincident decline in seasonal sea ice duration. The loss of this colony provides empirical support for recent studies (Barbraud & Weimerskirch 2001; Jenouvrier et al 2005, 2009; Ainley et al 2010; Barber-Meyer et al 2005) that have highlighted the vulnerability of emperor penguins to changes in sea ice duration and distribution. These studies suggest that continued climate change is likely to impact upon future breeding success and colony viability for this species. Furthermore, a recent circumpolar study by Fretwell & Trathan (2009) highlighted those Antarctic coastal regions where colonies appear most vulnerable to such changes. Here we examine which other colonies might be at risk, discussing various ecological factors, some previously unexplored, that may also contribute to future declines. The implications of this are important for future modelling work and for understanding which colonies actually are most vulnerable.

  11. First recorded loss of an emperor penguin colony in the recent period of Antarctic regional warming: implications for other colonies.

    PubMed

    Trathan, Philip N; Fretwell, Peter T; Stonehouse, Bernard

    2011-01-01

    In 1948, a small colony of emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri was discovered breeding on Emperor Island (67° 51' 52″ S, 68° 42' 20″ W), in the Dion Islands, close to the West Antarctic Peninsula (Stonehouse 1952). When discovered, the colony comprised approximately 150 breeding pairs; these numbers were maintained until 1970, after which time the colony showed a continuous decline. By 1999 there were fewer than 20 pairs, and in 2009 high-resolution aerial photography revealed no remaining trace of the colony. Here we relate the decline and loss of the Emperor Island colony to a well-documented rise in local mean annual air temperature and coincident decline in seasonal sea ice duration. The loss of this colony provides empirical support for recent studies (Barbraud & Weimerskirch 2001; Jenouvrier et al 2005, 2009; Ainley et al 2010; Barber-Meyer et al 2005) that have highlighted the vulnerability of emperor penguins to changes in sea ice duration and distribution. These studies suggest that continued climate change is likely to impact upon future breeding success and colony viability for this species. Furthermore, a recent circumpolar study by Fretwell & Trathan (2009) highlighted those Antarctic coastal regions where colonies appear most vulnerable to such changes. Here we examine which other colonies might be at risk, discussing various ecological factors, some previously unexplored, that may also contribute to future declines. The implications of this are important for future modelling work and for understanding which colonies actually are most vulnerable. PMID:21386883

  12. Antarctic Fishes.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Eastman, Joseph T.; DeVries, Arthur L.

    1986-01-01

    Explains the adaptations to Antarctic waters that Notothenioidei, a group of advanced bony fishes, have exhibited. Discusses the fishes' mechanisms of production of antifreeze properties and their capacities for neutral buoyancy in water. (ML)

  13. Antarctic Entomology.

    PubMed

    Chown, Steven L; Convey, Peter

    2016-01-01

    The Antarctic region comprises the continent, the Maritime Antarctic, the sub-Antarctic islands, and the southern cold temperate islands. Continental Antarctica is devoid of insects, but elsewhere diversity varies from 2 to more than 200 species, of which flies and beetles constitute the majority. Much is known about the drivers of this diversity at local and regional scales; current climate and glacial history play important roles. Investigations of responses to low temperatures, dry conditions, and varying salinity have spanned the ecological to the genomic, revealing new insights into how insects respond to stressful conditions. Biological invasions are common across much of the region and are expected to increase as climates become warmer. The drivers of invasion are reasonably well understood, although less is known about the impacts of invasion. Antarctic entomology has advanced considerably over the past 50 years, but key areas, such as interspecific interactions, remain underexplored.

  14. Middle Holocene daily light cycle recorded in the strontium/calcium ratios of a fossil giant clam shell

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sano, Y.; Hori, M.; Takahata, N.; Shirai, K.; Watanabe, T.

    2013-12-01

    The historical record of daily light cycle in tropical and subtropical regions is short. Moreover, it remains difficult to extract this cycle in the past from natural archives such as biogenic marine carbonates. Our previous analyses of cultivated giant clam shells (Tridacna derasa) showed a diurnal variation in the Sr/Ca ratio, which is probably reflecting the daily light cycle and not the seawater temperature [1]. In order to apply the proxy method to prehistoric era, we analyzed trace elements of a fossil giant clam shell (Tridacna gigas) which was collected at the coast of the Ishigaki Island (124 09' E, 24 20' N), southern Japan. The giant clam specimen has been living in the middle Holocene, the warmest climate after the last glacial period. An inner layer part of the sample was cut and mounted in Araldite resin disk together with a carbonate standard. This species is known to form a growth line each day [2] and we found similar Sr enrichment lines to those of the cultivated clam [1] using a EPMA. The lines may facilitate age-model determination. We carried out a preliminary analysis of Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios along the growth axis with a 2-micron spot at 2 micron interval using a laterally high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometer (NanoSIMS) installed at Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo. The Sr/Ca ratios of dark and relatively opaque area, which is probably corresponding to a cool winter [3], show striking diurnal cycle. This cycle generally consist of narrow lines of high Sr/Ca ratio and broad increments of low ratio. These variations are consistent with those of the cultivated clam [1] and pointing to the possibility of reconstructing daily light cycle at a few hour timescale in the middle Holocene. The Mg/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios also appear to indicate a diurnal cycle, but the amplitude is rather large and highly irregular, suggesting a strong biological control. Light-enhanced calcification and elemental transportation

  15. Variability of Black Carbon Deposition to the East Antarctic Plateau, 1800-2000 AD

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bisiaux, M. M.; Edwards, R.; McConnell, J. R.; Albert, M. R.; Anschutz, H.; Neumann, T. A.; Isaksson, E.; Penner, J. E.

    2012-01-01

    Refractory black carbon aerosols (rBC) from biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion are deposited to the Antarctic ice sheet and preserve a history of emissions and long-range transport from low- and mid-latitudes. Antarctic ice core rBC records may thus provide information with respect to past combustion aerosol emissions and atmospheric circulation. Here, we present six East Antarctic ice core records of rBC concentrations and fluxes covering the last two centuries with approximately annual resolution (cal. yr. 1800 to 2000). The ice cores were drilled in disparate regions of the high East Antarctic ice sheet, at different elevations and net snow accumulation rates. Annual rBC concentrations were log-normally distributed and geometric means of annual concentrations ranged from 0.10 to 0.18 m cro-g/kg. Average rBC fluxes were determined over the time periods 1800 to 2000 and 1963 to 2000 and ranged from 3.4 to 15.5 m /a and 3.6 to 21.8 micro-g/sq m/a, respectively. Geometric mean concentrations spanning 1800 to 2000 increased linearly with elevation at a rate of 0.025 micro-g/kg/500 m. Spectral analysis of the records revealed significant decadal-scale variability, which at several sites was comparable to decadal ENSO variability.

  16. Year-round record of Dry Valley soil CO2 flux provides insights into Antarctic soil dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Risk, D. A.; Lee, C.; Macintyre, C. M.; Cary, C.

    2012-12-01

    The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica host extreme soil microbial communities that have been extensively studied within the past decade. Activity of microbial communities is routinely measured via soil CO2 flux, and some useful Antarctic measurements have been made during short Austral summers. These studies are mostly spatial in nature, but temporal patterns are also valuable and may provide insights into critical thresholds and the interplay between various mechanisms that drive CO2 flux and its variation. New membrane-based Forced Diffusion (FD) soil efflux techniques offer promise for this application. The purpose of this study was to use a specially designed FD instrument in Hidden Valley of the Antarctic Dry Valleys to evaluate hardware performance in year-round deployments, and to identify features of interest with respect to soil CO2 flux variation. Overall, the deployment was successful. Small but sustained positive fluxes were present only twice during the year. The first such event was small but consistent and of long duration, occurring in the Austral winter. The second was more volatile and likely of microbial origin, and appeared for roughly a month at the end of the calendar year within the Austral summer. The observed patterns suggest that Hidden Valley soil CO2 fluxes are not solely biological in nature, but likely modulated by a combination of biological, geological, and physical processes, which will be discussed in this presentation. In future studies, additional measurement locations, and simultaneous subsurface and lower atmospheric gradient concentration measurements (power-permitting) would be extremely valuable for interpreting measured fluxes, to help identify advective depletion events, the depth source of fluxes, and changes in soil and atmospheric diffusivities.

  17. Influence of changes in climate, sea level, and depositional systems on the fossil record of the Neoproterozoic-early Cambrian metazoan radiation, Australia

    SciTech Connect

    Mount, J.F.; McDonald, C. )

    1992-11-01

    On the Australian continent the fossil record of the initial appearance and radiation of higher metazoans is strongly influenced by the distribution of facies suitable for fossil preservation. The limited stratigraphic range of the [open quotes]Ediacaran[close quotes] fauna, the seemingly abrupt appearance and radiation of Cambrian-aspect traces, and the apparently late appearance of skeletogenous organisms are all functions of the spatial and temporal distributions of key habitats. The principal controls on the formation of these habitats appear to have been changes in climate and siliciclastic sediment supply coupled with cyclic changes in sea level. Aspects of the artifactual bias documented in Australia are recognized (but rarely documented) in Precambrian-Cambrian boundary sections worldwide. This bias may ultimately form a major stumbling block to detailed reconstruction of early metazoan evolution. 43 refs., 3 figs.

  18. First evidence of a bipartite medial cuneiform in the hominin fossil record: a case report from the Early Pleistocene site of Dmanisi

    PubMed Central

    Jashashvili, Tea; Ponce de León, Marcia S; Lordkipanidze, David; Zollikofer, Christoph P E

    2010-01-01

    A medial cuneiform exhibiting complete bipartition was discovered at the Early Pleistocene site of Dmanisi, Georgia. The specimen is the oldest known instance of this anatomical variant in the hominin fossil record. Here we compare developmental variation of the medial cuneiform in fossil hominins, extant humans and great apes, and discuss potential implications of bipartition for hominin foot phylogeny and function. Complete bipartition is rare among modern humans (< 1%); incomplete bipartition was found in 2 of 200 examined great ape specimens and also appears in the form of a divided distal articular surface in the Stw573c Australopithecus africanus specimen. Although various developmental pathways lead to medial cuneiform bipartition, it appears that the bipartite bone does not deviate significantly from normal overall morphology. Together, these data indicate that bipartition represents a phyletically old developmental variant of the medial cuneiform, which does not, however, affect the species-specific morphology and function of this bone. PMID:20579174

  19. Reassessment of Olduvai Bed I cercopithecoids: A new biochronological and biogeographical link to the South African fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Christopher C; Frost, Stephen R; Delson, Eric

    2016-03-01

    Fossil monkeys have long been used as important faunal elements in studies of African Plio-Pleistocene biochronology, particularly in the case of the South African karst cave sites. Cercopithecoid fossils have been known from Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge for nearly a century, with multiple taxa documented including Theropithecus oswaldi and Cercopithecoides kimeui, along with papionins and colobines less clearly attributable to species. A small number of large papionin fossils, including a partial male cranium and partial female skull, have been previously identified as an early form of Papio, but noted as distinct from extant baboons as well as other fossil Papio species. In 2013 we reviewed the Olduvai cercopithecoid material at the National Museum of Tanzania, with a particular focus on the specimens from Beds I-IV. Quantitative and qualitative comparisons of the Olduvai papionins largely confirmed previous observations, with one notable exception. The large papionin taxon from Bed I previously recognized as Papio sp. is more properly recognized as Gorgopithecus major, a taxon previously known only from South Africa. Features shared between the Olduvai specimens and G. major include relatively short and concavo-convex tubular nasals, antero-posteriorly curved upper incisor roots, downwardly curved brow ridges in the midline, and robust zygomatic arches. The recognition of G. major at Olduvai Bed I, a well-known horizon with precise radiometric dates, provides an important biochronological and biogeographical link with South African localities Kromdraai A, Swartkrans Member 1 and possibly Swartkrans Members 2-3 and Cooper's A and D. PMID:26989016

  20. Reassessment of Olduvai Bed I cercopithecoids: A new biochronological and biogeographical link to the South African fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Christopher C; Frost, Stephen R; Delson, Eric

    2016-03-01

    Fossil monkeys have long been used as important faunal elements in studies of African Plio-Pleistocene biochronology, particularly in the case of the South African karst cave sites. Cercopithecoid fossils have been known from Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge for nearly a century, with multiple taxa documented including Theropithecus oswaldi and Cercopithecoides kimeui, along with papionins and colobines less clearly attributable to species. A small number of large papionin fossils, including a partial male cranium and partial female skull, have been previously identified as an early form of Papio, but noted as distinct from extant baboons as well as other fossil Papio species. In 2013 we reviewed the Olduvai cercopithecoid material at the National Museum of Tanzania, with a particular focus on the specimens from Beds I-IV. Quantitative and qualitative comparisons of the Olduvai papionins largely confirmed previous observations, with one notable exception. The large papionin taxon from Bed I previously recognized as Papio sp. is more properly recognized as Gorgopithecus major, a taxon previously known only from South Africa. Features shared between the Olduvai specimens and G. major include relatively short and concavo-convex tubular nasals, antero-posteriorly curved upper incisor roots, downwardly curved brow ridges in the midline, and robust zygomatic arches. The recognition of G. major at Olduvai Bed I, a well-known horizon with precise radiometric dates, provides an important biochronological and biogeographical link with South African localities Kromdraai A, Swartkrans Member 1 and possibly Swartkrans Members 2-3 and Cooper's A and D.

  1. Error in estimation of rate and time inferred from the early amniote fossil record and avian molecular clocks.

    PubMed

    van Tuinen, Marcel; Hadly, Elizabeth A

    2004-08-01

    The best reconstructions of the history of life will use both molecular time estimates and fossil data. Errors in molecular rate estimation typically are unaccounted for and no attempts have been made to quantify this uncertainty comprehensively. Here, focus is primarily on fossil calibration error because this error is least well understood and nearly universally disregarded. Our quantification of errors in the synapsid-diapsid calibration illustrates that although some error can derive from geological dating of sedimentary rocks, the absence of good stem fossils makes phylogenetic error the most critical. We therefore propose the use of calibration ages that are based on the first undisputed synapsid and diapsid. This approach yields minimum age estimates and standard errors of 306.1 +/- 8.5 MYR for the divergence leading to birds and mammals. Because this upper bound overlaps with the recent use of 310 MYR, we do not support the notion that several metazoan divergence times are significantly overestimated because of serious miscalibration (sensuLee 1999). However, the propagation of relevant errors reduces the statistical significance of the pre-K-T boundary diversification of many bird lineages despite retaining similar point time estimates. Our results demand renewed investigation into suitable loci and fossil calibrations for constructing evolutionary timescales.

  2. Paleovegetation changes recorded by n-alkyl lipids bound in macromolecules of plant fossils and kerogens from the Cretaceous sediments in Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyata, Y.; Sawada, K.; Nakamura, H.; Takashima, R.; Takahashi, M.

    2014-12-01

    Resistant macromolecules composing living plant tissues tend to be preserved through degradation and diagenesis, hence constituate major parts of sedimentary plant-derived organic matter (kerogen), and their monomer compositions vary widely among different plant taxa, organs and growth stages. Thus, analysis of such macromolecule may serve as new technique for paleobotanical evaluation distinctive from classical paleobotnical studies depends on morphological preservation of fossils. In the present study, we analyzed plant fossils and kerogens in sediments from the Cretaceous strata in Japan to examine chemotaxonomic characteristics of fossil macromolecules and to reconstruct paleovegetation change by kerogen analysis. The kerogens were separated from the powdered sediments of Cretaceous Yezo Group, Hokkaido, Japan. All kerogens have been confirmed to be mostly originated from land plant tissues by microscopic observation. Mummified angiosperm and gymnosperm fossil leaves were separated from carbonaceous sandstone of the Cretaceous Ashizawa Formation, Futaba Group. The kerogens and plant fossils were extracted with methanol and dichloromethane, and were subsequently refluxed under 110°C to remove free compounds completely. The residues are hydrolyzed by KOH/methanol under 110°C. These released compounds are analyzed by GC-MS. As main hydrolyzed products (ester-bound molecular units) from all kerogens, C10-C28 n-alkanoic acids and C10-C30 n-alkanols were detected. Recent studies on the hydrolysis products of plant tissues suggested the long chain (>C20) n-alkanols were predominantly abundant in deciduous broadleaved angiosperms. Correspondingly, the stratigraphic variation of the ratios of long chain (>C20) n-alkanols to fatty acids was concordant with the variation of angiosperm/gymnosperm ratios recorded by land plant-derived terpenoid biomarkers. In addition, we found that the long chain n-alkanols/fatty acids ratio in the angiosperm fossil leaf was

  3. The Strontium Isotope Composition of Fossil Hackberry Seed Carbonate and Tooth Enamel as a Potential Record of Soil Erosion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooke, M. J.; Stern, L. A.; Banner, J. L.

    2001-12-01

    The Edwards Plateau in central Texas has experienced significant soil erosion since the Last Glacial Maximum. In contrast to the thin soils that mantle the Cretaceous limestone bedrock of the modern Edwards Plateau, Quaternary fossils of burrowing mammals contained within several central Texas cave deposits suggest soil cover was much thicker in the latest Pleistocene and early Holocene. As the landscape is denuded, the Cretaceous limestone bedrock is exhumed and becomes a more important source of exchangeable Sr to the soils. Therefore, the Sr isotope composition of the soil and organisms deriving nutrients from the soil, such as plants and herbivores, should become more like the Sr isotope composition of the bedrock as erosion continues. Because the marine limestone bedrock has a lower 87Sr/86Sr value than the soil, the exchangeable soil Sr should evolve to lower 87Sr/86Sr values through time resulting in a decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr of plants and animals deriving nutrients from the soil. In order to test this hypothesis, terrestrial fossils from an extensively dated Quaternary deposit within Hall's Cave, Kerr County, Texas were analyzed by TIMS for 87Sr/86Sr. The materials analyzed include aragonitic fossil hackberry seeds and rodent tooth enamel. Results indicate an overall decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr of fossil hackberry seed aragonite and rodent tooth enamel over the last 16,000 years, with the highest rate of decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr of fossil hackberry seeds (0.70982 to 0.70841) occurring between approximately 16,000 and 10,000 Y.B.P. This decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr is interpreted as evidence for an increase in the proportion of bedrock-derived Sr to the soils, corresponding to a general decrease in soil thickness. An increase in aridity or an increase in the seasonality of precipitation during this time could account for the post-glacial soil erosion in central Texas. This study suggests that the 87Sr/86Sr of fossils may be a useful proxy for paleo soil depth

  4. Where's the glass? Biomarkers, molecular clocks, and microRNAs suggest a 200-Myr missing Precambrian fossil record of siliceous sponge spicules.

    PubMed

    Sperling, E A; Robinson, J M; Pisani, D; Peterson, K J

    2010-01-01

    The earliest evidence for animal life comes from the fossil record of 24-isopropylcholestane, a sterane found in Cryogenian deposits, and whose precursors are found in modern demosponges, but not choanoflagellates, calcareans, hexactinellids, or eumetazoans. However, many modern demosponges are also characterized by the presence of siliceous spicules, and there are no convincing demosponge spicules in strata older than the Cambrian. This temporal disparity highlights a problem with our understanding of the Precambrian fossil record--either these supposed demosponge-specific biomarkers were derived from the sterols of some other organism and are simply retained in modern demosponges, or spicules do not primitively characterize crown-group demosponges. Resolving this issue requires resolving the phylogenetic placement of another group of sponges, the hexactinellids, which not only make a spicule thought to be homologous to the spicules of demosponges, but also make their first appearance near the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary. Using two independent analytical approaches and data sets--traditional molecular phylogenetic analyses and the presence or absence of specific microRNA genes--we show that demosponges are monophyletic, and that hexactinellids are their sister group (together forming the Silicea). Thus, spicules must have evolved before the last common ancestor of all living siliceans, suggesting the presence of a significant gap in the silicean spicule fossil record. Molecular divergence estimates date the origin of this last common ancestor well within the Cryogenian, consistent with the biomarker record, and strongly suggests that siliceous spicules were present during the Precambrian but were not preserved. PMID:19929965

  5. The origin and early evolution of Sauria: reassessing the permian Saurian fossil record and the timing of the crocodile-lizard divergence.

    PubMed

    Ezcurra, Martín D; Scheyer, Torsten M; Butler, Richard J

    2014-01-01

    Sauria is the crown-group of Diapsida and is subdivided into Lepidosauromorpha and Archosauromorpha, comprising a high percentage of the diversity of living and fossil tetrapods. The split between lepidosauromorphs and archosauromorphs (the crocodile-lizard, or bird-lizard, divergence) is considered one of the key calibration points for molecular analyses of tetrapod phylogeny. Saurians have a very rich Mesozoic and Cenozoic fossil record, but their late Paleozoic (Permian) record is problematic. Several Permian specimens have been referred to Sauria, but the phylogenetic affinity of some of these records remains questionable. We reexamine and review all of these specimens here, providing new data on early saurian evolution including osteohistology, and present a new morphological phylogenetic dataset. We support previous studies that find that no valid Permian record for Lepidosauromorpha, and we also reject some of the previous referrals of Permian specimens to Archosauromorpha. The most informative Permian archosauromorph is Protorosaurus speneri from the middle Late Permian of Western Europe. A historically problematic specimen from the Late Permian of Tanzania is redescribed and reidentified as a new genus and species of basal archosauromorph: Aenigmastropheus parringtoni. The supposed protorosaur Eorasaurus olsoni from the Late Permian of Russia is recovered among Archosauriformes and may be the oldest known member of the group but the phylogenetic support for this position is low. The assignment of Archosaurus rossicus from the latest Permian of Russia to the archosauromorph clade Proterosuchidae is supported. Our revision suggests a minimum fossil calibration date for the crocodile-lizard split of 254.7 Ma. The occurrences of basal archosauromorphs in the northern (30°N) and southern (55°S) parts of Pangea imply a wider paleobiogeographic distribution for the group during the Late Permian than previously appreciated. Early archosauromorph growth

  6. The Origin and Early Evolution of Sauria: Reassessing the Permian Saurian Fossil Record and the Timing of the Crocodile-Lizard Divergence

    PubMed Central

    Ezcurra, Martín D.; Scheyer, Torsten M.; Butler, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    Sauria is the crown-group of Diapsida and is subdivided into Lepidosauromorpha and Archosauromorpha, comprising a high percentage of the diversity of living and fossil tetrapods. The split between lepidosauromorphs and archosauromorphs (the crocodile-lizard, or bird-lizard, divergence) is considered one of the key calibration points for molecular analyses of tetrapod phylogeny. Saurians have a very rich Mesozoic and Cenozoic fossil record, but their late Paleozoic (Permian) record is problematic. Several Permian specimens have been referred to Sauria, but the phylogenetic affinity of some of these records remains questionable. We reexamine and review all of these specimens here, providing new data on early saurian evolution including osteohistology, and present a new morphological phylogenetic dataset. We support previous studies that find that no valid Permian record for Lepidosauromorpha, and we also reject some of the previous referrals of Permian specimens to Archosauromorpha. The most informative Permian archosauromorph is Protorosaurus speneri from the middle Late Permian of Western Europe. A historically problematic specimen from the Late Permian of Tanzania is redescribed and reidentified as a new genus and species of basal archosauromorph: Aenigmastropheus parringtoni. The supposed protorosaur Eorasaurus olsoni from the Late Permian of Russia is recovered among Archosauriformes and may be the oldest known member of the group but the phylogenetic support for this position is low. The assignment of Archosaurus rossicus from the latest Permian of Russia to the archosauromorph clade Proterosuchidae is supported. Our revision suggests a minimum fossil calibration date for the crocodile-lizard split of 254.7 Ma. The occurrences of basal archosauromorphs in the northern (30°N) and southern (55°S) parts of Pangea imply a wider paleobiogeographic distribution for the group during the Late Permian than previously appreciated. Early archosauromorph growth

  7. Measurements of ethane in Antarctic ice cores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Verhulst, K. R.; Fosse, E. K.; Aydin, K. M.; Saltzman, E. S.

    2011-12-01

    Ethane is one of the most abundant hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. The major ethane sources are fossil fuel production and use, biofuel combustion, and biomass-burning emissions and the primary loss pathway is via reaction with OH. A paleoatmospheric ethane record would be useful as a tracer of biomass-burning emissions, providing a constraint on past changes in atmospheric methane and methane isotopes. An independent biomass-burning tracer would improve our understanding of the relationship between biomass burning and climate. The mean annual atmospheric ethane level at high southern latitudes is about 230 parts per trillion (ppt), and Antarctic firn air measurements suggest that atmospheric ethane levels in the early 20th century were considerably lower (Aydin et al., 2011). In this study, we present preliminary measurements of ethane (C2H6) in Antarctic ice core samples with gas ages ranging from 0-1900 C.E. Samples were obtained from dry-drilled ice cores from South Pole and Vostok in East Antarctica, and from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS-D). Gases were extracted from the ice by melting under vacuum in a glass vessel sealed by indium wire and were analyzed using high resolution GC/MS with isotope dilution. Ethane levels measured in ice core samples were in the range 100-220 ppt, with a mean of 157 ± 45 ppt (n=12). System blanks contribute roughly half the amount of ethane extracted from a 300 g ice core sample. These preliminary data exhibit a temporal trend, with higher ethane levels from 0-900 C.E., followed by a decline, reaching a minimum between 1600-1700 C.E. These trends are consistent with variations in ice core methane isotopes and carbon monoxide isotopes (Ferretti et al., 2005, Wang et al., 2010), which indicate changes in biomass burning emissions over this time period. These preliminary data suggest that Antarctic ice core bubbles contain paleoatmospheric ethane levels. With further improvement of laboratory techniques it appears

  8. Eight Million Years of Land-Based Antarctic Ice Sheet Stability Recorded By In Situ 10Be from the ANDRILL-1B Core

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shakun, J. D.; Corbett, L. B.; Bierman, P. R.

    2015-12-01

    The response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) to Pliocene warmth provides a critical way to gauge its sensitivity to climate change. Considerable uncertainty surrounds the Pliocene behavior of the EAIS, however. For instance, global sea level estimates for the mid-Pliocene warm period range from <10 m to >30 m, and numerous cosmogenic nuclide and sedimentological studies from the Transantarctic Mountains imply extreme landscape stability over the last several Myr whereas ocean records suggest orbital-scale instability of at least marine-based sectors of the ice sheet. These stabilist versus dynamicist views are difficult to resolve because onshore records are generally biased toward intervals of expanded ice cover and limited to areas with exposed land, while marine sediments typically provide indirect evidence for conditions on land and cannot distinguish between marine versus land-based ice sheet collapse. The AND-1B marine sediment core drilled beneath the Ross Ice Shelf contains a remarkably complete late Cenozoic sequence of glacial diamictons sourced from the adjacent EAIS, intercalated with open-water sediments likely associated with West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse. We measured concentrations of in situ 10Be - produced only when ice cover is reduced and the landscape is exposed - in eight samples of glacially-derived quartz sand from AND-1B spanning parts of the last 8 Myr. Decay-corrected concentrations are low and show a long-term decline from 13,000 atoms/g to 1000 atoms/g over the record. These low values and the monotonic trend suggest that land-based ice sheet sectors have experienced little, if any, exposure during the past 8 Myr; the 10Be concentrations we measured are equivalent to only centuries or a few kyr of surface exposure. Perhaps more likely, the small quantities of 10Be were produced prior to the establishment of a full EAIS in the mid-Miocene, and reflect deeply-exhumed and thus 10Be-poor material that has been radioactively

  9. "Fossil" Forecasting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brody, Michael J.; deOnis, Ann

    2001-01-01

    Presents a density study in which students calculate the density of limestone substrate to determine if the specimen contains any fossils. Explains how to make fossils and addresses national standards. (YDS)

  10. Fossil Explorers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moran, Sean; McLaughlin, Cheryl; MacFadden, Bruce; Jacobbe, Elizabeth; Poole, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Many young learners are fascinated with fossils, particularly charismatic forms such as dinosaurs and giant sharks. Fossils provide tangible, objective evidence of life that lived millions of years ago. They also provide a timescale of evolution not typically appreciated by young learners. Fossils and the science of paleontology can, therefore,…

  11. Marquee Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2008-01-01

    Professors of an online graduate-level paleontology class developed the concept of marquee fossils--fossils that have one or more unique characteristics that capture the attention and direct observation of students. In the classroom, Marquee fossils integrate the geology, biology, and environmental science involved in the study of fossilized…

  12. The potential ocean acidification event at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary: Constraining carbonate chemistry using the presence of corals and coral reefs in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martindale, R. C.; Berelson, W.; Corsetti, F. A.; Bottjer, D. J.; West, A.

    2011-12-01

    Ocean acidification associated with emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) has been hypothesized as a kill mechanism for the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) mass extinction (~200Ma), but few direct proxies for ancient ocean acidity are available. Here, we suggest that the presence of fossil corals and coral reefs can constrain palaeocean acidity. Modern scleractinian corals lose the ability to biomineralize a robust skeleton below aragonite saturation states (ΩArag) of 2 and modern shallow water coral reefs are only found in ΩArag > 3; we use these minima to constrain ancient ocean carbonate chemistry when corals or coral reefs are preserved in the fossil record. Atmospheric pCO2 reconstructions are combined with the coral ΩArag limitations to calculate the total dissolved inorganic carbon (TCO2) in the Late Triassic Ocean, which is a measure of the buffering capacity or ocean sensitivity to acidification. Our results suggest that Late Triassic TCO2 values were low to moderate (2000-3000 μmol/kg) such that the pCO2 increases across the T-J boundary would have depressed saturation state to the point where coral biomineralization would have been challenging (ΩArag < 2), likely resulting in the observed coral and reef gap in the fossil record. While the average pCO2 elevations recorded in stomatal and pedogenic proxies are not sufficient to cause complete carbonate undersaturation, modeled scenarios for CAMP-related T-J pCO2 increases suggest that aragonite undersaturation is plausible and in extreme cases calcite undersaturation is possible. Thus, a short but extreme acidification in an ocean with a low TCO2 concentration could occur and would satisfactorily explain the significant extinction of calcareous organisms, the coral gap, and possibly the T-J carbonate crisis.

  13. A Record of Moisture History in Hawaii since the Arrival of Humans Inferred from Testate Amoebae and Cladocera Fossils Preserved in Bog Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrett, K.; Kim, S. H.; Hotchkiss, S.

    2015-12-01

    Around AD 800, Polynesians arrived on the Hawaiian Islands where they expanded and intensified distinct agricultural practices in the islands' wet and dry regions. Dryland farming productivity in particular would have been sensitive to atmospheric rearrangements of the ENSO and PDO systems that affect rainfall in Hawaii. The few detailed terrestrial paleoclimate records in Hawaii are mainly derived from vegetation proxies (e.g. pollen, seeds, fruits, and plant biomarkers) which are heavily influenced by widespread landscape modification following human arrival. Here we present initial results of an independent paleomoisture proxy: fossil remains of moisture-sensitive testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) and cladocera (water fleas) preserved in continuous bog sediments on Kohala Volcano uplsope of the ancient Kohala agricultural field system, one of the largest dryland field systems in Hawaii. Hydrologic conditions inferred from testate amoebae and cladoceran fossil assemblages correlate with observed decadal moisture regimes in Hawaii and state changes of the PDO system during the last century. Testate ameoabe and cladoceran fossils in older sediments reveal an alternating history of very wet, lake-forming conditions on the bog surface to periods when bog soils were much drier than today's, demonstrating that this method can be paired with vegetation proxies to provide a better understanding of hydroclimate variability in prehistoric Hawaii.

  14. First Fossil Record of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. (Annonaceae) from the Late Oligocene Sediments of Assam, India and Comments on Its Phytogeography

    PubMed Central

    Srivastava, Gaurav; Mehrotra, Rakesh C.

    2013-01-01

    A new fossil leaf impression of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. of the family Annonaceae is described from the Late Oligocene sediments of Makum Coalfield, Assam, India. This is the first authentic record of the fossil of Alphonsea from the Tertiary rocks of South Asia. The Late Oligocene was the time of the last significant globally warm climate and the fossil locality was at 10°–15°N palaeolatitude. The known palaeoflora and sedimentological studies indicate a fluvio-marine deltaic environment with a mosaic of mangrove, fluvial, mire and lacustrine depositional environments. During the depositional period the suturing between the Indian and Eurasian plates was not complete to facilitate the plant migration. The suturing was over by the end of the Late Oligocene/beginning of Early Miocene resulting in the migration of the genus to Southeast Asia where it is growing profusely at present. The present study is in congruence with the earlier published palaeofloral and molecular phylogenetic data. The study also suggests that the Indian plate was not only a biotic ferry during its northward voyage from Gondwana to Asia but also a place for the origin of several plant taxa. PMID:23349701

  15. First fossil record of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. (Annonaceae) from the Late Oligocene sediments of Assam, India and comments on its phytogeography.

    PubMed

    Srivastava, Gaurav; Mehrotra, Rakesh C

    2013-01-01

    A new fossil leaf impression of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. of the family Annonaceae is described from the Late Oligocene sediments of Makum Coalfield, Assam, India. This is the first authentic record of the fossil of Alphonsea from the Tertiary rocks of South Asia. The Late Oligocene was the time of the last significant globally warm climate and the fossil locality was at 10°-15°N palaeolatitude. The known palaeoflora and sedimentological studies indicate a fluvio-marine deltaic environment with a mosaic of mangrove, fluvial, mire and lacustrine depositional environments. During the depositional period the suturing between the Indian and Eurasian plates was not complete to facilitate the plant migration. The suturing was over by the end of the Late Oligocene/beginning of Early Miocene resulting in the migration of the genus to Southeast Asia where it is growing profusely at present. The present study is in congruence with the earlier published palaeofloral and molecular phylogenetic data. The study also suggests that the Indian plate was not only a biotic ferry during its northward voyage from Gondwana to Asia but also a place for the origin of several plant taxa.

  16. A 50,000-year climatic record from the new coastal TALDICE ice core: consequences on millennial-scale variability features through the Antarctic continent

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buiron, Daphné; Stenni, Barbara; Frezzoti, Massimo; Chappellaz, Jerome; Lemieux, Benedicte; Masson-Delmotte, Valérie; Schilt, Adrian

    2010-05-01

    The TALDICE project retrieved a new ice core from a peripheral dome of East Antarctica. Talos Dome (72° 49' S, 159° 11' E; 2315 m; mean accumulation rate 80 kg m-2 yr-1; mean annual temp. -41°C) is located in the Northern Victoria Land, close to the Ross Sea. Back-trajectory analyses suggest that the site is mostly fed by air masses arriving both from the Pacific (and Ross Sea) and Indian Ocean sectors. The drilling team reached the depth of 1619.2 m in December 2007, covering more than 300,000 years of climatic records according to a preliminary age scale. Up to 50,000 years before present, the ice core dating is based on the use of a glaciological model and an inverse method, constrained by numerous and reliable age markers. They are defined from the synchronization of CH4 records of Talos Dome and Greenland ice cores, using in particular the rapid CH4 changes associated with the last termination and the D/O events. Measurements of the CH4 mixing ratio have been performed by LGGE and Bern laboratories using slightly different techniques, with a depth resolution ranging between 0.5 to 4 m. The comparison of water isotopic profiles from Talos Dome, EDC, EDML (Antarctica) and North-GRIP (Greenland) ice cores, once put on a common time scale deduced from CH4 and the optimisation from the inverse method, reveals that during the last deglaciation and the last glacial period, climatic changes at Talos Dome were essentially in phase with the Antarctic plateau, extending the bipolar seesaw sequence to this coastal site. This comparison also highlights different climatic behaviors between sites situated in the Indo/Pacific sector and in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean, the latter showing more abrupt swings toward relatively warm conditions of the Antarctic Isotope Maxima. We will discuss this feature with respect to the bipolar seesaw model of Stocker (2003) and with respect to other climatic proxies.

  17. A terrestrial record from Iles Kerguelen: Reconstructing climate history in the sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean during the last glacial-interglacial transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van der Putten, Nathalie; Verbruggen, Cyriel; Björck, Svante; Michel, Elisabeth; Disnar, Jean-Robert; Chapron, Emmanuel; de Beaulieu, Jacques-Louis

    2014-05-01

    The Southern Ocean is characterised by (i) the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), flowing from west to east around the Antarctic continent and connecting the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean basins and (ii) several oceanic fronts such as the Polar Front (PF). Storm tracks, often with high wind speeds, prevail at these latitudes as they are strongly influenced by the Southern Hemisphere Westerlies (SHW). Information on past climate change at the mid- and high southern latitudes (40°-70°S), especially from a terrestrial point of view, is still sparse in comparison with the same latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Fortunately, dispersed and remote islands and island groups occur in the Southern Ocean. Changes in zonal circulation - i.e. the strength and position of the SHW - result in significant imprints in this region and it is therefore imperative to map, in time and space, the strength and latitudinal shifts of this zonal circulation. Latitudinal shifts of the ACC and PF during periods of climate change must have influenced climate conditions on, at least, some of these islands, offering the possibility to reconstruct changes of the oceanic frontal systems in the Southern Ocean. Here we present preliminary results from a chronologically well constrained terrestrial record sampled on Iles Kerguelen (49°S - 69°E, South Indian Ocean), situated in the core of the SHW and at the PF. We focus on the last glacial-interglacial transition, a period characterised by a return to cold conditions, after an initial post-LGM warming. The Estacade sequence presented here is analysed with multi-proxy approach (peat stratigraphy, pollen, plant macrofossils, magnetic susceptibility, biogenic silica and Rock Eval). The onset of peat growth at the Estacade site c. 16.3 kyr BP coincides with the post-LGM warming in Antarctica, which already started 18 kyr BP (EPICA Dome C ice core). At c. 14 kyr BP, so c.500 years later as the onset of the ACR, a sudden change to more humid

  18. Air-snow transfer of nitrate on the East Antarctic Plateau - Part 2: An isotopic model for the interpretation of deep ice-core records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erbland, J.; Savarino, J.; Morin, S.; France, J. L.; Frey, M. M.; King, M. D.

    2015-10-01

    Unraveling the modern budget of reactive nitrogen on the Antarctic Plateau is critical for the interpretation of ice-core records of nitrate. This requires accounting for nitrate recycling processes occurring in near-surface snow and the overlying atmospheric boundary layer. Not only concentration measurements but also isotopic ratios of nitrogen and oxygen in nitrate provide constraints on the processes at play. However, due to the large number of intertwined chemical and physical phenomena involved, numerical modeling is required to test hypotheses in a quantitative manner. Here we introduce the model TRANSITS (TRansfer of Atmospheric Nitrate Stable Isotopes To the Snow), a novel conceptual, multi-layer and one-dimensional model representing the impact of processes operating on nitrate at the air-snow interface on the East Antarctic Plateau, in terms of concentrations (mass fraction) and nitrogen (δ15N) and oxygen isotopic composition (17O excess, Δ17O) in nitrate. At the air-snow interface at Dome C (DC; 75° 06' S, 123° 19' E), the model reproduces well the values of δ15N in atmospheric and surface snow (skin layer) nitrate as well as in the δ15N profile in DC snow, including the observed extraordinary high positive values (around +300 ‰) below 2 cm. The model also captures the observed variability in nitrate mass fraction in the snow. While oxygen data are qualitatively reproduced at the air-snow interface at DC and in East Antarctica, the simulated Δ17O values underestimate the observed Δ17O values by several per mill. This is explained by the simplifications made in the description of the atmospheric cycling and oxidation of NO2 as well as by our lack of understanding of the NOx chemistry at Dome C. The model reproduces well the sensitivity of δ15N, Δ17O and the apparent fractionation constants (15ϵapp, 17Eapp) to the snow accumulation rate. Building on this development, we propose a framework for the interpretation of nitrate records

  19. Air-snow transfer of nitrate on the East Antarctic plateau - Part 2: An isotopic model for the interpretation of deep ice-core records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erbland, J.; Savarino, J.; Morin, S.; France, J. L.; Frey, M. M.; King, M. D.

    2015-03-01

    Unraveling the modern budget of reactive nitrogen on the Antarctic plateau is critical for the interpretation of ice core records of nitrate. This requires accounting for nitrate recycling processes occurring in near surface snow and the overlying atmospheric boundary layer. Not only concentration measurements, but also isotopic ratios of nitrogen and oxygen in nitrate, provide constraints on the processes at play. However, due to the large number of intertwined chemical and physical phenomena involved, numerical modelling is required to test hypotheses in a quantitative manner. Here we introduce the model "TRansfer of Atmospheric Nitrate Stable Isotopes To the Snow" (TRANSITS), a novel conceptual, multi-layer and one-dimensional model representing the impact of processes operating on nitrate at the air-snow interface on the East Antarctic plateau, in terms of concentrations (mass fraction) and the nitrogen (δ15N) and oxygen isotopic composition (17O}-excess, Δ17O) in nitrate. At the air-snow interface at Dome C (DC, 75°06' S, 123°19' E), the model reproduces well the values of δ15N in atmospheric and surface snow (skin layer) nitrate as well as in the δ15N profile in DC snow including the observed extraordinary high positive values (around +300 ‰) below 20 unit{cm}. The model also captures the observed variability in nitrate mass fraction in the snow. While oxygen data are qualitatively reproduced at the air-snow interface at DC and in East Antarctica, the simulated Δ17O values underestimate the observed Δ17O values by a few ‰. This is explained by the simplifications made in the description of the atmospheric cycling and oxidation of NO2. The model reproduces well the sensitivity of δ15N, Δ17O and the apparent fractionation constants (15ϵapp, 17Eapp) to the snow accumulation rate. Building on this development, we propose a framework for the interpretation of nitrate records measured from ice cores. Measurement of nitrate mass fractions

  20. New Miocene Fossils and the History of Penguins in Australia

    PubMed Central

    Park, Travis; Fitzgerald, Erich M. G.; Gallagher, Stephen J.; Tomkins, Ellyn; Allan, Tony

    2016-01-01

    Australia has a fossil record of penguins reaching back to the Eocene, yet today is inhabited by just one breeding species, the little penguin Eudyptula minor. The description of recently collected penguin fossils from the re-dated upper Miocene Port Campbell Limestone of Portland (Victoria), in addition to reanalysis of previously described material, has allowed the Cenozoic history of penguins in Australia to be placed into a global context for the first time. Australian pre-Quaternary fossil penguins represent stem taxa phylogenetically disparate from each other and E. minor, implying multiple dispersals and extinctions. Late Eocene penguins from Australia are closest to contemporaneous taxa in Antarctica, New Zealand and South America. Given current material, the Miocene Australian fossil penguin fauna is apparently unique in harbouring ‘giant penguins’ after they went extinct elsewhere; and including stem taxa until at least 6 Ma, by which time crown penguins dominated elsewhere in the southern hemisphere. Separation of Australia from Antarctica during the Palaeogene, and its subsequent drift north, appears to have been a major event in Australian penguin biogeography. Increasing isolation through the Cenozoic may have limited penguin dispersal to Australia from outside the Australasian region, until intensification of the eastwards-flowing Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the mid-Miocene established a potential new dispersal vector to Australia. PMID:27115739

  1. New Miocene Fossils and the History of Penguins in Australia.

    PubMed

    Park, Travis; Fitzgerald, Erich M G; Gallagher, Stephen J; Tomkins, Ellyn; Allan, Tony

    2016-01-01

    Australia has a fossil record of penguins reaching back to the Eocene, yet today is inhabited by just one breeding species, the little penguin Eudyptula minor. The description of recently collected penguin fossils from the re-dated upper Miocene Port Campbell Limestone of Portland (Victoria), in addition to reanalysis of previously described material, has allowed the Cenozoic history of penguins in Australia to be placed into a global context for the first time. Australian pre-Quaternary fossil penguins represent stem taxa phylogenetically disparate from each other and E. minor, implying multiple dispersals and extinctions. Late Eocene penguins from Australia are closest to contemporaneous taxa in Antarctica, New Zealand and South America. Given current material, the Miocene Australian fossil penguin fauna is apparently unique in harbouring 'giant penguins' after they went extinct elsewhere; and including stem taxa until at least 6 Ma, by which time crown penguins dominated elsewhere in the southern hemisphere. Separation of Australia from Antarctica during the Palaeogene, and its subsequent drift north, appears to have been a major event in Australian penguin biogeography. Increasing isolation through the Cenozoic may have limited penguin dispersal to Australia from outside the Australasian region, until intensification of the eastwards-flowing Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the mid-Miocene established a potential new dispersal vector to Australia.

  2. New Miocene Fossils and the History of Penguins in Australia.

    PubMed

    Park, Travis; Fitzgerald, Erich M G; Gallagher, Stephen J; Tomkins, Ellyn; Allan, Tony

    2016-01-01

    Australia has a fossil record of penguins reaching back to the Eocene, yet today is inhabited by just one breeding species, the little penguin Eudyptula minor. The description of recently collected penguin fossils from the re-dated upper Miocene Port Campbell Limestone of Portland (Victoria), in addition to reanalysis of previously described material, has allowed the Cenozoic history of penguins in Australia to be placed into a global context for the first time. Australian pre-Quaternary fossil penguins represent stem taxa phylogenetically disparate from each other and E. minor, implying multiple dispersals and extinctions. Late Eocene penguins from Australia are closest to contemporaneous taxa in Antarctica, New Zealand and South America. Given current material, the Miocene Australian fossil penguin fauna is apparently unique in harbouring 'giant penguins' after they went extinct elsewhere; and including stem taxa until at least 6 Ma, by which time crown penguins dominated elsewhere in the southern hemisphere. Separation of Australia from Antarctica during the Palaeogene, and its subsequent drift north, appears to have been a major event in Australian penguin biogeography. Increasing isolation through the Cenozoic may have limited penguin dispersal to Australia from outside the Australasian region, until intensification of the eastwards-flowing Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the mid-Miocene established a potential new dispersal vector to Australia. PMID:27115739

  3. Palaeolithic use of fossil combustible linked to singular environmental conditions : the long term el Kowm record (Syria).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Courty, M.-A.; Le Tensorer, J.-M.; Boëda, E.; Muhesen, S.; Alsakhel, E.; Wegmüller, F.

    2012-04-01

    Identifying the adaptation of hunter-gatherer communities to particular situations that provided natural resources is a major concern for multidisciplinary team studying archaeological contexts. This challenge is illustrated in the desertic El Kowm basin in central Syria by data from Hummal and El Kowm Paleolithic sites. The sites form prominent mounds at artesian springs resulting from recurrent episodes of lacustrine, limnic and aeolian sedimentation in pseudo-karstic depressions. The few meter sequences provide semi-continuous succession of archaeological levels from the Oldest Palaeolithic (Oldowan) to the early Neolithic period. This long term continuity of occupation is partly due to attracting conditions due to the profusion of water from epithermal artesian wells during periods of high water recharge. In addition, we document here the unique potential of this endoreic basin to have accumulated singular fossil combustible of high energy value during particular environmental episodes. The latter are represented by the recurrence of distinctive black organogenic facies showing a contrasting micro stratification formed of interlayered grey calcareous silty clay, dark brown organic rich clay and dull orange clay. Spatial excavation has shown the unique preservation of Palaeolithic occupation surfaces in association to the microstratified facies. High resolution sampling and multi-proxy analysis have allowed explaining the formation of the microstratified facies from rapid changes of environmental conditions in response to contrasting fluctuations of atmospheric dust loading, precipitation events, rainwater quality and evapotranspiration. Organogenic microfacies formed at different time periods share common compositional assemblage and structural behaviour: occurrence of exotic fine sand-sized debris formed of metal-rich carbonaceous components with polymer, fine charcoal, vitrous carbon, carbon fibres, and exotic rock clasts with a metal-rich carbonaceous

  4. A diverse Rancholabrean vertebrate microfauna from southern California includes the first fossil record of ensatina ( Ensatina eschscholtzii: Plethodontidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wake, Thomas A.; Roeder, Mark A.

    2009-11-01

    Analysis of late Pleistocene fossils recovered from near the Huntington Beach, California (USA), pier (site LACM 7679) has revealed a diverse fauna dating to approximately 40 14C ka BP. Extinct megafauna (three genera) are present; however, a microfauna including three genera of fish, five genera of amphibians, twelve genera of reptiles, two genera of birds, and ten genera of small mammals dominates the assemblage in terms of diversity. Additional identification of seven genera of non-marine mollusks and various macro- and microscopic plant remains including grasses, three families of herbs, and seven genera of trees provides a wealth of information concerning the past ecology of what is currently a coastal dune field complex. During the Rancholabrean Period, the LACM 7679 locality was approximately 10 km inland from the Pleistocene coastline and contained lush riparian zones interspersed with coastal sage scrub, a few trees, and grasslands teeming with a variety of small and large animals.

  5. The Homo habitat niche: using the avian fossil record to depict ecological characteristics of Palaeolithic Eurasian hominins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finlayson, Clive; Carrión, José; Brown, Kimberly; Finlayson, Geraldine; Sánchez-Marco, Antonio; Fa, Darren; Rodríguez-Vidal, Joaquín; Fernández, Santiago; Fierro, Elena; Bernal-Gómez, Marco; Giles-Pacheco, Francisco

    2011-06-01

    Although hardly applied to human palaeoecology, bird fossils offer a unique opportunity for quantitative studies of the hominin habitat. Here we reconstruct the Homo habitat niche across a large area of the Palaearctic, based on a database of avian fauna for Pleistocene sites. Our results reveal a striking association between Homo and habitat mosaics. A mix of open savannah-type woodland, wetlands and rocky habitats emerges as the predominant combination occupied by Homo across a wide geographical area, from the earliest populations of the Lower Palaeolithic to the latest hunter-gatherer communities of the Upper Palaeolithic. This observation is in keeping with the view that such landscapes have had long standing selective value for hominins.

  6. Imprint of Climate Variability on Mesozoic Fossil Tree Rings: Evidences of Solar Activity Signals on Environmental Records Around 200 Million Years Ago?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prestes, A.; Rigozo, N. R.; Nordemann, D. J. R.; Echer, E.; Vieira, L. E. A.; Souza Echer, M. P.; Wrasse, C. M.; Guarnieri, F. L.

    2014-08-01

    Evidence of the solar activity modulation of the Earth's climate has been observed on several parameters, from decadal to millennial time scales. Several proxies have been used to reconstruct the paleoclimate as well as the solar activity. The paleoclimate reconstructions are based on direct and/or indirect effects of global and regional climate conditions. The solar activity reconstructions are based on the production of the 14C isotope due to the interaction of cosmic ray flux and the Earth's atmosphere. Because trees respond to climate conditions and store 14C, they have been used as proxies for both for climate and solar activity reconstructions. The imprints of solar activity cycles dating back to 10,000 years ago have been observed on tree-ring samples using 14C data, and those dating back to 20 million years ago have been analyzed using fossil tree-growth rings. All this corresponds to the Cenozoic era. However, solar activity imprints on tree rings from earlier than that era have not been investigated yet. In this work, we showed that tree rings from the Mesozoic Era (of ~200 million years ago) recorded 11- and 22-year cycles, which may be related to solar activity cycles, and that were statistically significant at the 95 % confidence level. The fossil wood was collected in the southern region of Brazil. Our analysis of the fossils' tree-ring width series power spectra showed characteristics similar to the modern araucaria tree, with a noticeable decadal periodicity. Assuming that the Earth's climate responds to solar variability and that responses did not vary significantly over the last ~200 million years, we conclude that the solar-climate connection was likely present during the Mesozoic era.

  7. Fossil Fuels.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crank, Ron

    This instructional unit is one of 10 developed by students on various energy-related areas that deals specifically with fossil fuels. Some topics covered are historic facts, development of fuels, history of oil production, current and future trends of the oil industry, refining fossil fuels, and environmental problems. Material in each unit may…

  8. Ediacara Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science Teacher, 2005

    2005-01-01

    Now, a research team from Virginia Tech and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology has discovered uniquely well-preserved fossil forms from 550-million-year-old rocks of the Ediacaran Period. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery of these unusually preserved fossils reveals unprecedented…

  9. Calcium-phosphate biomineralization induced by alkaline phosphatase activity in Escherichia coli: localization, kinetics and potential signatures in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cosmidis, Julie; Benzerara, Karim; Guyot, François; Skouri-Panet, Fériel; Duprat, Elodie; Férard, Céline; Guigner, Jean-Michel; Babonneau, Florence; Coelho, Cristina

    2015-12-01

    Bacteria are thought to play an important role in the formation of calcium-phosphate minerals composing marine phosphorites, as supported by the common occurrence of fossil microbes in these rocks. Phosphatase enzymes may play a key role in this process. Indeed, they may increase the supersaturation with respect to Ca-phosphates by releasing orthophosphate ions following hydrolysis of organic phosphorus. However, several questions remain unanswered about the cellular-level mechanisms involved in this model, and its potential signatures in the mineral products. We studied Ca-phosphate precipitation by different strains of Escherichia coli which were genetically modified to differ in the abundance and cellular localization of the alkaline phosphatase (PHO A) produced. The mineral precipitated by either E. coli or purified PHO A was invariably identified as a carbonate-free non-stoichiometric hydroxyapatite. However, the bacterial precipitates could be discriminated from the ones formed by purified PHO A at the nano-scale. PHO A localization was shown to influence the pattern of Ca-phosphate nucleation and growth. Finally, the rate of calcification was proved to be consistent with the PHO A enzyme kinetics. Overall, this study provides mechanistic keys to better understand phosphogenesis in the environment, and experimental references to better interpret the microbial fossil record in phosphorites.

  10. Temporal trends in West Antarctic surface mass balance: do large scale modes of climate contribute to observed records?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carpenter, M.; Rupper, S.; Williams, J.; Burgener, L. K.; Koenig, L.; Forster, R. R.; Koutnik, M. R.; Skinner, R.; Miege, C.; Brucker, L.

    2013-12-01

    Western Antarctica has been warming significantly at a rate of 0.17× 0.06 degrees C per decade from 1957 to 2006, with the strongest warming in the winter and spring months. Annual accumulation rates in the central WAIS have been decreasing over the same time period, in spite of rising temperatures. This is somewhat unexpected, as saturation vapor pressure increases with increasing temperature. One possible explanation of this observation could be related to synoptic-scale modes of climate, principally the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). These modes of climate are known to modify the track and strength of storms seasonally, but the true extent of the influence of these modes on accumulation in central WAIS is not well known. This is due, in part, to sparse instrumental weather data which makes it difficult to understand the spatial and temporal variability of the central WAIS Surface Mass Balance (SMB). Firn cores provide an excellent temporal SMB record that can fill this data gap, but are spatially limited. The spatial limitation of individual cores can be remedied by creating a network of firn cores over a region, which overcomes small scale variability and provides a regional representation of SMB over the temporal length of the firn core records. The 2011 Satellite Era Accumulation Traverse (SEAT) adds nine new firn cores (20 m deep, spanning 2010-1981) to existing cores within the same region of the central WAIS to improve the spatial network of regional SMB measurements. SMB is reconstructed from the firn cores, and are compared to simulated accumulation from five climate models and reanalyses datasets. The combination of firn cores and simulated records are used to investigate wether SAM and ENSO significantly influence SMB in the central WAIS. The new suite of cores show a statistically significant negative trend in accumulation during the past three decades, which is consistent with results from the previous cores

  11. A Prejudiced Review of Ancient Parasites and Their Host Echinoderms: CSI Fossil Record or Just an Excuse for Speculation?

    PubMed

    Donovan, Stephen K

    2015-01-01

    Recognizing the presence of a parasite and identifying it is a relatively straightforward task for the twenty-first century parasitologist. Not so the pursuit of ancient parasites in fossil organisms, a much more difficult proposition. Herein, Boucot's seven-tiered scheme of reliability classes is applied as a measure of confidence of the recognition of putative parasitism in two echinoderm classes, Upper Palaeozoic crinoids and a Cretaceous echinoid (high confidence is 1, low confidence 7). Of the five examples, the parasitic(?) organism is preserved in only two of them. A zaphrentoid coral on the camerate crinoid Amphoracrinus may have robbed food from the arms (Category 1 or 2B). A pit in what appears to be a carefully selected site on the disparid crinoid Synbathocrinus is associated with a growth deformity of the cup (Category 4). Multiple pits in an Amphoracrinus theca are also associated with a deformed cup, but it is more difficult to interpret (Category 4 or 7). Some specimens of the camerate crinoid Neoplatycrinites have circular grooves or depressions posteriorly, presumably produced by coprophagic/parasitic platyceratid gastropods (Category 1). Site selectivity of pits in the echinoid Hemipneustes places them preferentially adjacent to respiratory tube feet (Category 4). From these examples it is deduced that sparse infestations of borings or epizoozoic organisms permit a more confident interpretation of organism/organism interactions; dense accumulations, possibly following multiple spatfalls, mask such patterns. PMID:26597070

  12. Plant and insect fossils at Norwood in south-central Minnesota: A record of late-glacial succession*1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashworth, Allan C.; Schwert, Donald P.; Watts, William A.; Wright, H. E.

    1981-07-01

    The Norwood site in Sibley Co., Minnesota, contains 1.6 m of silt resting on till and overlain by peat. The base of the peat has been radiocarbon dated at 12,400 ± 60 and the top at 11,200 ± 250 yr B.P. The pollen, plant macrofossils, and insect remains in the basal silt consist of boreal species inhabiting open environments, but not tundra. No modern analogue exists for the insect assemblage, which includes elements of boreal forest, tundra-forest, and western affinities. The transition from an unstable open environment to a stable coniferous forest is reflected by both plant and insect fossils and is interpreted as a successional rather than a climatic event. During this time of significant biologic change, the climate is inferred to have been relatively uniform, with temperatures similar to those presently existing in the boreal forest south of the tundra-forest transition zone. The geologic and ecologic succession at Norwood is generally similar to that presently associated with ice stagnation of the Klutlan Glacier in the Yukon Territory. Localized successional sequences similar to those at Norwood are conceived to have occurred repeatedly during the melting of the Laurentide ice, and thus the proposed model has potentially broad application to the interpretation of late-glacial sequences.

  13. Osteological associations with unique tooth development in manatees (Trichechidae, Sirenia): a detailed look at modern Trichechus and a review of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Beatty, Brian Lee; Vitkovski, Taisia; Lambert, Olivier; Macrini, Thomas E

    2012-09-01

    Modern manatees have a unique type of tooth development, continually forming identical new molars in the posterior end of each quadrant of their mouths, and then progressively moving teeth anteriorly, only to reabsorb roots and spit out worn crowns. This process is not only developmentally complex, but requires space in the oral cavity that imposes its own limitations on other uses of that space. To gain a clearer understanding of the anatomical constraints on the evolution of this unique developmental process, we identified the specialized craniodental features in modern Trichechus that permit this specialization using visual observation and CT. Furthermore, to better understand the evolution of these traits, we review the fossil record of trichechids for these traits, including CT analysis of the skull of Miosiren kocki, a possible early member of the family from the Early Miocene of Belgium.

  14. Osteological associations with unique tooth development in manatees (Trichechidae, Sirenia): a detailed look at modern Trichechus and a review of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Beatty, Brian Lee; Vitkovski, Taisia; Lambert, Olivier; Macrini, Thomas E

    2012-09-01

    Modern manatees have a unique type of tooth development, continually forming identical new molars in the posterior end of each quadrant of their mouths, and then progressively moving teeth anteriorly, only to reabsorb roots and spit out worn crowns. This process is not only developmentally complex, but requires space in the oral cavity that imposes its own limitations on other uses of that space. To gain a clearer understanding of the anatomical constraints on the evolution of this unique developmental process, we identified the specialized craniodental features in modern Trichechus that permit this specialization using visual observation and CT. Furthermore, to better understand the evolution of these traits, we review the fossil record of trichechids for these traits, including CT analysis of the skull of Miosiren kocki, a possible early member of the family from the Early Miocene of Belgium. PMID:22777871

  15. Antarctic science

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Summerhayes, Colin

    Once upon a time, dinosaurs roamed Antarctica and swam in its seas. Since then, life evolved as the climate cooled into the ice ages. Life will no doubt continue to evolve there as the globe now warms. But nowadays, humans are having a profound and direct effect on life in Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic islands, and the surrounding Southern Ocean, which are being invaded by a wide range of alien species including microbes, algae, fungi, bryophytes, land plants, invertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals.

  16. Antarctic Genomics

    PubMed Central

    Clarke, Andrew; Cockell, Charles S.; Convey, Peter; Detrich III, H. William; Fraser, Keiron P. P.; Johnston, Ian A.; Methe, Barbara A.; Murray, Alison E.; Peck, Lloyd S.; Römisch, Karin; Rogers, Alex D.

    2004-01-01

    With the development of genomic science and its battery of technologies, polar biology stands on the threshold of a revolution, one that will enable the investigation of important questions of unprecedented scope and with extraordinary depth and precision. The exotic organisms of polar ecosystems are ideal candidates for genomic analysis. Through such analyses, it will be possible to learn not only the novel features that enable polar organisms to survive, and indeed thrive, in their extreme environments, but also fundamental biological principles that are common to most, if not all, organisms. This article aims to review recent developments in Antarctic genomics and to demonstrate the global context of such studies. PMID:18629155

  17. Long-Term Record of Arctic and Antarctic Sea and Ice Surface Temperatures from Thermal Infrared Satellite Sensors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luis, Cristina; Dybkjær, Gorm; Eastwood, Steinar; Tonboe, Rasmus; Høyer, Jacob

    2015-04-01

    Surface temperature is among the most important variables in the surface energy balance equation and it significantly affects the atmospheric boundary layer structure, the turbulent heat exchange and, over ice, the ice growth rate. Here we measure the surface temperature using thermal infrared sensors from 10-12 µm wavelength, a method whose primary limitation over sea ice is the detection of clouds. However, in the Arctic and around Antarctica there are very few conventional observations of surface temperature from buoys, and it is sometimes difficult to determine if the temperature is measured at the surface or within the snowpack, the latter of which often results in a warm bias. To reduce this bias, much interest is being paid to alternative remote sensing methods for monitoring high latitude surface temperature. We used Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) global area coverage (GAC) data to produce a high latitude sea surface temperature (SST), ice surface temperature (IST) and ice cap skin temperature dataset spanning 27 years (1982-2009). This long-term climate record is the first of its kind for IST. In this project we used brightness temperatures from the infrared channels of AVHRR sensors aboard NOAA and Metop polar-orbiting satellites. Surface temperatures were calculated using separate split window algorithms for day SST, night SST, and IST. The snow surface emissivity across all angles of the swath were simulated specifically for all sensors using an emission model. Additionally, all algorithms were tuned to the Arctic using simulated brightness temperatures from a radiative transfer model with atmospheric profiles and skin temperatures from European Centre for Medium-Range Forecasts (ECMWF) re-analysis data (ERA-Interim). Here we present the results of product quality as compared to in situ measurements from buoys and infrared radiometers, as well as a preliminary analysis of climate trends revealed by the record.

  18. Parasites in the Fossil Record: A Cretaceous Fauna with Isopod-Infested Decapod Crustaceans, Infestation Patterns through Time, and a New Ichnotaxon

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.; Artal, Pedro; van Bakel, Barry W. M.; Fraaije, René H. B.; Jagt, John W. M.

    2014-01-01

    Parasites are common in modern ecosystems and are also known from the fossil record. One of the best preserved and easily recognisable examples of parasitism in the fossil record concerns isopod-induced swellings in the branchial chamber of marine decapod crustaceans. However, very limited quantitative data on the variability of infestation percentages at the species, genus, and family levels are available. Here we provide this type of data for a mid-Cretaceous (upper Lower Cretaceous, upper Albian) reef setting at Koskobilo, northern Spain, on the basis of 874 specimens of anomurans and brachyurans. Thirty-seven specimens (4.2%), arranged in ten species, are infested. Anomurans are more heavily infested than brachyurans, variability can be high within genera, and a relationship may exist between the number of specimens and infestation percentage per taxon, possibly suggesting host-specificity. We have also investigated quantitative patterns of infestation through geological time based on 88 infested species (25 anomurans, 55 brachyurans, seven lobsters, and one shrimp), to show that the highest number of infested species can be found in the Late Jurassic, also when corrected for the unequal duration of epochs. The same Late Jurassic peak is observed for the percentage of infested decapod species per epoch. This acme is caused entirely by infested anomurans and brachyurans. Biases (taphonomic and otherwise) and causes of variability with regard to the Koskobilo assemblage and infestation patterns through time are discussed. Finally, a new ichnogenus and -species, Kanthyloma crusta, are erected to accommodate such swellings or embedment structures (bioclaustrations). PMID:24667587

  19. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6-4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, Ian M.; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Anderson, R. Scott; Johnson, Kirk R.; Mahan, Shannon; Ager, Thomas A.; Baker, Richard G.; Blaauw, Maarten; Bright, Jordon; Brown, Peter M.; Bryant, Bruce; Calamari, Zachary T.; Carrara, Paul E.; Michael D., Cherney; Demboski, John R.; Elias, Scott A.; Fisher, Daniel C.; Gray, Harrison J.; Haskett, Danielle R.; Honke, Jeffrey S.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Jiménez-Moreno, Gonzalo; Kline, Douglas; Leonard, Eric M.; Lifton, Nathaniel A.; Lucking, Carol; McDonald, H. Gregory; Miller, Dane M.; Muhs, Daniel R.; Nash, Stephen E.; Newton, Cody; Paces, James B.; Petrie, Lesley; Plummer, Mitchell A.; Porinchu, David F.; Rountrey, Adam N.; Scott, Eric; Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Sharpe, Saxon E.; Skipp, Gary L.; Strickland, Laura E.; Stucky, Richard K.; Thompson, Robert S.; Wilson, Jim

    2014-01-01

    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~ 140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.

  20. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6–4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    SciTech Connect

    Ian M. Miller; Mitchell A. Plummer; Various Others

    2014-10-01

    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5

  1. First record of massive blooming of benthic diatoms and their association with megabenthic filter feeders on the shallow seafloor of an Antarctic Fjord: Does glacier melting fuel the bloom?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahn, In-Young; Moon, Hye-Won; Jeon, Misa; Kang, Sung-Ho

    2016-03-01

    We report a conspicuous benthic diatom bloom on an Antarctic fjord shallow seafloor, which has not been reported elsewhere in Antarctica. A thick and massive growth of benthic diatoms was covering or being entangled with a variety of common benthic megafauna such as stalked ascidians, sponges, tubedwelling polychaetes, gastropods, bryozoans, and others. This finding is an outcome of recent investigations on benthic communities in Marian Cove, King George Island, where glacier retreat has been proceeding quickly for the past several decades. Dominance of benthic diatoms during the austral summer has been frequently reported in shallow Antarctic nearshore waters, which in turn indicates their potential as a primary food item for secondary producers living in this harsh environment. However, previous blooming records of the benthic diatoms were primarily based on data from water column samples. We are the first to report observational evidence of shallow seafloor substrates, including the massive blooming of benthic diatoms and their associations with common benthic megafauna in an Antarctic fjord.

  2. JCADM, new directions in Antarctic data management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campbell, H.; de Bruin, T. F.

    2008-12-01

    The Joint Committee on Antarctic Data Management (JCADM) was established by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), to assist in the fulfilment of the data management obligations imposed by the Antarctic Treaty (section III.1.c): "Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available." JCADM comprises representatives of the National Antarctic Data Centres or national points of contact. Currently 31 nations around the world are represented in JCADM. So far, JCADM has been focussing on the coordination of the Antarctic Master Directory (AMD), the internationally accessible, web-based, searchable record of Antarctic and Southern Ocean data set descriptions. The AMD is directly integrated into the international Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) to help further merge Antarctic science into global science. The AMD is a resource for scientists to advertise the data they have collected and to search for data they may need. Currently, JCADM is in a transition phase, moving forward to provide data access. Existing systems and web services technology will be used as much as possible, to increase efficiency and prevent 're-inventing the wheel' This poster will give an overview of this process, the current status and the expected results.

  3. The extinct river shark Glyphis pagoda from the Miocene of Myanmar and a review of the fossil record of the genus Glyphis (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae).

    PubMed

    Shimada, Kenshu; Egi, Naoko; Tsubamoto, Takehisa; Maung-Maung, Maung-Maung; Thaung-Htike, Thaung-Htike; Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein, Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein; Nishioka, Yuichiro; Sonoda, Teppei; Takai, Masanaru

    2016-01-01

    We redescribe an extinct river shark, Glyphis pagoda (Noetling), on the basis of 20 teeth newly collected from three different Miocene localities in Myanmar. One locality is a nearshore marine deposit (Obogon Formation) whereas the other two localities represent terrestrial freshwater deposits (Irrawaddy sediments), suggesting that G. pagoda from the Irrawaddy sediments was capable of tolerating low salinity like the extant Glyphis. Glyphis pagoda likely reached up to at least 185 cm in total body length and was probably piscivorous. The fossil species occurs in rocks of Myanmar and eastern and western India and stratigraphically ranges at least from the Lower Miocene (Aquitanian) to the lower Upper Miocene (mid-Tortonian). It has been classified under at least eight other genera to date, along with numerous taxonomic synonyms largely stemming from the lack of understanding of the heterodonty in extant Glyphis in the original description. Our literature review suggests that known Miocene shark faunas, particularly those in India, are manifested with unreliable taxonomic identifications and outdated classifications that warrant the need for a comprehensive taxonomic review in order to evaluate the evolutionary history and diversity pattern of Miocene shark faunas. The genus Glyphis has a roughly 23-million-year-long history, and its success may be related to the evolution of its low salinity tolerance. While extant Glyphis spp. are considered to be particularly vulnerable to habitat degradation and overfishing, the fossil record of G. pagoda provides renewed perspective on the natural history of the genus that can be taken into further consideration for conservation biology of the extant forms. PMID:27615926

  4. The extinct river shark Glyphis pagoda from the Miocene of Myanmar and a review of the fossil record of the genus Glyphis (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae).

    PubMed

    Shimada, Kenshu; Egi, Naoko; Tsubamoto, Takehisa; Maung-Maung, Maung-Maung; Thaung-Htike, Thaung-Htike; Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein, Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein; Nishioka, Yuichiro; Sonoda, Teppei; Takai, Masanaru

    2016-09-05

    We redescribe an extinct river shark, Glyphis pagoda (Noetling), on the basis of 20 teeth newly collected from three different Miocene localities in Myanmar. One locality is a nearshore marine deposit (Obogon Formation) whereas the other two localities represent terrestrial freshwater deposits (Irrawaddy sediments), suggesting that G. pagoda from the Irrawaddy sediments was capable of tolerating low salinity like the extant Glyphis. Glyphis pagoda likely reached up to at least 185 cm in total body length and was probably piscivorous. The fossil species occurs in rocks of Myanmar and eastern and western India and stratigraphically ranges at least from the Lower Miocene (Aquitanian) to the lower Upper Miocene (mid-Tortonian). It has been classified under at least eight other genera to date, along with numerous taxonomic synonyms largely stemming from the lack of understanding of the heterodonty in extant Glyphis in the original description. Our literature review suggests that known Miocene shark faunas, particularly those in India, are manifested with unreliable taxonomic identifications and outdated classifications that warrant the need for a comprehensive taxonomic review in order to evaluate the evolutionary history and diversity pattern of Miocene shark faunas. The genus Glyphis has a roughly 23-million-year-long history, and its success may be related to the evolution of its low salinity tolerance. While extant Glyphis spp. are considered to be particularly vulnerable to habitat degradation and overfishing, the fossil record of G. pagoda provides renewed perspective on the natural history of the genus that can be taken into further consideration for conservation biology of the extant forms.

  5. New records of larval stages of the eel cod genus Muraenolepis Günther 1880 (Gadiformes: Muraenolepididae) from the western Antarctic Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Konstantinidis, P; Hilton, E J; Matarese, A C

    2016-08-01

    Three newly discovered larval specimens of the genus Muraenolepis collected from the waters of the western Antarctic Peninsula are described. Knowledge of their natural history is sparse and information about their early life history is based on only a few larval stages. Here, the available literature on larval eel cods is reviewed, and the specimens placed in context. PMID:27354338

  6. Fossilization of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, Paul G.; Briggs, Derek E. G.

    1995-09-01

    Scanning electron microscopy of feathers has revealed evidence that a bacterial glycocalyx (a network of exocellular polysaccharide fibers) played a role in promoting their fossilization in some cases. This mode of preservation has not been reported in other soft tissues. The majority of fossil feathers are preserved as carbonized traces. More rarely, bacteria on the surface are replicated by authigenic minerals (bacterial autolithification). The feathers of Archaeopteryx are preserved mainly by imprintation following early lithification of the substrate and decay of the feather. Lacustrine settings provide the most important taphonomic window for feather preservation. Preservation in terrestrial and normal-marine settings involves very different processes (in amber and in authigenically mineralized coprolites, respectively). Therefore, there may be a significant bias in the avian fossil record in favor of inland water habitats.

  7. Magnetic Properties of Sediments from IODP Expedition 311 - Cascadia Margin Gas Hydrates: Records of Fossil Sulphate Methane Interface?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Enkin, R. J.; Baker, J.; Esteban, L.; Mullin, A. J.; Paterson, B.; Hamilton, T. S.; Michael, R.

    2006-12-01

    interpret type-B samples to hold iron sulphides produced diagenetically from iron oxides within the sediments at the sulphate-methane interface. We hypothesize that the two magnetic behaviors record a stratigraphic and geochemical interplay between the sedimentation rate and changes in methane flux, sulphate reduction and the gas hydrate stability field with time.

  8. Correlation of Plio Pleistocene Tephra in Ethiopian and Kenyan rift basins: Temporal calibration of geological features and hominid fossil records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    WoldeGabriel, Giday; Hart, William K.; Katoh, Shigehiro; Beyene, Yonas; Suwa, Gen

    2005-10-01

    The 200-m-thick fossiliferous Konso Formation and overlying terrace deposits, which crop out at the end of the southern sector of the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER), contain more than 30 distal tephra layers. Local and regional tephra correlations of more than 20 tephra units were established using major and trace element data of discrete and purified bulk glass samples within the Konso study area. Eleven correlative marker tuffs were recognized in stratigraphic sections of both the Konso Formation and the Omo-Turkana Basin sediments in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The Turoha, Hope, Ivory, Bright White, and Boleshe Tuffs in the Konso Formation, and the Upper White Tuff in the overlying terrace deposits are securely correlated with the KBS, Akait, Lokapetamoi, Chari, Lower Nariokotome, and Silbo Tuffs of the Omo-Turkana Basin, using least mobile major elements (CaO, Fe 2O 3*, and TiO 2) and geochronology. Preliminary correlations are also suggested between the Konso Formation distal tephra and proximal units of the Quaternary caldera-forming silicic centers in the central sector of the MER. The strongly peralkaline tuffs of the Konso Formation are compositionally similar to proximal eruptions mostly located along the Quaternary axial rift zone of the southern, central, and northern sectors of the MER. The tephra correlation provides information about the temporal and spatial features of the volcanic and tectonic processes recorded in the evolving basins. Thickness and sedimentation rate were determined for both the Konso Formation and the Omo-Turkana Basin sections, measured between the Turoha (=KBS; 1.91 ± 0.03 Ma) and the Bright White (=Chari; 1.40 ± 0.02 Ma) Tuffs. Although the lithostratigraphic sequence at the Konso study area is younger, sedimentation rate within the Konso Formation was comparable to that of the Koobi Fora Formation, higher in the Nachukui Formation, and lower in the Shungura Formation. Local and regional differences in thickness and

  9. Antarctic black carbon tracks Southern Hemisphere climate throughout the Holocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arienzo, M. M.; McConnell, J.

    2015-12-01

    Biomass-burning and fossil-fuel combustion emit black carbon (BC) aerosols which impact climate directly by changing Earth's radiation budget and indirectly by changing cloud formation and reducing albedo when deposited on bright surfaces such as snow and ice. BC aerosols have been shown to be the second most important anthropogenic climate-forcing agent today, after carbon dioxide. However, on longer timescales, knowledge of natural variations in BC emissions and climate drivers of regional-scale biomass burning is limited. Here we present the first high-resolution 14,000-year record of BC aerosol deposition in Antarctica. The two ice cores analyzed were the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WD) core from 14,000 years before 1950 (yr BP) to 2,475 yr BP and the East Antarctic B40 core from 2,485 yr BP to present. BC and a wide range of trace elements were analyzed via a continuous melter system allowing for sub-annual resolution in both cores. For BC concentration determinations, a Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2; Droplet Measurement Technologies) was used. BC fluxes in the WD and B40 Holocene composite more than doubled from <25 μg m-2 yr-1 at the end of the last glacial termination (14 kyr BP) to >50 μg m-2 yr-1 in the mid-Holocene (~7.5 kyr BP), and then declined to <20 μg m-2 yr-1 in the late Holocene, with lowest BC fluxes observed during the Little Ice Age. We compare Antarctic BC fluxes to low-latitude paleoclimate proxies to investigate a potential link between low latitude climate, biomass burning and BC emissions.

  10. Molecular phylogeny of acantharian and polycystine radiolarians based on ribosomal DNA sequences, and some comparisons with data from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kunitomo, Yoshiki; Sarashina, Isao; Iijima, Minoru; Endo, Kazuyoshi; Sashida, Katsuo

    2006-07-01

    Polycystines (spumellarians, nassellarians, and collodarians), phaeodarians, and acantharians are marine planktonic protists that have been conventionally and collectively called "radiolaria". Recent molecular phylogenetic studies revealed radiolarian polyphyly with phaeodarians being a separate offshoot. Collodarians and nassellarians are also shown to form a monophyletic group, but other aspects of radiolarian phylogeny, such as interrelations among polycystines and acantharians, remained uncertain. Here, we present molecular phylogenetic analyses including new ribosomal RNA sequences from ten spumellarians and nine nassellarians, based on Bayesian and maximum-likelihood methods. Results indicate that the Polycystinea is a paraphyletic group, with Bayesian analysis suggesting that spumellarians form a clade with acantharians. The heliozoan-like protist Sticholonche appears as a sister to the spumellarian clade. The nassellarian Eucyrtidium is located outside the clade including the other nassellarians and collodarians. The mineralogy of the test of extant radiolarians and the tree topology obtained in this work suggest that acantharians and spumellarians evolved from an ancestor with a siliceous skeleton. Collodarians and nassellarians form a well-supported clade and one might infer from the fossil record that they may have diverged between the Jurassic and the Eocene.

  11. Middle Pleistocene Climate Change Recorded in Fossil Mammal Teeth from Tarija, Bolivia, and Upper Limit of the Ensenadan Land-Mammal Age

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    2000-07-01

    Fossiliferous middle Pleistocene sediments of the Tarija basin of southern Bolivia contain a classic Ensenadan land-mammal fauna. New carbon isotopic data reported here for 50 specimens of the grazing mammals Equus (horse) and Cuvieronius (mastodon), documented from eight stratigraphic levels at Tarija, vary significantly in the δ13C values of their teeth. The pattern of variation appears to reflect the proportion of C3 and C4 grasses eaten during colder (more C3) and warmer (more C4) times. Within age limits set by associated magnetostratigraphy, the cold periods can be correlated with particular even-numbered stages in the marine oxygen-isotope record, and the warm periods can be correlated with odd-numbered stages. The oldest fossil teeth analyzed from the Tarija section can thereby be assigned to stage 29, and the youngest to stages 17 or 15, that is; the teeth range in age from about 1.1 myr to as young as 0.7 myr. Based on correlation of the upper part of the Tarija beds to the isotopic stages, the upper limit of the Ensenadan land-mammal age is between 0.7 and 0.6 myr, which is younger than stated in most previous studies.

  12. The SCAR Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management - new directions in access to Antarctic research data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Bruin, T.

    2009-04-01

    The SCAR Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management (SC-ADM) was established by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), to assist in the fulfillment of the data management obligations imposed by the Antarctic Treaty (section III.1.c): "Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available." SC-ADM comprises representatives of the National Antarctic Data Centres or national points of contact. Currently 31 nations around the world are represented in SC-ADM. So far, SC-ADM has been focussing on the coordination of the Antarctic Master Directory (AMD), the internationally accessible, web-based, searchable record of Antarctic and Southern Ocean data set descriptions. The AMD is directly integrated into the international Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) to help further merge Antarctic science into global science. The AMD is a resource for scientists to advertise the data they have collected and to search for data they may need. Currently, SC-ADM is in a transition phase, moving forward to provide data access. Existing systems and web services technology will be used as much as possible, to increase efficiency and prevent 're-inventing the wheel' This poster will give an overview of this process, the current status and the expected results.

  13. Antarctic Data Management as Part of the IPY Legacy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Bruin, T.

    2006-12-01

    The Antarctic Treaty states that "scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available". Antarctica includes the Southern Ocean. In support of this, National Antarctic Data Centres (NADC) are being established to catalogue data sets and to provide information on data sets to scientists and others with interest in Antarctic science. The Joint Committee on Antarctic Data Management (JCADM) was established by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP). JCADM comprises representatives of the National Antarctic Data Centres. Currently 30 nations around the world are represented in JCADM. JCADM is responsible for the Antarctic Master Directory (AMD), the internationally accessible, web-based, searchable record of Antarctic and Southern Ocean data set descriptions. The AMD is directly integrated into the international Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) to help further merge Antarctic science into global science. The AMD is a resource for scientists to advertise the data they have collected and to search for data they may need. JCADM is the Antarctic component of the IPY Data Infrastructure, which is presently being developed. This presentation will give an overview of the organization of Antarctic and Southern Ocean data management with sections on the organizational structure of JCADM, contents of the Antarctic Master Directory, relationships to the SCAR Scientific Research Programmes (SRP) and IPY, international embedding and connections with discipline-based peer organizations like the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange Committee (IODE). It will focus primarily on the role that an existing infrastructure as JCADM, may play in the development of the IPY Data Infrastructure and will provide considerations for IPY data management, based on the experiences in Antarctic and oceanographic data management.

  14. Telemedicine in the British Antarctic survey.

    PubMed

    Grant, Iain C

    2004-12-01

    Medicine in the Antarctic is probably the most isolated situation in which a doctor can practise, differing in degree of severity even from that of the Arctic region. The increasing use of Telemedicine has helped to reduce this isolation and to improve access to secondary healthcare for those who live in the most remote bases in the world. The article describes the way in which Antarctic Telemedicine has evolved in the British Antarctic survey, outlining the use of low cost and low technology systems to improve the availability of emergency advice, both to the doctor and to isolated field parties, specialist consultation, medical education, and healthcare records. The Antarctic is a useful proving ground for technologies which may have applications in space and other extreme and isolated environments.

  15. Darwin's Enigma: The Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sunderland, Luther D.

    In December of 1978 the New York State Board of Regents ordered the New York State Education Department to conduct a detailed study of the way in which the subject of origins should be treated in a revised version of the Regents Biology Syllabus. The author was invited to supply scientific information to the Bureau of Science Education, which was…

  16. Main pathways in the evolution of the Paleogene Antarctic Sphenisciformes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Acosta Hospitaleche, Carolina; Reguero, Marcelo; Scarano, Alejo

    2013-04-01

    The Seymour Island fossil penguins from the Cross Valley and La Meseta Formations, Seymour Island (James Ross Basin; late Paleocene, and Eocene/?early Oligocene respectively) constitute the most complete stratigraphic records of the group known in the world. In addition to the geographic and stratigraphic thoroughness of the collected fossil remains, they offer a unique opportunity to the understanding of the major evolutionary patterns of the Sphenisciformes. We analyze their taxonomic diversity and abundance in La Meseta Formation, in a context of the spread patterns of the Paleogene penguins in relationship to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current incidence. Our data suggest that the highest diversity and geographical distribution (Antarctica, South America and Australasia) in the Late Eocene were linked to water-cooling events and the opening of the Drake Passage. However, the first divergence of the group is documented in the Early Eocene. This fact supports that a marine dispersion of the Weddellian penguins to other continents occurs when there was a shallow and warm ocean current circulation (Weddellian Current) flowing along the western margin of West Antarctica and South America The phylogenetic analysis and the recent discoveries in the Eocene of Chile and Peru support the hypothesis that establishes one of the way for the dispersion of the Weddellian species from the Peninsula Antarctica was the Pacific coast during the early Eocene.

  17. A rich fossil record yields calibrated phylogeny for Acanthaceae (Lamiales) and evidence for marked biases in timing and directionality of intercontinental disjunctions.

    PubMed

    Tripp, Erin A; McDade, Lucinda A

    2014-09-01

    More than a decade of phylogenetic research has yielded a well-sampled, strongly supported hypothesis of relationships within the large ( > 4000 species) plant family Acanthaceae. This hypothesis points to intriguing biogeographic patterns and asymmetries in sister clade diversity but, absent a time-calibrated estimate for this evolutionary history, these patterns have remained unexplored. Here, we reconstruct divergence times within Acanthaceae using fossils as calibration points and experimenting with both fossil selection and effects of invoking a maximum age prior related to the origin of Eudicots. Contrary to earlier reports of a paucity of fossils of Lamiales (an order of ∼ 23,000 species that includes Acanthaceae) and to the expectation that a largely herbaceous to soft-wooded and tropical lineage would have few fossils, we recovered 51 reports of fossil Acanthaceae. Rigorous evaluation of these for accurate identification, quality of age assessment and utility in dating yielded eight fossils judged to merit inclusion in analyses. With nearly 10 kb of DNA sequence data, we used two sets of fossils as constraints to reconstruct divergence times. We demonstrate differences in age estimates depending on fossil selection and that enforcement of maximum age priors substantially alters estimated clade ages, especially in analyses that utilize a smaller rather than larger set of fossils. Our results suggest that long-distance dispersal events explain present-day distributions better than do Gondwanan or northern land bridge hypotheses. This biogeographical conclusion is for the most part robust to alternative calibration schemes. Our data support a minimum of 13 Old World (OW) to New World (NW) dispersal events but, intriguingly, only one in the reverse direction. Eleven of these 13 were among Acanthaceae s.s., which comprises > 90% of species diversity in the family. Remarkably, if minimum age estimates approximate true history, these 11 events occurred within

  18. Recognition of deep-water benthic assemblages in the fossil record: Taphonomy and community characteristics of Louisiana continental slope petroleum seep assemblages

    SciTech Connect

    Callender, W.R.

    1992-01-01

    Chemoautotrophic benthic assemblages associated with petroleum seepage form the only substantial shell accumulations below storm wave base on the northern Gulf of Mexico shelf and slope. Five biofacies are associated with petroleum seepage, dominated respectively by vestimentiferan tubeworms, lucinid, thyasirid and vesicomyid clams and mytilid mussels. The taphonomy of petroleum seep death assemblages includes dissolution as the most pervasive mode of shell alteration. The dominant species in each assemblage reflect the taphonomic signature of the assemblage they dominate. The taphonomic attributes of petroleum seep death assemblages are similar to those of ancient autochthonous benthic assemblages. Paleoecological characteristics representative of cold seep assemblages include: high density-low diversity molluscan assemblages dominated by large individuals, high molluscan biomass concentrations aligned in linear trends, carbons with depleted [delta][sup 13]C values associated with faunally depauperate shales, laminated or massive sedimentary structures, variable articulation frequencies, poor shell preservation, and a trophic structure dominated by one trophic group. The Campanian Tepee Buttes share many paleoecological characteristics with recognized ancient seep assemblages. Methane and hydrogen sulfide-rich fluids from underlying strata were transported along fault conduits to supply a localized nutrient source for lucinid-dominated benthic communities. The Tepee Butte assemblages were dominated by dense accumulations of Nymphalucina occidentalis with moderate to high articulation frequencies. The lucinids probably used H[sub 2]S as a nutrient source. Cold seeps can be recognized in the fossil record, based on criteria developed by the study of modern cold seep death assemblages, because the paleoecological characteristics of cold seep assemblages are very conservative.

  19. Distributional records of Ross Sea (Antarctica) Tanaidacea from museum samples stored in the collections of the Italian National Antarctic Museum (MNA) and the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)

    PubMed Central

    Piazza, Paola; Błażewicz-Paszkowycz, Magdalena; Ghiglione, Claudio; Alvaro, Maria Chiara; Schnabel, Kareen; Schiaparelli, Stefano

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Here we present distributional records for Tanaidacea specimens collected during several Antarctic expeditions to the Ross Sea: the Italian PNRA expeditions (“V”, 1989/1990; “XI”, 1995/1996; “XIV”, 1998/1999; “XIX”, 2003/2004; “XXV”, 2009/2010) and the New Zealand historical (New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, NZOI, 1958-1961) and recent (“TAN0402 BIOROSS” voyage, 2004 and “TAN0802 IPY-CAML Oceans Survey 20/20” voyage, 2008) expeditions. Tanaidaceans were obtained from bottom samples collected at depths ranging from 16 to 3543 m by using a variety of sampling gears. On the whole, this contribution reports distributional data for a total of 2953 individuals belonging to 33 genera and 50 species. All vouchers are permanently stored in the Italian National Antarctic Museum collection (MNA), Section of Genoa (Italy) and at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA Invertebrate Collection), Wellington (New Zealand). PMID:25493047

  20. A 50-years record of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethanes and hexachlorocyclohexanes in lake sediments and penguin droppings on King George Island, Maritime Antarctic.

    PubMed

    Sun, Li-guang; Yin, Xue-bin; Pan, Can-ping; Wang, Yu-hong

    2005-01-01

    Since the ban on the use of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) such as dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) and hexachlorocyclohexane(HCH) in agriculture, their levels have generally dropped. In a number of cases, however, the levels of these OCPs were found to be unchanging or even increasing after the ban. With the aim to unveil the possible causes of these exceptions, we collected two lake cores from King George Island, West Antarctica, and determined their accumulation flux profiles and temporal trends of these OCPs. In the lake core sediments with glacier meltwater input, the accumulation flux of DDT shows an abnormal peak around 1980s in addition to the expected one in 1960s. In the lake core sediments without glacier meltwater input, the accumulation flux of DDT shows a gradual decline trend after the peak in 1960s. This striking difference in the DDT flux profiles between the two lake cores is most likely caused by the regional climate warming and the resulted discharge of the DDT stored in the Antarctic ice cap into the lakes in the Antarctic glacier frontier. Furthermore, to investigate the change of OCPs loadings in the Antarctic coastal ecosystem, we reconstructed the HCH and DDT concentration profiles in penguin droppings and observed a gradual increase for the former and a continuous decrease for the latter during the past 50 years. The increase of HCH seems to be due to the regional warming from the early 1970s and the resulted HCH discharge to the coastal ecosystem by glaciers' meltwater and the illegal use of HCH in the Southern Hemisphere in the recent decade. Thedifferent temporal trends of HCH and DDT accumulation rate in the lake core with glacier meltwater input and the aged penguin droppings can be explained by their different water-soluble property.

  1. Mud fossils

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    1997-01-01

    At the close of the 18th century, the haze of fantasy and mysticism that tended to obscure the true nature of the Earth was being swept away. Careful studies by scientists showed that rocks had diverse origins. Some rock layers, containing clearly identifiable fossil remains of fish and other forms of aquatic animal and plant life, originally formed in the ocean. Other layers, consisting of sand grains winnowed clean by the pounding surf, obviously formed as beach deposits that marked the shorelines of ancient seas.

  2. The Antarctic ozone hole

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Molina, Mario J.

    1988-01-01

    Observations of Antarctic ozone levels and the discovery of a hole in the Antarctic region are examined. The effects of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) on the level of stratospheric ozone are analyzed. Three cycles explaining the cause of ozone depletion in the poles are proposed. A comparison of field data and proposed depletion cycles reveals that the chemical origin of the ozone hole is due to CFCs. The potential global effects of the Antarctic ozone hole are discussed.

  3. The largest fossil rodent

    PubMed Central

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R. Ernesto

    2008-01-01

    The discovery of an exceptionally well-preserved skull permits the description of the new South American fossil species of the rodent, Josephoartigasia monesi sp. nov. (family: Dinomyidae; Rodentia: Hystricognathi: Caviomorpha). This species with estimated body mass of nearly 1000 kg is the largest yet recorded. The skull sheds new light on the anatomy of the extinct giant rodents of the Dinomyidae, which are known mostly from isolated teeth and incomplete mandible remains. The fossil derives from San José Formation, Uruguay, usually assigned to the Pliocene–Pleistocene (4–2 Myr ago), and the proposed palaeoenvironment where this rodent lived was characterized as an estuarine or deltaic system with forest communities. PMID:18198140

  4. Experimental growth pattern calibration of Antarctic bivalves shells to provide a biogenic archive of long-term high-resolution records of environmental and climatic change.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lartaud, F.; Toulot, A.; Paulet, Y. M.

    2009-04-01

    Mollusc shells are used as an archive of climate variability in polar areas. The geochemistry (isotope and trace element) of the mineralized tissues is sensitive to the seawater physico-chemical changes (temperature, salinity, primary production …) and the accretionary growth of the shells provide intra-annual to centennial information. However, a serious age and growth profile calibration is necessary to establish a chronological time scale in the micro-sampling strategy. This kind of investigation on biogenic carbonates from Polar Regions suffers to the difficulties of a precise field-based standardization and validation. That's why ecology and shell growth history of many molluscs from those areas still remain unknown. In Boreal seas, bivalve metabolic activity is usually more reduced than in tropical or temperate domains, and the life span increase. For example, growth bands counting in the shells of the ocean Quahog (Arctica islandica) reveals that some of these shells are up to 250 years old (Wanamaker et al., 2008). Nevertheless in those environments, few species have highly defined growth increments calibration. The shell growth of the Antarctic scallop Adamussium colbecki is presently not well defined. Some authors attribute a growth rate close to the temperate equivalent species (Heilmayer et al., 2003) whereas others show a lower performance (Berkman et al., 2004). During the MACARBI program, to investigate the shell growth rate and determine a sclerochronologic profile, Adamussium colbecki and Laternula elliptica shells from Terre Adélie (Antarctic) were marked in situ with calcein during 6 hours and recapture a month later, in the austral summer 2007-2008. At the same time, a control of environmental conditions (temperature, salinity and chlorophyll) was carried out. All shells marked provide a distinct green fluorescent line, corresponding to the date of the marking. Calcein marking did not affect survivorship or growth of A. colbecki and L

  5. Sulfur isotope budget (32S, 33S, 34S and 36S) in Pacific-Antarctic ridge basalts: A record of mantle source heterogeneity and hydrothermal sulfide assimilation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Labidi, J.; Cartigny, P.; Hamelin, C.; Moreira, M.; Dosso, L.

    2014-05-01

    To better address how Mid-Ocean Ridge Basalt (MORB) sulfur isotope composition can be modified by assimilation and/or by immiscible sulfide fractionation, we report sulfur (S), chlorine (Cl) and copper (Cu) abundances together with multiple sulfur isotope composition for 38 fresh basaltic glasses collected on the Pacific-Antarctic ridge. All the studied glasses - with the exception of 8 off-axis samples - exhibit relatively high Cl/K, as the result of pervasive Cl-rich fluid assimilation. This sample set hence offers an opportunity to document both the upper mantle S isotope composition and the effect of hydrothermal fluids assimilation on the S isotope composition of erupted basalts along segments that are devoid of plume influence.

  6. Biomineralization and biosignatures of coralloid-type speleothems from lava tubes of Galapagos Islands: evidences on the fossil record of prokaryotes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Ana Z.; Garcia-Sanchez, Angela M.; Pereira, Manuel F. C.; Gazquez, Fernando; Calaforra, José M.; Forti, Paolo; Toulkeridis, Theofilos; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Saiz-Jimenez, Cesareo

    2016-04-01

    , whereas the final stage mainly consists of low crystalline calcite. FESEM-EDS analysis revealed mineralized bacterial filaments rich in Si on the coralloid samples, as well as minerals precipitation associated with extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), which serve as nuclei for preferential precipitation on the extracellular sheaths. This suggests that biological activity played a major role in the development of these speleothems. In addition, imprints of filamentous cells and microboring readily preserved on siliceous minerals were observed on the coralloid speleothems. These features are recognized as biosignatures valuable for astrobiology and may represent modern analogs of the fossil record of prokaryotes. DNA-based analyses showed that bacteria belonging to Actinobacteria (31%) Gemmatimonadetes (25%) and Proteobacteria (24%) phyla dominated in this cave ecosystem, followed by Acidobacteria, Firmicutes and Nitrospirae. Most of the identified phylotypes were affiliated to chemoautotrophs, including thermophilic bacteria such as Ferrithrix thermotolerans, and other mineral utilizing microorganisms like Aciditerrimonas ferrireducens, Desulfuromonas sp. and Desulfovibrio sp., indicating that Galapagos lava tubes host highly specialized subsurface biosphere dominated by microorganisms able to interact with minerals and promote biomineralization. Acknowledgments: This work has been supported by the project PC-65-14 from the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador. AZM acknowledges the support from the Marie Curie Fellowship of the 7th EC Framework Programme (PIEF-GA-2012-328689-DECAVE). The authors acknowledge the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project CGL2013-41674-P) and FEDER funds for financial support.

  7. Are the oldest 'fossils', fossils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1976-01-01

    A comparative statistical study has been carried out on populations of modern algae, Precambrian algal microfossils, the 'organized elements' of the Orgueil carbonaceous meteorite, and the oldest microfossil-like objects now known (spheroidal bodies from the Fig Tree and Onverwacht Groups of the Swaziland Supergroup, South Africa). The distribution patterns exhibited by the more than 3000 m.y.-old Swaziland microstructures bear considerable resemblance to those of the abiotic 'organized elements' but differ rather markedly from those exhibited by younger, assuredly biogenic, populations. Based on these comparisons, it is concluded that the Swaziland spheroids could be, at least in part, of nonbiologic origin; these oldest known fossil-like microstructures should not be regarded as constituting firm evidence of Archean life.

  8. Antarctic news clips, 1991

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1991-08-01

    Published stories are presented that sample a year's news coverage of Antarctica. The intent is to provide the U.S. Antarctic Program participants with a digest of current issues as presented by a variety of writers and popular publications. The subject areas covered include the following: earth science; ice studies; stratospheric ozone; astrophysics; life science; operations; education; antarctic treaty issues; and tourism

  9. The Antarctic Ozone Hole.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stolarski, Richard S.

    1988-01-01

    Discusses the Airborne Antarctic Ozone Experiment (1987) and the findings of the British Antarctic Survey (1985). Proposes two theories for the appearance of the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica which appears each spring; air pollution and natural atmospheric shifts. Illustrates the mechanics of both. Supports worldwide chlorofluorocarbon…

  10. The Antarctic Ice.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Radok, Uwe

    1985-01-01

    The International Antarctic Glaciological Project has collected information on the East Antarctic ice sheet since 1969. Analysis of ice cores revealed climatic history, and radar soundings helped map bedrock of the continent. Computer models of the ice sheet and its changes over time will aid in predicting the future. (DH)

  11. Antarctic Meteorology and Climatology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, J. C.; Turner, J.

    1997-07-01

    This book is a comprehensive survey of the climatology and meteorology of Antarctica. The first section of the book reviews the methods by which we can observe the Antarctic atmosphere and presents a synthesis of climatological measurements. In the second section, the authors consider the processes that maintain the observed climate, from large-scale atmospheric circulation to small-scale processes. The final section reviews our current knowledge of the variability of Antarctic climate and the possible effects of "greenhouse" warming. The authors stress links among the Antarctic atmosphere, other elements of the Antarctic climate system (oceans, sea ice and ice sheets), and the global climate system. This volume will be of greatest interest to meteorologists and climatologists with a specialized interest in Antarctica, but it will also appeal to researchers in Antarctic glaciology, oceanography and biology. Graduates and undergraduates studying physical geography, and the earth, atmospheric and environmental sciences will find much useful background material in the book.

  12. Antarctic ice sheet sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 variations in the early to mid-Miocene.

    PubMed

    Levy, Richard; Harwood, David; Florindo, Fabio; Sangiorgi, Francesca; Tripati, Robert; von Eynatten, Hilmar; Gasson, Edward; Kuhn, Gerhard; Tripati, Aradhna; DeConto, Robert; Fielding, Christopher; Field, Brad; Golledge, Nicholas; McKay, Robert; Naish, Timothy; Olney, Matthew; Pollard, David; Schouten, Stefan; Talarico, Franco; Warny, Sophie; Willmott, Veronica; Acton, Gary; Panter, Kurt; Paulsen, Timothy; Taviani, Marco

    2016-03-29

    Geological records from the Antarctic margin offer direct evidence of environmental variability at high southern latitudes and provide insight regarding ice sheet sensitivity to past climate change. The early to mid-Miocene (23-14 Mya) is a compelling interval to study as global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations were similar to those projected for coming centuries. Importantly, this time interval includes the Miocene Climatic Optimum, a period of global warmth during which average surface temperatures were 3-4 °C higher than today. Miocene sediments in the ANDRILL-2A drill core from the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica, indicate that the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) was highly variable through this key time interval. A multiproxy dataset derived from the core identifies four distinct environmental motifs based on changes in sedimentary facies, fossil assemblages, geochemistry, and paleotemperature. Four major disconformities in the drill core coincide with regional seismic discontinuities and reflect transient expansion of grounded ice across the Ross Sea. They correlate with major positive shifts in benthic oxygen isotope records and generally coincide with intervals when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were at or below preindustrial levels (∼280 ppm). Five intervals reflect ice sheet minima and air temperatures warm enough for substantial ice mass loss during episodes of high (∼500 ppm) atmospheric CO2 These new drill core data and associated ice sheet modeling experiments indicate that polar climate and the AIS were highly sensitive to relatively small changes in atmospheric CO2 during the early to mid-Miocene.

  13. Antarctic ice sheet sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 variations in the early to mid-Miocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levy, Richard; Harwood, David; Florindo, Fabio; Sangiorgi, Francesca; Tripati, Robert; von Eynatten, Hilmar; Gasson, Edward; Kuhn, Gerhard; Tripati, Aradhna; DeConto, Robert; Fielding, Christopher; Field, Brad; Golledge, Nicholas; McKay, Robert; Naish, Timothy; Olney, Matthew; Pollard, David; Schouten, Stefan; Talarico, Franco; Warny, Sophie; Willmott, Veronica; Acton, Gary; Panter, Kurt; Paulsen, Timothy; Taviani, Marco; SMS Science Team; Acton, Gary; Askin, Rosemary; Atkins, Clifford; Bassett, Kari; Beu, Alan; Blackstone, Brian; Browne, Gregory; Ceregato, Alessandro; Cody, Rosemary; Cornamusini, Gianluca; Corrado, Sveva; DeConto, Robert; Del Carlo, Paola; Di Vincenzo, Gianfranco; Dunbar, Gavin; Falk, Candice; Field, Brad; Fielding, Christopher; Florindo, Fabio; Frank, Tracy; Giorgetti, Giovanna; Grelle, Thomas; Gui, Zi; Handwerger, David; Hannah, Michael; Harwood, David M.; Hauptvogel, Dan; Hayden, Travis; Henrys, Stuart; Hoffmann, Stefan; Iacoviello, Francesco; Ishman, Scott; Jarrard, Richard; Johnson, Katherine; Jovane, Luigi; Judge, Shelley; Kominz, Michelle; Konfirst, Matthew; Krissek, Lawrence; Kuhn, Gerhard; Lacy, Laura; Levy, Richard; Maffioli, Paola; Magens, Diana; Marcano, Maria C.; Millan, Cristina; Mohr, Barbara; Montone, Paola; Mukasa, Samuel; Naish, Timothy; Niessen, Frank; Ohneiser, Christian; Olney, Mathew; Panter, Kurt; Passchier, Sandra; Patterson, Molly; Paulsen, Timothy; Pekar, Stephen; Pierdominici, Simona; Pollard, David; Raine, Ian; Reed, Joshua; Reichelt, Lucia; Riesselman, Christina; Rocchi, Sergio; Sagnotti, Leonardo; Sandroni, Sonia; Sangiorgi, Francesca; Schmitt, Douglas; Speece, Marvin; Storey, Bryan; Strada, Eleonora; Talarico, Franco; Taviani, Marco; Tuzzi, Eva; Verosub, Kenneth; von Eynatten, Hilmar; Warny, Sophie; Wilson, Gary; Wilson, Terry; Wonik, Thomas; Zattin, Massimiliano

    2016-03-01

    Geological records from the Antarctic margin offer direct evidence of environmental variability at high southern latitudes and provide insight regarding ice sheet sensitivity to past climate change. The early to mid-Miocene (23-14 Mya) is a compelling interval to study as global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations were similar to those projected for coming centuries. Importantly, this time interval includes the Miocene Climatic Optimum, a period of global warmth during which average surface temperatures were 3-4 °C higher than today. Miocene sediments in the ANDRILL-2A drill core from the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica, indicate that the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) was highly variable through this key time interval. A multiproxy dataset derived from the core identifies four distinct environmental motifs based on changes in sedimentary facies, fossil assemblages, geochemistry, and paleotemperature. Four major disconformities in the drill core coincide with regional seismic discontinuities and reflect transient expansion of grounded ice across the Ross Sea. They correlate with major positive shifts in benthic oxygen isotope records and generally coincide with intervals when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were at or below preindustrial levels (˜280 ppm). Five intervals reflect ice sheet minima and air temperatures warm enough for substantial ice mass loss during episodes of high (˜500 ppm) atmospheric CO2. These new drill core data and associated ice sheet modeling experiments indicate that polar climate and the AIS were highly sensitive to relatively small changes in atmospheric CO2 during the early to mid-Miocene.

  14. Will My Fossil Float?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riesser, Sharon; Airey, Linda

    1993-01-01

    Explains how young students can be introduced to fossils. Suggests books to read and science activities including "Fossils to Eat" where students make fossils from peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk. (PR)

  15. Novel application of confocal laser scanning microscopy and 3D volume rendering toward improving the resolution of the fossil record of charcoal.

    PubMed

    Belcher, Claire M; Punyasena, Surangi W; Sivaguru, Mayandi

    2013-01-01

    Variations in the abundance of fossil charcoals between rocks and sediments are assumed to reflect changes in fire activity in Earth's past. These variations in fire activity are often considered to be in response to environmental, ecological or climatic changes. The role that fire plays in feedbacks to such changes is becoming increasingly important to understand and highlights the need to create robust estimates of variations in fossil charcoal abundance. The majority of charcoal based fire reconstructions quantify the abundance of charcoal particles and do not consider the changes in the morphology of the individual particles that may have occurred due to fragmentation as part of their transport history. We have developed a novel application of confocal laser scanning microscopy coupled to image processing that enables the 3-dimensional reconstruction of individual charcoal particles. This method is able to measure the volume of both microfossil and mesofossil charcoal particles and allows the abundance of charcoal in a sample to be expressed as total volume of charcoal. The method further measures particle surface area and shape allowing both relationships between different size and shape metrics to be analysed and full consideration of variations in particle size and size sorting between different samples to be studied. We believe application of this new imaging approach could allow significant improvement in our ability to estimate variations in past fire activity using fossil charcoals.

  16. Using extant patterns of dental variation to identify species in the primate fossil record: a case study of middle Eocene Omomys from the Bridger Basin, southwestern Wyoming.

    PubMed

    Cuozzo, Frank P

    2008-04-01

    Patterns of extant primate dental variation provide important data for interpreting taxonomic boundaries in fossil forms. Here I use dental data from several well-known living primates (as well as data from selected Eocene forms) to evaluate dental variation in Middle Eocene Omomys, the first North American fossil primate identified by paleontologists. Measurements were collected from a sample of 148 omomyid dental specimens recovered from Bridger B localities in the Bridger Basin, Wyoming. Most of these specimens have not previously been described. Nonmetric traits were also scored for this sample. Lower molar coefficients of variation range from 4.01 for M2 length (n = 80) to 6.73 for M3 talonid width (n = 57). All of the nonmetric traits scored exhibit less than 100% presence in the overall sample, including traits previously described as representative of Omomys (e.g., P4 metaconids present in 91%, n = 55; M2 pericones present in 80%, n = 15). Dental traits also vary in a set of spatially restricted localities from the same fossil horizon and in a separate, single fossil locality (DMNH 868, P4 metaconids present in 67%, n = 6). An increasing frequency in several premolar traits across time in these more restricted samples suggests an anagenetic change in Bridger B Omomys. However, this degree of morphological variability is consistent with that seen in extant primate species from single locations. Metric variation in this sample is comparable to that seen in other Eocene primates, such as new data presented here for the omomyid Arapahovius gazini from the Washakie Basin, southern Wyoming. Omomys metric variation is also comparable to that found in several samples of well-known extant primates from single localities (e.g., ring-tailed lemurs and gray-brown mouse lemurs). These metric data also correspond to the patterns of variability described in previously published studies of Omomyscarteri. In sum, a single species interpretation (O. carteri) for this new

  17. Submarine and subaerial lavas in the West Antarctic Rift System: Temporal record of shifting magma source components from the lithosphere and asthenosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aviado, Kimberly B.; Rilling-Hall, Sarah; Bryce, Julia G.; Mukasa, Samuel B.

    2015-12-01

    The petrogenesis of Cenozoic alkaline magmas in the West Antarctic Rift System (WARS) remains controversial, with competing models highlighting the roles of decompression melting due to passive rifting, active plume upwelling in the asthenosphere, and flux melting of a lithospheric mantle metasomatized by subduction. In this study, seamounts sampled in the Terror Rift region of the Ross Sea provide the first geochemical information from submarine lavas in the Ross Embayment in order to evaluate melting models. Together with subaerial samples from Franklin Island, Beaufort Island, and Mt. Melbourne in Northern Victoria Land (NVL), these Ross Sea lavas exhibit ocean island basalt (OIB)-like trace element signatures and isotopic affinities for the C or FOZO mantle endmember. Major-oxide compositions are consistent with the presence of multiple recycled lithologies in the mantle source region(s), including pyroxenite and volatile-rich lithologies such as amphibole-bearing, metasomatized peridotite. We interpret these observations as evidence that ongoing tectonomagmatic activity in the WARS is facilitated by melting of subduction-modified mantle generated during 550-100 Ma subduction along the paleo-Pacific margin of Gondwana. Following ingrowth of radiogenic daughter isotopes in high-µ (U/Pb) domains, Cenozoic extension triggered decompression melting of easily fusible, hydrated metasomes. This multistage magma generation model attempts to reconcile geochemical observations with increasing geophysical evidence that the broad seismic low-velocity anomaly imaged beneath West Antarctica and most of the Southern Ocean may be in part a compositional structure inherited from previous active margin tectonics.

  18. The Antarctic Master Directory -- the Electronic Card Catalog of Antarctic Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scharfen, G.; Bauer, R.

    2003-12-01

    The Antarctic Master Directory (AMD) is a Web-based, searchable record of thousands of Antarctic data descriptions. These data descriptions contain information about what data were collected, where they were collected, when they were collected, who the scientists are, who the point of contact is, how to get the data, and information about the format of the data and what documentation and bibliographic information exists. With this basic descriptive information about content and access for thousands of Antarctic scientific data sets, the AMD is a resource for scientists to advertise the data they have collected and to search for data they need. The AMD has been created by more than twenty nations which conduct research in the Antarctic under the auspices of the Antarctic Treaty. It is a part of the International Directory Network/Global Change Master Directory (IDN/GCMD). Using the AMD is easy. Users can search on subject matter key words, data types, geographic place-names, temporal or spatial ranges, or conduct free-text searches. To search the AMD go to: http://gcmd.nasa.gov/Data/portals/amd/. Contributing your own data descriptions for Antarctic data that you have collected is also easy. Scientists can start by submitting a short data description first (as a placeholder in the AMD, and to satisfy National Science Foundation (NSF) reporting requirements), and then add to, modify or update their record whenever it is appropriate. An easy to use on-line tool and a simple tutorial are available at: http://nsidc.org/usadcc. With NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) funding, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) operates the U.S. Antarctic Data Coordination Center (USADCC), partly to assist scientists in using and contributing to the AMD. The USADCC website is at http://nsidc.org/usadcc.

  19. Consequences of elevated temperature and pCO2 on insect folivory at the ecosystem level: perspectives from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Currano, Ellen D; Laker, Rachel; Flynn, Andrew G; Fogt, Kari K; Stradtman, Hillary; Wing, Scott L

    2016-07-01

    Paleoecological studies document the net effects of atmospheric and climate change in a natural laboratory over timescales not accessible to laboratory or ecological studies. Insect feeding damage is visible on well-preserved fossil leaves, and changes in leaf damage through time can be compared to environmental changes. We measured percent leaf area damaged on four fossil leaf assemblages from the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, that range in age from 56.1 to 52.65 million years (Ma). We also include similar published data from three US sites 49.4 to ~45 Ma in our analyses. Regional climate was subtropical or warmer throughout this period, and the second oldest assemblage (56 Ma) was deposited during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a geologically abrupt global warming event caused by massive release of carbon into the atmosphere. Total and leaf-chewing damage are highest during the PETM, whether considering percent area damaged on the bulk flora, the average of individual host plants, or a single plant host that occurs at multiple sites. Another fossil assemblage in our study, the 52.65 Ma Fifteenmile Creek paleoflora, also lived during a period of globally high temperature and pCO 2, but does not have elevated herbivory. Comparison of these two sites, as well as regression analyses conducted on the entire dataset, demonstrates that, over long timescales, temperature and pCO 2 are uncorrelated with total insect consumption at the ecosystem level. Rather, the most important factor affecting herbivory is the relative abundance of plants with nitrogen-fixing symbionts. Legumes dominate the PETM site; their prevalence would have decreased nitrogen limitation across the ecosystem, buffering generalist herbivore populations against decreased leaf nutritional quality that commonly occurs at high pCO 2. We hypothesize that nitrogen concentration regulates the opposing effects of elevated temperature and CO 2 on insect abundance and thereby total insect consumption

  20. Consequences of elevated temperature and pCO2 on insect folivory at the ecosystem level: perspectives from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Currano, Ellen D; Laker, Rachel; Flynn, Andrew G; Fogt, Kari K; Stradtman, Hillary; Wing, Scott L

    2016-07-01

    Paleoecological studies document the net effects of atmospheric and climate change in a natural laboratory over timescales not accessible to laboratory or ecological studies. Insect feeding damage is visible on well-preserved fossil leaves, and changes in leaf damage through time can be compared to environmental changes. We measured percent leaf area damaged on four fossil leaf assemblages from the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, that range in age from 56.1 to 52.65 million years (Ma). We also include similar published data from three US sites 49.4 to ~45 Ma in our analyses. Regional climate was subtropical or warmer throughout this period, and the second oldest assemblage (56 Ma) was deposited during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a geologically abrupt global warming event caused by massive release of carbon into the atmosphere. Total and leaf-chewing damage are highest during the PETM, whether considering percent area damaged on the bulk flora, the average of individual host plants, or a single plant host that occurs at multiple sites. Another fossil assemblage in our study, the 52.65 Ma Fifteenmile Creek paleoflora, also lived during a period of globally high temperature and pCO 2, but does not have elevated herbivory. Comparison of these two sites, as well as regression analyses conducted on the entire dataset, demonstrates that, over long timescales, temperature and pCO 2 are uncorrelated with total insect consumption at the ecosystem level. Rather, the most important factor affecting herbivory is the relative abundance of plants with nitrogen-fixing symbionts. Legumes dominate the PETM site; their prevalence would have decreased nitrogen limitation across the ecosystem, buffering generalist herbivore populations against decreased leaf nutritional quality that commonly occurs at high pCO 2. We hypothesize that nitrogen concentration regulates the opposing effects of elevated temperature and CO 2 on insect abundance and thereby total insect consumption

  1. Antarctic Ozone Hole, 2000

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Each spring the ozone layer over Antarctica nearly disappears, forming a 'hole' over the entire continent. The hole is created by the interaction of some man-made chemicals-freon, for example-with Antarctica's unique weather patterns and extremely cold temperatures. Ozone in the stratosphere absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun, thereby protecting living things. Since the ozone hole was discovered many of the chemicals that destroy ozone have been banned, but they will remain in the atmosphere for decades. In 2000, the ozone hole grew quicker than usual and exceptionally large. By the first week in September the hole was the largest ever-11.4 million square miles. The top image shows the average total column ozone values over Antarctica for September 2000. (Total column ozone is the amount of ozone from the ground to the top of the atmosphere. A relatively typical measurement of 300 Dobson Units is equivalent to a layer of ozone 0.12 inches thick on the Earth's surface. Levels below 220 Dobson Units are considered to be significant ozone depletion.) The record-breaking hole is likely the result of lower than average ozone levels during the Antarctic fall and winter, and exceptionally cold temperatures. In October, however (bottom image), the hole shrank dramatically, much more quickly than usual. By the end of October, the hole was only one-third of it's previous size. In a typical year, the ozone hole does not collapse until the end of November. NASA scientists were surprised by this early shrinking and speculate it is related to the region's weather. Global ozone levels are measured by the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS). For more information about ozone, read the Earth Observatory's ozone fact sheet, view global ozone data and see these ozone images. Images by Greg Shirah, NASA GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio.

  2. First fossil record of Discocephalinae (Insecta, Pentatomidae): a new genus from the middle Eocene of Río Pichileufú, Patagonia, Argentina

    PubMed Central

    Petrulevičius, Julián F.; Popov, Yuri A.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract A new genus and species of Discocephalini, Acanthocephalonotum martinsnetoi gen. n. et sp. n. is described from Río Pichileufú, middle Eocene of Patagonia, Argentina at palaeolatitude ~ 46°S. The new species is the first fossil representative of the Discocephalinae. This taxon is extant in equatorial to subtropical America, and some species reach warm temperate latitudes (Buenos Aires province). The new genus is distinguished from the other genera of Discocephalini by the combination of these characters: interocular width greater than head length; head massive and quadrangular with the anterior margin almost straight; juga touching each other; labrum thick and curved; triangular ante-ocular process extending beyond the eye; broad spine-like antero-lateral process of the pronotum; pronotum explanate and bean shaped; scutellum triangular with a circular tongue reaching the anterior side of abdominal segment 7; and wings well developed with membrane just surpassing end of abdomen. PMID:25061387

  3. Fossil Shorelines Record Multiple Sea Level Highstands and Surface Deformation on Million Year Timescales at Cape Range National Park, Northwestern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandstrom, R. M.; O'Leary, M.; Barham, M.; Cai, Y.; Jacome, A. P.; Raymo, M. E.

    2015-12-01

    Correcting fossil shorelines for vertical displacement subsequent to deposition is a vital consideration in estimating sea level and ice volume during past warm periods. Field observations of paleo-sea level indicators must be adjusted for local tectonic deformation, subsequent sediment loading, dynamic topography (DT), and glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). Dynamic topography is often the most difficult of these corrections to determine, especially on million year timescales, but is essential when providing constraints on sea level and ice volume changes. GIA effects from high latitude ice sheets minimally impact northwestern Australia, making this region well suited for observing surface displacement due to mantle and tectonic processes. This study presents centimeter accuracy paleo-shoreline data from four distinct marine terraces in the Cape Range National Park, Australia, which document vertical displacement history along 100 kilometers of coastline. The mapped region has an anticlinal structure in the center that has been slowly uplifting the three older reef complexes over the Neogene, constraining the timing of deformation. These neotectonics are probably caused by reactivation of ancient fault zones normal to the principal horizontal compressive stress, resulting in the warping of overlaying units. The elevation data also suggests minimal vertical displacement since the last interglacial highstand. Well-preserved fossil coral were collected from each terrace and will be geochemically dated using Sr isotope and U-series dating methods. This dataset provides a better understanding of DT and neotectonic deformation in this region (useful for improving mantle viscosity models), and offers a means for improving past sea level reconstructions in northwestern Australia.

  4. Antarctic Ice Sheet Sensitivity to Atmospheric CO2 Variations During the Early to Mid-Miocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levy, R. H.; Harwood, D. M.; Florindo, F.; Sangiorgi, F.; Eagle, R.; von Eynatten, H.; Gasson, E.; Kuhn, G.; Tripati, A.; Deconto, R. M.; Fielding, C. R.; Field, B.; Golledge, N. R.; Mckay, R. M.; Naish, T.; Olney, M.; Pollard, D.; Schouten, S.; Talarico, F. M.; Warny, S.; Willmott, V.

    2015-12-01

    The Early to mid-Miocene (23 to 14 million years ago) is a compelling interval to study Antarctic ice sheet sensitivity to changes in atmospheric CO2 as oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns in the southern hemisphere were broadly similar to present and reconstructed atmospheric CO2 concentrations were analogous to those projected for the next several decades. This time interval includes the Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO), a period of global warmth during which average surface temperatures were 3 to 4°C higher than today. Miocene sediments in the AND-2A drill core from the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica provide direct information regarding ice sheet variability through this key time interval and offer insight into the potential Antarctic contribution to future sea level rise. A multi-proxy dataset derived from AND-2A identifies four distinct environmental "motifs" based on changes in sedimentary facies, fossil assemblages, geochemistry, and paleotemperature. Four major disconformities in the drill core coincide with regional seismic discontinuities and reflect transient expansion of marine-based ice across the Ross Sea. They all correlate with major positive shifts in benthic oxygen isotope records and episodes of sea-level fall, and generally coincide with intervals when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were below current levels (~400 ppm). Five intervals reflect ice sheet minima and air temperatures warm enough for significant ice mass loss during episodes of high (>400 ppm) atmospheric CO2. These results suggest that polar climate and the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) were highly sensitive to relatively small changes in CO2 during the early to mid-Miocene, which is supported by numerical ice sheet and climate modelling.

  5. Sugars in Antarctic aerosol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barbaro, Elena; Kirchgeorg, Torben; Zangrando, Roberta; Vecchiato, Marco; Piazza, Rossano; Barbante, Carlo; Gambaro, Andrea

    2015-10-01

    The processes and transformations occurring in the Antarctic aerosol during atmospheric transport were described using selected sugars as source tracers. Monosaccharides (arabinose, fructose, galactose, glucose, mannose, ribose, xylose), disaccharides (sucrose, lactose, maltose, lactulose), alcohol-sugars (erythritol, mannitol, ribitol, sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, galactitol) and anhydrosugars (levoglucosan, mannosan and galactosan) were measured in the Antarctic aerosol collected during four different sampling campaigns. For quantification, a sensitive high-pressure anion exchange chromatography was coupled with a single quadrupole mass spectrometer. The method was validated, showing good accuracy and low method quantification limits. This study describes the first determination of sugars in the Antarctic aerosol. The total mean concentration of sugars in the aerosol collected at the "Mario Zucchelli" coastal station was 140 pg m-3; as for the aerosol collected over the Antarctic plateau during two consecutive sampling campaigns, the concentration amounted to 440 and 438 pg m-3. The study of particle-size distribution allowed us to identify the natural emission from spores or from sea-spray as the main sources of sugars in the coastal area. The enrichment of sugars in the fine fraction of the aerosol collected on the Antarctic plateau is due to the degradation of particles during long-range atmospheric transport. The composition of sugars in the coarse fraction was also investigated in the aerosol collected during the oceanographic cruise.

  6. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

    The fossil record provides the primary source of data for calibrating the origin of clades. Although minimum ages of clades are given by the oldest preserved fossil, these underestimate the true age, which must be bracketed by probabilistic methods based on multiple fossil occurrences. Although most of these methods assume uniform preservation rates, this assumption is unsupported over geological timescales. On geologically long timescales (more than 10 Myr), the origin and cessation of sedimentary basins, and long-term variations in tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea level and sedimentation rate control the availability of depositional facies that preserve the environments in which species lived. The loss of doomed sediments, those with a low probability of preservation, imparts a secular trend to fossil preservation. As a result, the fossil record is spatially and temporally non-uniform. Models of fossil preservation should reflect this non-uniformity by using empirical estimates of fossil preservation that are spatially and temporally partitioned, or by using indirect proxies of fossil preservation. Geologically, realistic models of preservation will provide substantially more reliable estimates of the origination of clades.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'. PMID:27325828

  7. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

    The fossil record provides the primary source of data for calibrating the origin of clades. Although minimum ages of clades are given by the oldest preserved fossil, these underestimate the true age, which must be bracketed by probabilistic methods based on multiple fossil occurrences. Although most of these methods assume uniform preservation rates, this assumption is unsupported over geological timescales. On geologically long timescales (more than 10 Myr), the origin and cessation of sedimentary basins, and long-term variations in tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea level and sedimentation rate control the availability of depositional facies that preserve the environments in which species lived. The loss of doomed sediments, those with a low probability of preservation, imparts a secular trend to fossil preservation. As a result, the fossil record is spatially and temporally non-uniform. Models of fossil preservation should reflect this non-uniformity by using empirical estimates of fossil preservation that are spatially and temporally partitioned, or by using indirect proxies of fossil preservation. Geologically, realistic models of preservation will provide substantially more reliable estimates of the origination of clades.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'.

  8. Human Impacts on the Antarctic.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riddle, Martin

    1995-01-01

    Outlines the history of human activity in the Antarctic and discusses environmental impact, responsibility, and management in the Antarctic. Reviews the development of an informational database by the Australian National Antarctic Data Centre that will inform environmental research and decision making. (LZ)

  9. A 25 m.y. isotopic record of paleodiet and environmental change from fossil mammals and paleosols from the NE margin of the Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yang; Deng, Tao

    2005-07-01

    We use the carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions of fossil tooth enamel and paleosols to reconstruct the late Cenozoic history of vegetation and environmental change in the Linxia Basin at the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. The δ13C values of fossil enamel from a diverse group of herbivores and of paleosol carbonate and organic matter indicate that C4 grasses were either absent or insignificant in the Linxia Basin prior to ˜2-3 Ma and only became a significant component of local ecosystems in the Quaternary. This is in striking contrast to what was observed in Pakistan, Nepal, Africa and the Americas where C4 plants expanded rapidly in the late Miocene as indicated by a positive δ13C shift in mammalian tooth enamel and paleosols. The δ18O results from the same herbivore species show several significant shifts in climate in the late Cenozoic. Most notably, a positive δ18O shift after ˜7 Ma indicates a shift to warmer and/or drier conditions and is comparable in timing and direction to the δ18O shift observed in paleosol carbonates in Pakistan and Nepal. This late Miocene climate change observed in the Indian sub-continent and in the Linxia Basin, however, seems to be a regional manifestation of a global climate change. The lack of evidence for C4 plants in the Linxia Basin prior to ˜2-3 Ma suggests that the East Asian summer monsoon, which brings precipitation into northern China during the summer and creates optimal conditions for the growth of C4 grasses, was probably not strong enough to affect this part of China throughout much of the Neogene. This implies that the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau may not have reached the present-day elevation across its vast extent to support a strong East Asian monsoon system before ˜2-3 Ma. Our data also suggest that regional climatic conditions played an important role in controlling the expansion of C4 plants.

  10. Antarctic Tephra Database (AntT)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurbatov, A.; Dunbar, N. W.; Iverson, N. A.; Gerbi, C. C.; Yates, M. G.; Kalteyer, D.; McIntosh, W. C.

    2014-12-01

    Modern paleoclimate research is heavily dependent on establishing accurate timing related to rapid shifts in Earth's climate system. The ability to correlate these events at local, and ideally at the intercontinental scales, allows assessment, for example, of phasing or changes in atmospheric circulation. Tephra-producing volcanic eruptions are geologically instantaneous events that are largely independent of climate. We have developed a tephrochronological framework for paleoclimate research in Antarctic in a user friendly, freely accessible online Antarctic tephra (AntT) database (http://cci.um.maine.edu/AntT/). Information about volcanic events, including physical and geochemical characteristics of volcanic products collected from multiple data sources, are integrated into the AntT database.The AntT project establishes a new centralized data repository for Antarctic tephrochronology, which is needed for precise correlation of records between Antarctic ice cores (e.g. WAIS Divide, RICE, Talos Dome, ITASE) and global paleoclimate archives. The AntT will help climatologists, paleoclimatologists, atmospheric chemists, geochemists, climate modelers synchronize paleoclimate archives using volcanic products that establishing timing of climate events in different geographic areas, climate-forcing mechanisms, natural threshold levels in the climate system. All these disciplines will benefit from accurate reconstructions of the temporal and spatial distribution of past rapid climate change events in continental, atmospheric, marine and polar realms. Research is funded by NSF grants: ANT-1142007 and 1142069.

  11. Contrasts between Antarctic and Arctic ozone depletion.

    PubMed

    Solomon, Susan; Portmann, Robert W; Thompson, David W J

    2007-01-01

    This work surveys the depth and character of ozone depletion in the Antarctic and Arctic using available long balloon-borne and ground-based records that cover multiple decades from ground-based sites. Such data reveal changes in the range of ozone values including the extremes observed as polar air passes over the stations. Antarctic ozone observations reveal widespread and massive local depletion in the heart of the ozone "hole" region near 18 km, frequently exceeding 90%. Although some ozone losses are apparent in the Arctic during particular years, the depth of the ozone losses in the Arctic are considerably smaller, and their occurrence is far less frequent. Many Antarctic total integrated column ozone observations in spring since approximately the 1980s show values considerably below those ever observed in earlier decades. For the Arctic, there is evidence of some spring season depletion of total ozone at particular stations, but the changes are much less pronounced compared with the range of past data. Thus, the observations demonstrate that the widespread and deep ozone depletion that characterizes the Antarctic ozone hole is a unique feature on the planet. PMID:17202269

  12. Neogene History of Antarctic Sea-ice and Development of the Sea-ice Diatom Community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harwood, D. M.; Bohaty, S. M.; Whitehead, J. M.

    2002-12-01

    Sea-ice plays an important role in the modern Antarctic climate system and in this region's linkage to lower latitude regions. Today, the seasonal sea-ice cover decouples oceanic heat transfer to the atmosphere, which amplifies winter's low temperatures and shifts sources of moisture far to the north. The sea-ice zone is an important site for biological productivity and bottom water formation, through cooling and brine exclusion. The absence of the sea-ice during past and future periods of elevated temperatures would significantly impact the biology, oceanography, glaciology and meteorology of the Antarctic region. A unique diatom assemblage is adapted to life in and around the sea-ice, and serves as an increasingly useful proxy to mark the presence, extent and duration of sea-ice cover. This assemblage dominates Antarctic shelf sediments today and back through most of the Quaternary. The oldest fossil diatom flora with a similar composition and structure to that of the modern sea-ice community was identified in a late Miocene mudstone erratic MB-244C in coastal moraine from McMurdo Sound. This assemblage did not persist through to the present day, and it is absent, or significantly reduced, in numerous marine diatom-bearing strata of late Miocene, Pliocene and Quaternary age, including the upper Miocene McLeod Beds of the Battye Glacier Formation, Prince Charles Mountains, the lower Pliocene Sorsdal Formation in the Vestfold Hills, the Pliocene sediments from the DVDP and CIROS drillcores, and the lower Quaternary carbonate unit in the Cape Roberts Project drillcore CRP-1. The sea-ice diatom community likely persisted in low numbers in interior fjords and basins, adjacent to glacier margins during these times. The history of sea-ice development and fluctuation during the Neogene appears to be complex, with substantial variability in sea-ice cover. Core records are currently insufficient to document the details of this history, and variation in the diatom

  13. Evolutionary dynamics of a common sub-Antarctic octocoral family.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Michelle L; Rogers, Alex D

    2015-03-01

    Sequence data were obtained for five different loci, both mitochondrial (cox1, mtMutS, 16S) and nuclear (18S, 28S rDNA), from 64 species representing 25 genera of the common deep-sea octocoral family Primnoidae. We tested the hypothesis that Primnoidae have an Antarctic origin, as this is where they currently have high species richness, using Maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods of phylogenetic analysis. Using a time-calibrated molecular phylogeny we also investigated the time of species radiation in sub-Antarctic Primnoidae. Our relatively wide taxon sampling and phylogenetic analysis supported Primnoidae as a monophyletic family. The base of the well-supported phylogeny was Pacific in origin, indicating Primnoidae sub-Antarctic diversity is a secondary species radiation. There is also evidence for a subsequent range extension of sub-Antarctic lineages into deep-water areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Conservative and speculative fossil-calibration analyses resulted in two differing estimations of sub-Antarctic species divergence times. Conservative analysis suggested a sub-Antarctic species radiation occurred ∼52MYA (95% HPD: 36-73MYA), potentially before the opening of the Drake Passage and Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) formation (41-37MYA). Speculative analysis pushed this radiation back into the late Jurassic, 157MYA (95% HPD: 118-204MYA). Genus-level groupings were broadly supported in this analysis with some notable polyphyletic exceptions: Callogorgia, Fanellia, Primnoella, Plumarella, Thouarella. Molecular and morphological evidence supports the placement of Tauroprimnoa austasensis within Dasystenella and Fannyella kuekenthali within Metafannyella.

  14. Navy closes Antarctic unit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    After 42 years as a key participant in the United States Antarctic Program (USAP), the U.S. Navy held a ceremony on February 20 to commemorate the closing of its Naval Antarctic Support Unit stationed in New Zealand. The Navy originally had announced its decision to "disestablish" the unit in 1993, citing new global priorities with the end of the Cold War.The Navy will continue to provide limited flight support to the USAP through the end of the 1998-1999 austral research season.

  15. Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Walton, D.W.H.

    1987-01-01

    The Maritime and Continental Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems are considered in the context of environmental impacts - habitat destruction, alien introductions, and pollution. Four types of pollution are considered: nutrients, radionuclides, inert materials, and noxious chemicals. Their ability to recover from perturbation is discussed in the light of present scientific knowledge, and the methods used to control impacts are reviewed. It is concluded that techniques of waste disposal are still inadequate, adequate training in environmental and conservation principles for Antarctic personnel in many countries is lacking, and scientific investigations may be a much more serious threat than tourism to the integrity of these ecosystems. Some priorities crucial to future management are suggested.

  16. Mid-Burdigalian Paratethyan alkenone record reveals link between orbital forcing, Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics and European climate at the verge to Miocene Climate Optimum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grunert, Patrick; Tzanova, Alexandrina; Harzhauser, Mathias; Piller, Werner E.

    2014-12-01

    The Early Ottnangian Cooling (EOC), a distinct cold-spell in European climate at ~ 18 Ma preceding the Miocene Climate Optimum, is frequently reported in Paratethys records; however, the duration, magnitude, and underlying causes are poorly understood. A new palaeoclimatic data-set provides unexpected insights into this event. UK'37-based sea-surface temperatures > 24 °C between ~ 18.1 and 17.7 Myrs substantially exceed existing estimates, and indicate a significantly warmer European climate than previously assumed for this usually poorly recovered time interval. The EOC is expressed as an average drop of 2-3 °C in Paratethyan water temperatures between ~ 18.1 and 17.8 Myrs with two distinct cold snaps at ~ 17.86 Ma and ~ 17.81 Ma. The short duration of the EOC excludes Tethyan Seaway closure as its underlying cause, although the enhanced palaeoclimatic sensitivity of the Paratethys due to this palaeogeographic configuration potentially contributed to the magnitude of SST deterioration during the EOC. The revealed palaeoclimatic pattern shows a strong correlation with isotope event Mi-1b in deep-sea δ18O records, and we propose a tight palaeoclimatic link between the Southern Ocean and the Paratethys/Mediterranean realm as an alternative hypothesis. The interplay of modulations in the long-term (~ 400 kyrs) and short-term (~ 100 kyrs) eccentricity cycles most likely acted as pacemaker of this palaeoclimatic interaction.

  17. Tectonic, Climatic, and Cryospheric Evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schultz, Colin

    2013-06-01

    For millennia, Antarctica has been a frozen continent, a land of ice and snow where complex life persists rather than thrives. But Antarctica has not always been this way. Millions of years ago the southern continent was teeming with life. Changing oceans and a plummeting atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration drove a dramatic evolution of the Antarctic continent. To provide a record of these ancient climatic shifts, the 2005-2006 SHALDRIL drilling program collected sediment cores from the bed of the iceberg-filled seas off the Antarctic Peninsula. In the AGU book Tectonic, Climatic, and Cryospheric Evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula, editors John B. Anderson and Julia S. Wellner draw on the findings garnered from SHALDRIL to explore the changing Antarctic Peninsula. In this interview, Eos talks to John B. Anderson.

  18. Summary of the Snowmastodon Project Special Volume. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6-4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Ian M.; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Scott Anderson, R.; Johnson, Kirk R.; Mahan, Shannon A.; Ager, Thomas A.; Baker, Richard G.; Blaauw, Maarten; Bright, Jordon; Brown, Peter M.; Bryant, Bruce; Calamari, Zachary T.; Carrara, Paul E.; Cherney, Michael D.; Demboski, John R.; Elias, Scott A.; Fisher, Daniel C.; Gray, Harrison J.; Haskett, Danielle R.; Honke, Jeffrey S.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Jiménez-Moreno, Gonzalo; Kline, Douglas; Leonard, Eric M.; Lifton, Nathaniel A.; Lucking, Carol; Gregory McDonald, H.; Miller, Dane M.; Muhs, Daniel R.; Nash, Stephen E.; Newton, Cody; Paces, James B.; Petrie, Lesley; Plummer, Mitchell A.; Porinchu, David F.; Rountrey, Adam N.; Scott, Eric; Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Sharpe, Saxon E.; Skipp, Gary L.; Strickland, Laura E.; Stucky, Richard K.; Thompson, Robert S.; Wilson, Jim

    2014-11-01

    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean-atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010-2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~ 140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.

  19. Thermal status of Antarctic divers.

    PubMed

    Bridgman, S A

    1990-09-01

    I studied 5 wet-suited scuba divers studied on 26 dives in the Antarctic. The median duration of dives was 29 min, during which divers were usually involved in sampling or observations for marine biology or chemistry projects. Rectal temperature (Tre) and seven skin site temperatures were measured with thermistors, and mean skin temperature (Tsk) and heat loss estimated. Divers usually heated up during changing and transport to a dive. By the end of immersion, Tsk decreased to a median of 22 degrees C, and finger temperature decreased to a median of 10 degrees C, while the median heat loss during immersion was 850 kJ. Tre below 36 degrees C was not recorded. This study shows that divers do not become clinically hypothermic, but that they are subject to severe cooling, and skin temperatures reach levels at which manual and mental impairment may occur.

  20. Mid-Burdigalian Paratethyan alkenone record reveals link between orbital forcing, Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics and European climate at the verge to Miocene Climate Optimum

    PubMed Central

    Grunert, Patrick; Tzanova, Alexandrina; Harzhauser, Mathias; Piller, Werner E.

    2014-01-01

    The Early Ottnangian Cooling (EOC), a distinct cold-spell in European climate at ~ 18 Ma preceding the Miocene Climate Optimum, is frequently reported in Paratethys records; however, the duration, magnitude, and underlying causes are poorly understood. A new palaeoclimatic data-set provides unexpected insights into this event. UK'37-based sea-surface temperatures > 24 °C between ~ 18.1 and 17.7 Myrs substantially exceed existing estimates, and indicate a significantly warmer European climate than previously assumed for this usually poorly recovered time interval. The EOC is expressed as an average drop of 2–3 °C in Paratethyan water temperatures between ~ 18.1 and 17.8 Myrs with two distinct cold snaps at ~ 17.86 Ma and ~ 17.81 Ma. The short duration of the EOC excludes Tethyan Seaway closure as its underlying cause, although the enhanced palaeoclimatic sensitivity of the Paratethys due to this palaeogeographic configuration potentially contributed to the magnitude of SST deterioration during the EOC. The revealed palaeoclimatic pattern shows a strong correlation with isotope event Mi-1b in deep-sea δ18O records, and we propose a tight palaeoclimatic link between the Southern Ocean and the Paratethys/Mediterranean realm as an alternative hypothesis. The interplay of modulations in the long-term (~ 400 kyrs) and short-term (~ 100 kyrs) eccentricity cycles most likely acted as pacemaker of this palaeoclimatic interaction. PMID:25844022

  1. Carbonate Deposition on Antarctic Shelves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frank, T. D.; James, N. P.; Malcolm, I.

    2011-12-01

    Limestones associated with glaciomarine deposits occur throughout the geologic record but remain poorly understood. The best-described examples formed during major ice ages of the Neoproterozoic and Late Paleozoic. Quaternary analogs on Antarctic shelves have received comparatively little study. Here, we report on the composition, spatial distribution, and stratigraphic context of carbonate sediments contained in piston cores from the Ross Sea. The goals of this work are to (1) document the nature and distribution of carbonate sediments on the Ross Sea continental shelf and (2) examine temporal relationships to Quaternary glaciation. Results will be used to develop criteria that will improve understanding of analogous deposits in the ancient record. All carbonate-rich intervals in piston cores from the Ross Rea, now housed at the Antarctic Marine Geology Research Facility at Florida State University, were examined and described in detail. Sediment samples were disaggregated and sieved into size fractions before description with paleontological analysis carried out on the coarsest size fraction (>250 microns). Carbonate-rich sediments are concentrated in the northwestern Ross Sea, along the distal margins of Mawson and Pennell Banks. Calcareous facies include a spectrum of lithologies that range from fossiliferous mud, sand, and gravel to skeletal floatstone-rudstone and bafflestone. Floatstone-rudstone and bafflestone is most abundant along western-facing slopes in areas protected from the Antarctic Coastal Current. Sand-prone facies dominate the tops of banks and mud-prone, often spicultic, facies occur in deeper areas. The carbonate factory is characterized by a low-diversity, heterozoan assemblage that is dominated by stylasterine hydrocorals, barnacles, and bryozoans. Molluscs and echinoids are present but not abundant. Planktic and benthic foraminifera are ubiquitous components of the sediment matrix, which is locally very rich in sponge spicules. Biota rarely

  2. Origin of anthropoidea: dental evidence and recognition of early anthropoids in the fossil record, with comments on the Asian anthropoid radiation.

    PubMed

    Gunnell, G F; Miller, E R

    2001-03-01

    Among the earliest fossil anthropoid primates known are Catopithecus browni, Serapia eocaena, Arsinoea kallimos, and Proteopithecus sylviae, from the late Eocene quarry L-41, Fayum Depression, Egypt. Two of these taxa, C. browni and S. eocaena, may be the oldest known members of the Propliopithecidae and Parapithecidae, respectively, while A. kallimos and P. sylviae are archaic anthropoids of less certain familial affiliation. Dental features of C. browni, S. eocaena, A. kallimos, and P. sylviae are compared with those of younger propliopithecids and parapithecids from the Fayum in order to determine the morphocline polarities of dental features among these early anthropoids. From this, a basal African anthropoid dental morphotype is constructed. Among the features of this morphotype are: dental formula of 2.1.3.3; incisors subvertically implanted and somewhat spatulate; p2 as large as p3, both lacking paraconids; p4 weakly obliquely oriented but not exodaenodont; all lower molars with small paraconids present; upper anterior premolars lacking protocone; upper molars with small, cingular hypocones, all cheek teeth nonbunodont; and canines projecting but not necessarily sexually dimorphic. Comparisons are made between this African anthropoid morphotype and two of the best-represented proposed basal anthropoids, Eosimias and Djebelemur, with the result that neither appears to be a good candidate to have been ancestral to the African anthropoids. Other possible basal simians such as Algeripithecus, Tabelia, and Biretia also are evaluated but are too poorly known for adequate analysis. The larger-bodied Asian primates Pondaungia, Amphipithecus, and Siamopithecus also are not likely ancestors for African anthropoids, but like Eosimias they may share a common ancestry. Despite many recent claims of an Asian origin for anthropoids, the evidence remains far from compelling. The true origins of Anthropoidea remain obscure.

  3. Clinal morphological variation along a depth gradient in the living scleractinian reef coral Favia pallida: Effects on perceived evolutionary tempos in the fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Cuffey, R.J. ); Pachut, J.F. )

    1990-12-01

    The Holocene reef-building coral Favia pallida was sampled at 4.5 m depth increments (to 40 m) from two reefs on Enewetak Atoll to examine intraspecific environmental effects. An exposed outer reef was massive and wall-like, whereas a sheltered lagoonal reef grew as a slender pinnacle. Corallite diameter and growth rate, two attributes retrievable in fossil corals, were measured with data partitioned into shallow (<20 m), intermediate (20 to 29 m), and deep-water (>29 m) subsets. Highly significant differences between depth zone populations were found for both corallite diameters and growth rates in analyses of individual and combined reef data sets. Canonical variates analyses (CVA) separated populations from depth zones along single, highly significant, functions. Centroids and 95% confidence intervals, calculated from CVA scores of colonies in each population, are widely separated for the lagoon reef and combined data sets. Conversely, populations from shallow and intermediate depths on the outer reef display overlapping confidence bars indicative of more gradational morphologic changes. When CV's were used to classify specimens to groups, misassignments of intermediate depth specimens to shallow or deep-water populations underscored the gradational nature of the environment. Completely intergrading populations of Favia pallida collected from different depths can be morphologically separated into statistically distinct groupings. A stratigraphic succession of such morphotypes might be interpreted as abruptly appearing separate species if sampling were not as uniform, systematic, and detailed as was possible on modern reefs. Analyses of evolutionary patterns must carefully assess potential effects of clinal variation if past evolutionary patterns are to be interpreted correctly.

  4. Year-round records of sea salt, gaseous, and particulate inorganic bromine in the atmospheric boundary layer at coastal (Dumont d'Urville) and central (Concordia) East Antarctic sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Legrand, Michel; Yang, Xin; Preunkert, Susanne; Theys, Nicolas

    2016-01-01

    Multiple year-round records of bulk and size-segregated compositions of aerosol were obtained at the coastal Dumont d'Urville (DDU) and inland Concordia sites located in East Antarctica. They document the sea-salt aerosol load and composition including, for the first time in Antarctica, the bromide depletion of sea-salt aerosol relative to sodium with respect to seawater. In parallel, measurements of bromide trapped in mist chambers and denuder tubes were done to investigate the concentrations of gaseous inorganic bromine species. These data are compared to simulations done with an off-line chemistry transport model, coupled with a full tropospheric bromine chemistry scheme and a process-based sea-salt production module that includes both sea-ice-sourced and open-ocean-sourced aerosol emissions. Observed and simulated sea-salt concentrations sometime differ by up to a factor of 2 to 3, particularly at DDU possibly due to local wind pattern. In spite of these discrepancies, both at coastal and inland Antarctica, the dominance of sea-ice-related processes with respect to open ocean emissions for the sea-salt aerosol load in winter is confirmed. For summer, observations and simulations point out sea salt as the main source of gaseous inorganic bromine species. Investigations of bromide in snow pit samples do not support the importance of snowpack bromine emissions over the Antarctic Plateau. To evaluate the overall importance of the bromine chemistry over East Antarctica, BrO simulations were also discussed with respect data derived from GOME-2 satellite observations over Antarctica.

  5. Late Quaternary vegetation and environments in the Verkhoyansk Mountains region (NE Asia) reconstructed from a 50-kyr fossil pollen record from Lake Billyakh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Müller, Stefanie; Tarasov, Pavel E.; Andreev, Andrei A.; Tütken, Thomas; Gartz, Steffi; Diekmann, Bernhard

    2010-08-01

    Here we present a detailed radiocarbon-dated 936 cm long pollen record from Lake Billyakh (65°17'N, 126°47'E; 340 m a.s.l.) situated in the western part of the Verkhoyansk Mountains, about 140 km south of the Arctic Circle. A set of 53 surface pollen samples representing tundra, cold deciduous forest and taiga was collected in northern and central Yakutia communities to verify the accuracy of the quantitative biome reconstruction method and to obtain a more precise attribution of the identified pollen taxa to the main regional biomes. The adjusted method is then applied to the pollen record from Lake Billyakh to gain a reconstruction of vegetation and environments since about 50.7 kyr BP. The results of the pollen analysis and pollen-based biome reconstruction suggest that herbaceous tundra and steppe communities dominated the area from 50.7 to 13.5 kyr BP. Relatively low pollen concentrations and high percentages of herbaceous pollen taxa (mainly Cyperaceae, Poaceae and Artemisia) likely indicate a reduced vegetation cover and/or lower pollen production. On the other hand, extremely low percentages of drought-tolerant taxa, such as Chenopodiaceae and Ephedra, and the constant presence of various mesophyllous herbaceous ( Thalictrum, Rosaceae, Asteraceae) and shrubby taxa ( Betula sect. Nanae/Fruticosae, Duschekia fruticosa, Salix) in the pollen assemblages prevent an interpretation of the last glacial environments around Lake Billyakh as extremely arid. The lowest pollen percentages of woody taxa and the highest values of Artemisia pollen attest that the 31-15 kyr BP period as the driest and coldest interval of the entire record. A relative high content of taxa representing shrub tundra communities and the presence of larch pollen recorded prior to 31 kyr and after 13.5 kyr BP likely indicate interstadial climate amelioration associated with the middle and latest parts of the last glacial. An increase in pollen percentages of herbaceous taxa around 12 kyr BP

  6. Diagnosing Antarctic Fog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lazzara, M. A.

    2010-07-01

    Fog affects aviation and other logistical operations in the Antarctic; nevertheless limited studies have been conducted to understand fog behavior in this part of the world. A study has been conducted in the Ross Island region of Antarctica, the location of McMurdo Station and Scott Base - the main stations of the United States and New Zealand Antarctic programs, respectively. Using tools such as multi-channel satellites observations and supported by in situ radiosonde and ground-based automatic weather station observations, combined with back trajectory and mesoscale numerical models, discover that austral summer fog events are "advective" in temperament. The diagnosis finds a primary source region from the southeast over the Ross Ice Shelf (over 72% of the cases studied) while a minority of cases point toward a secondary fog source region to the north along the Scott Coast of the Ross Sea with influences from the East Antarctic Plateau. Part of this examination confirms existing anecdotes from forecasters and weather observers, while refuting others about fog and its behavior in this environment. This effort marks the beginning of our understanding of Antarctic fog behavior.

  7. Deciphering influences of temperature, moisture sources, post-deposition effects and stratospheric inputs in records of stable isotopes in East Antarctic snow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Touzeau, Alexandra; Fourré, Elise; Baroni, Mélanie; Curran, Mark; Ekaykin, Alexey; Magand, Olivier; Moy, Andrew; McConnell, Joe; Landais, Amaelle

    2015-04-01

    The oxygen and deuterium isotopic composition of ice represent a prodigal source of information for the reconstruction of past climate. Their widespread use relies upon the straightforward relationship between the oxygen or deuterium isotopic composition in the snow precipitated and the inversion temperature (or the local temperature). However, between the precipitation of the snow and the solidification of ice, several mechanisms may affect the initial composition of the snow, thereby rendering the climatic signal less perceptible. During deposition or shortly after deposition, the wind may blow away and redeposit the uncompact snow, and therefore affect the chronology of the record. Various origins of the moisture source, including possible stratospheric inputs in very low accumulation sites, may also affect water isotopic composition. Finally, after deposition, the isotopic signal is also modified by diffusion of isotopes in the solid phase, local sublimation and condensation with associated fractionation, and water vapor transport between snow layers. In order to assess the effect of these mechanisms on the snow isotopic composition, we compare the results of the analysis of five snow pits from the East Antarctica plateau: two from Vostok, one from Dome C, one from S2 and one from Aurora Basin (ABN). For each snow pit, snow was sampled every three cm over a depth of about three meters. The ratios of 18O/16O, 17O/16O and D/H were determined for each sample and additional 10Be profiles were obtained for some profiles. Because the different water isotopes are affected differently by equilibrium and diffusive processes and because stratospheric inputs are expected to leave a significant signature in 10Be and 17Oexcess, the combination of the different isotopic profiles is a useful tool for inferring the origin of δ18O or δD variations in the top 3 m of the ice sheet. Using the relationships observed between δ18O, d-excess, 17O-excess and 10Be, we are able to

  8. First record of the fossil snakefly genus Mesoraphidia (Insecta: Raphidioptera: Mesoraphidiidae) from the Middle Jurassic of China, with description of a new species.

    PubMed

    Lü, Ya-Nan; Liu, Xingyue; Dong, Ren

    2015-01-01

    Mesoraphidia daohugouensis sp. nov. is described from the Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation of Inner Mongolia, China. It is diagnosed by the following character states: subquadrate pronotum, narrowly elliptical forewing, distally darkened pterostigma closed respectively by a proximal costal crossvein and a distal radial veinlet, absence of pterostigmal crossvein. The new species represents the first record of Mesoraphidiinae from the Middle Jurassic of China. PMID:26623595

  9. Modelling the Isotopic Response to Antarctic Ice Sheet Change During the Last Interglacial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holloway, Max; Sime, Louise; Singarayer, Joy; Tindall, Julia; Valdes, Paul

    2015-04-01

    Ice sheet changes can exert major control over spatial water isotope variations in Antarctic surface snow. Consequently a significant mass loss or gain of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) would be expected to cause changes in the water isotope record across Antarctic ice core sites. Analysis of sea level indicators for the last interglacial (LIG), around 125 to 128 ka, suggest a global sea level peak 6 to 9 m higher than present. Recent NEEM Greenland ice core results imply that Greenland likely provided a modest ~2m contribution towards this global sea level rise. This implies that a WAIS contribution is necessary to explain the LIG sea level maxima. In addition, Antarctic ice core records suggest that Antarctic air temperatures during the LIG were up to 6°C warmer than present. Climate models have been unable to recreate such warmth when only orbital and greenhouse gas forcing are considered. Thus changes to the Antarctic ice sheet and ocean circulation may be required to reconcile model simulations with ice core data. Here we model the isotopic response to differing WAIS deglaciation scenarios, freshwater hosing, and sea ice configurations using a fully coupled General Circulation Model (GCM) to help interpret Antarctic ice core records over the LIG. This approach can help isolate the contribution of individual processes and feedbacks to final isotopic signals recorded in Antarctic ice cores.

  10. Synchronous change of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature during the last deglacial warming.

    PubMed

    Parrenin, F; Masson-Delmotte, V; Köhler, P; Raynaud, D; Paillard, D; Schwander, J; Barbante, C; Landais, A; Wegner, A; Jouzel, J

    2013-03-01

    Understanding the role of atmospheric CO2 during past climate changes requires clear knowledge of how it varies in time relative to temperature. Antarctic ice cores preserve highly resolved records of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature for the past 800,000 years. Here we propose a revised relative age scale for the concentration of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature for the last deglacial warming, using data from five Antarctic ice cores. We infer the phasing between CO2 concentration and Antarctic temperature at four times when their trends change abruptly. We find no significant asynchrony between them, indicating that Antarctic temperature did not begin to rise hundreds of years before the concentration of atmospheric CO2, as has been suggested by earlier studies.

  11. The ancient sun: Fossil record in the earth, moon and meteorites; Proceedings of the Conference, Boulder, CO, October 16-19, 1979

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pepin, R. O. (Editor); Eddy, J. A.; Merrill, R. B.

    1980-01-01

    Papers are presented concerning theories of solar variability and their consequences for luminosity, particle emission and magnetic field changes within the past 4.5 billion years, and on the records of such solar behavior in lunar, meteoritic and terrestrial materials. Specific topics include the neutrino luminosity of the sun, the relation of sunspots to the terrestrial climate of the past 100 years, solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays, the historical record of solar activity, C-14 variations in terrestrial and marine reservoirs, and solar particle fluxes as indicated by track, thermoluminescence and solar wind measurements in lunar rocks. Attention is also given to the spin-down of the solar interior through circulation currents and fluid instabilities, grain surface exposure models in planetary regoliths, rare gases in the solar wind, nitrogen isotopic variations in the lunar regolith, the influence of solar UV radiation on climate, and the pre-main sequence evolution of the sun and evidence of the primordial solar wind in the electromagnetic induction heating of the asteroids and moon.

  12. Differences between Antarctic and non-Antarctic meteorites: An assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Koeberl, C. ); Cassidy, W.A. )

    1991-01-01

    The discovery of a statistically significant number of meteorites in Antarctica over the past 20 years has posed many questions. One of the most intriguing suggestions that came up during the study of the Antarctic samples was that there might be a difference between the parent populations of Antarctic and non-Antarctic samples was that there might be a difference between the parent populations of Antarctic and non-Antarctic meteorites. This interpretation was put forward after the detection of a significant difference in the abundances of volatile and mobile trace elements in H, L, and C chondrites and achondrites. Other major differences include the occurrence of previously rare or unknown meteorites, different meteorite-type frequencies, petrographic characteristics, oxygen isotopic compositions, and smaller average masses. Not all differences between the Antarctic and non-Antarctic meteorite populations can be explained by weathering, pairing, or different collection procedures. Variable trace element abundances and distinct differences in the thermal history and thermoluminescence characteristics have to be interpreted as being pre-terrestrial in origin. Such differences imply the existence of meteoroid streams, whose existence poses problems in the framework of our current knowledge of celestial mechanics. In this paper we summarize the contributions in this series and provide a review of the current state of the question for the reality and cause of differences between Antarctic and non-Antarctic meteorites.

  13. Modes of fossil preservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schopf, J.M.

    1975-01-01

    The processes of geologic preservation are important for understanding the organisms represented by fossils. Some fossil differences are due to basic differences in organization of animals and plants, but the interpretation of fossils has also tended to be influenced by modes of preservation. Four modes of preservation generally can be distinguished: (1) Cellular permineralization ("petrifaction") preserves anatomical detail, and, occasionally, even cytologic structures. (2) Coalified compression, best illustrated by structures from coal but characteristic of many plant fossils in shale, preserves anatomical details in distorted form and produces surface replicas (impressions) on enclosing matrix. (3) Authigenic preservation replicates surface form or outline (molds and casts) prior to distortion by compression and, depending on cementation and timing, may intergrade with fossils that have been subject to compression. (4) Duripartic (hard part) preservation is characteristic of fossil skeletal remains, predominantly animal. Molds, pseudomorphs, or casts may form as bulk replacements following dissolution of the original fossil material, usually by leaching. Classification of the kinds of preservation in fossils will aid in identifying the processes responsible for modifying the fossil remains of both animals and plants. ?? 1975.

  14. Rock magnetic characterization and potential use as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder of fossil Porites corals in Ishigaki Island, Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumagai, Y.; Nakamura, N.; Sato, T.

    2015-12-01

    Radiocarbon (14C) is produced by the cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere and is utilized for reconstructing the past solar activity using tree rings. This 14C production is also controlled by the geomagnetic field, and the short-term (at the ~ 10-100 yr duration) movement of the geomagnetic pole to the low latitude, like geomagnetic jerks, might leads to a higher 14C production rate. In order to reconstruct the past solar activity from the 14C concentration, we should know the movement of geomagnetic pole position and the field intensity in a decadal to centennial time series. Previous reconstructions of geomagnetic paleosecular variation lack to reconstruct the short-term variation of geomagnetic field in a decadal or centennial scale. Annual banded skeletons of hermatipic corals (e.g., Porites) might possess an enormous potential as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder due to their continuous growths through hundreds of years at a rapid rate (up to 2 cm/yr), although usual corals show an extremely weak intensity of remanence and its low stability. Here we found that recently-ceased Porites coral skeletons thrown up on beach of the Ishigaki Island (SW Japan) possess measurable natural remanence intensities and conducted thermal and AF demagnetization of coral skeletons. The characteristic remanence directions of almost all samples are relatively stable with some fluctuations. However, some samples exhibit obviously different remanence directions from its average with calcite peaks of X-ray diffraction analysis. It is indicated that the magnetic mineral assemblage consists of a dominant biogenic-origin single-domain magnetite and a minor detrital component from FORC measurement, FMR measurement and petrological observations by FE-SEM of acid-treated residuals of our corals. Our findings suggest that Porites coral framework samples have a potential use as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder with careful examination of calcite content.

  15. Antarctic ice sheet sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 variations in the early to mid-Miocene.

    PubMed

    Levy, Richard; Harwood, David; Florindo, Fabio; Sangiorgi, Francesca; Tripati, Robert; von Eynatten, Hilmar; Gasson, Edward; Kuhn, Gerhard; Tripati, Aradhna; DeConto, Robert; Fielding, Christopher; Field, Brad; Golledge, Nicholas; McKay, Robert; Naish, Timothy; Olney, Matthew; Pollard, David; Schouten, Stefan; Talarico, Franco; Warny, Sophie; Willmott, Veronica; Acton, Gary; Panter, Kurt; Paulsen, Timothy; Taviani, Marco

    2016-03-29

    Geological records from the Antarctic margin offer direct evidence of environmental variability at high southern latitudes and provide insight regarding ice sheet sensitivity to past climate change. The early to mid-Miocene (23-14 Mya) is a compelling interval to study as global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations were similar to those projected for coming centuries. Importantly, this time interval includes the Miocene Climatic Optimum, a period of global warmth during which average surface temperatures were 3-4 °C higher than today. Miocene sediments in the ANDRILL-2A drill core from the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica, indicate that the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) was highly variable through this key time interval. A multiproxy dataset derived from the core identifies four distinct environmental motifs based on changes in sedimentary facies, fossil assemblages, geochemistry, and paleotemperature. Four major disconformities in the drill core coincide with regional seismic discontinuities and reflect transient expansion of grounded ice across the Ross Sea. They correlate with major positive shifts in benthic oxygen isotope records and generally coincide with intervals when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were at or below preindustrial levels (∼280 ppm). Five intervals reflect ice sheet minima and air temperatures warm enough for substantial ice mass loss during episodes of high (∼500 ppm) atmospheric CO2 These new drill core data and associated ice sheet modeling experiments indicate that polar climate and the AIS were highly sensitive to relatively small changes in atmospheric CO2 during the early to mid-Miocene. PMID:26903644

  16. Antarctic ice sheet sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 variations in the early to mid-Miocene

    PubMed Central

    Levy, Richard; Harwood, David; Florindo, Fabio; Sangiorgi, Francesca; Tripati, Robert; von Eynatten, Hilmar; Tripati, Aradhna; DeConto, Robert; Fielding, Christopher; Field, Brad; Golledge, Nicholas; McKay, Robert; Naish, Timothy; Olney, Matthew; Pollard, David; Schouten, Stefan; Talarico, Franco; Warny, Sophie; Willmott, Veronica; Acton, Gary; Panter, Kurt; Paulsen, Timothy; Taviani, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Geological records from the Antarctic margin offer direct evidence of environmental variability at high southern latitudes and provide insight regarding ice sheet sensitivity to past climate change. The early to mid-Miocene (23–14 Mya) is a compelling interval to study as global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations were similar to those projected for coming centuries. Importantly, this time interval includes the Miocene Climatic Optimum, a period of global warmth during which average surface temperatures were 3–4 °C higher than today. Miocene sediments in the ANDRILL-2A drill core from the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica, indicate that the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) was highly variable through this key time interval. A multiproxy dataset derived from the core identifies four distinct environmental motifs based on changes in sedimentary facies, fossil assemblages, geochemistry, and paleotemperature. Four major disconformities in the drill core coincide with regional seismic discontinuities and reflect transient expansion of grounded ice across the Ross Sea. They correlate with major positive shifts in benthic oxygen isotope records and generally coincide with intervals when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were at or below preindustrial levels (∼280 ppm). Five intervals reflect ice sheet minima and air temperatures warm enough for substantial ice mass loss during episodes of high (∼500 ppm) atmospheric CO2. These new drill core data and associated ice sheet modeling experiments indicate that polar climate and the AIS were highly sensitive to relatively small changes in atmospheric CO2 during the early to mid-Miocene. PMID:26903644

  17. Holocene glacial and climate history of Prince Gustav Channel, northeastern Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sterken, Mieke; Roberts, Stephen J.; Hodgson, Dominic A.; Vyverman, Wim; Balbo, Andrea L.; Sabbe, Koen; Moreton, Steven G.; Verleyen, Elie

    2012-01-01

    The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, as evidenced by a recent increase in the intensity and duration of summer melting, the recession of glaciers and the retreat and collapse of ice shelves. Despite this, only a limited number of well-dated near shore marine and lake sediment based palaeoenvironmental records exist from this region; so our understanding of the longer-term context of this rapid climate change is limited. Here we provide new well-dated constraints on the deglaciation history, and changes in sea ice and climate based on analyses of sedimentological proxies, diatoms and fossil pigments in a sediment core collected from an isolation basin on Beak Island in Prince Gustav Channel, NE Antarctic Peninsula (63°36'S, 57°20'W). Twenty two radiocarbon dates provided a chronology for the core including a minimum modelled age for deglaciation of 10,602 cal yr BP, following the onset of marine sedimentation. Conditions remained cold and perennial sea ice persisted in this part of Prince Gustav Channel until c. 9372 cal yr BP. This was followed by a seasonally open marine environment until at least 6988 cal yr BP, corresponding with the early retreat and disintegration of the ice shelf in southern Prince Gustav Channel. Following isolation of the basin from 6988 cal yr BP a relatively cold climate persisted until 3169 cal yr BP. A Mid-late Holocene climate optimum occurred between 3169 and 2120 cal yr BP, inferred from multiple indicators of increased biological production. This postdates the onset of the Mid-late Holocene climate optimum in the South Shetland Islands (4380 cal yr BP) and the South Orkney Islands (3800 cal yr BP) suggesting that cooler climate systems of the Weddell Sea Gyre to the east of the Peninsula may have buffered the onset of warming. Climate deterioration is inferred from c. 2120 cal yr BP until 543 cal yr BP. This was followed by warming. Superimposed on this warming trend, the instrumental record

  18. Antarctic science preserve polluted

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simarski, Lynn Teo

    Geophysicists are alarmed at the electromagnetic pollution of a research site in the Antarctic specifically set aside to study the ionosphere and magnetosphere. A private New Zealand communications company called Telecom recently constructed a satellite ground station within the boundaries of this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), protected since the mid-1970s. The placement of a commercial facility within this site sets an ominous precedent not only for the sanctity of other SSSIs, but also for Specially Protected Areas—preserves not even open to scientific research, such as certain penguin rookeries.The roughly rectangular, one-by-one-half mile site, located at Arrival Heights not far from McMurdo Station, is one of a number of areas protected under the Antarctic treaty for designated scientific activities. Many sites are set aside for geological or biological research, but this is the only one specifically for physical science.

  19. The Antarctic Planet Interferometer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Swain, Mark R.; Walker, Christopher K.; Traub, Wesley A.; Storey, John W.; CoudeduForesto, Vincent; Fossat, Eric; Vakili, Farrok; Stark, Anthony A.; Lloyd, James P.; Lawson, Peter R.; Burrows, Adam S.; Ireland, Michael; Millan-Gabet, Rafael; vanBelle, Gerard T.; Lane, Benjamin; Vasisht, Gautam; Travouillon, Tony

    2004-01-01

    The Antarctic Planet Interferometer is an instrument concept designed to detect and characterize extrasolar planets by exploiting the unique potential of the best accessible site on earth for thermal infrared interferometry. High-precision interferometric techniques under development for extrasolar planet detection and characterization (differential phase, nulling and astrometry) all benefit substantially from the slow, low-altitude turbulence, low water vapor content, and low temperature found on the Antarctic plateau. At the best of these locations, such as the Concordia base being developed at Dome C, an interferometer with two-meter diameter class apertures has the potential to deliver unique science for a variety of topics, including extrasolar planets, active galactic nuclei, young stellar objects, and protoplanetary disks.

  20. Viruses in Antarctic lakes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kepner, R. L. Jr; Wharton, R. A. Jr; Suttle, C. A.; Wharton RA, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1998-01-01

    Water samples collected from four perennially ice-covered Antarctic lakes during the austral summer of 1996-1997 contained high densities of extracellular viruses. Many of these viruses were found to be morphologically similar to double-stranded DNA viruses that are known to infect algae and protozoa. These constitute the first observations of viruses in perennially ice-covered polar lakes. The abundance of planktonic viruses and data suggesting substantial production potential (relative to bacteria] secondary and photosynthetic primary production) indicate that viral lysis may be a major factor in the regulation of microbial populations in these extreme environments. Furthermore, we suggest that Antarctic lakes may be a reservoir of previously undescribed viruses that possess novel biological and biochemical characteristics.

  1. Microfossils in the Antarctic cold desert: Possible implications for Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedmann, E. I.; Ocampo-Friedmann, R.

    1986-01-01

    In the Ross Desert of Antarctica, the principal life form is the cryptoendolithic microbial community in the near-surface layers of porous sandstone rocks. Biological, geological, and climatic factors interact in a complex and precarious balance, making life possible in an otherwise hostile environment. Once this balance is tipped, fossilization sets in. In the reverse case, new colonization of the rock surface may be initiated. As a result, fossilization is contemporary with modern life and both may be simultaneously present in a mosaic pattern. Also, different stages of fossilization are present. The process of fossilization takes place in a nonaquatic environment. If primitive life ever appeared on Mars, it is possible that with increasing aridity, life withdrew into an endolithic niche similar to that in the Antarctic desert. Fossilization in a nonaquatic environment may have set in with the result that traces of past life could be preserved. If such was the case, the study of the fossilization process in Antarctica may hold useful information for the analysis of Martian samples for microfossils.

  2. Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lindstrom, Marilyn

    2000-01-01

    This newsletter contains something for everyone! It lists classifications of about 440 meteorites mostly from the 1997 and 1998 ANSMET (Antarctic Search for Meteorites) seasons. It also gives descriptions of about 45 meteorites of special petrologic type. These include 1 iron, 17 chondrites (7 CC, 1 EC, 9 OC) and 27 achondrites (25 HED, UR). Most notable are an acapoloite (GRA98028) and an olivine diogenite (GRA98108).

  3. Holocene subsurface temperature variability in the eastern Antarctic continental margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Jung-Hyun; Crosta, Xavier; Willmott, Veronica; Renssen, Hans; Bonnin, Jérôme; Helmke, Peer; Schouten, Stefan; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S.

    2012-03-01

    We reconstructed subsurface (˜45-200 m water depth) temperature variability in the eastern Antarctic continental margin during the late Holocene, using an archaeal lipid-based temperature proxy (TEX86L). Our results reveal that subsurface temperature changes were probably positively coupled to the variability of warmer, nutrient-rich Modified Circumpolar Deep Water (MCDW, deep water of the Antarctic circumpolar current) intrusion onto the continental shelf. The TEX86L record, in combination with previously published climatic records, indicates that this coupling was probably related to the thermohaline circulation, seasonal variability in sea ice extent, sea temperature, and wind associated with high frequency climate dynamics at low-latitudes such as internal El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This in turn suggests a linkage between centennial ENSO-like variability at low-latitudes and intrusion variability of MCDW into the eastern Antarctic continental shelf, which might have further impact on ice sheet evolution.

  4. Thermoluminescence and Antarctic meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sears, D. W. G.; Hasan, F. A.

    1986-01-01

    The level of natural thermoluminescence (TL) in meteorites is the result of competition between build-up, due to exposure to cosmic radiation, and thermal decay. Antarctic meteorites tend to have lower natural TL than non-Antarctic meteorites because of their generally larger terrestrial ages. However, since a few observed falls have low TL due to a recent heating event, such as passage within approximately 0.7 astronomical units of the Sun, this could also be the case for some Antarctic meteorites. Dose rate variations due to shielding, heating during atmospheric passage, and anomalous fading also cause natural TL variations, but the effects are either relatively small, occur infrequently, or can be experimentally circumvented. The TL sensitivity of meteorites reflects the abundance and nature of the feldspar. Thus intense shock, which destroys feldspar, causes the TL sensitivity to decrease by 1 to 2 orders of magnitude, while metamorphism, which generates feldspar through the devitrification of glass, causes TL sensitivity to increase by a factor of approximately 10000. The TL-metamorphism relationship is particularly strong for the lowest levels of metamorphism. The order-disorder transformation in feldspar also affect the TL emission characteristics and thus TL provides a means of paleothermometry.

  5. Antarctic Photochemistry: Uncertainty Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stewart, Richard W.; McConnell, Joseph R.

    1999-01-01

    Understanding the photochemistry of the Antarctic region is important for several reasons. Analysis of ice cores provides historical information on several species such as hydrogen peroxide and sulfur-bearing compounds. The former can potentially provide information on the history of oxidants in the troposphere and the latter may shed light on DMS-climate relationships. Extracting such information requires that we be able to model the photochemistry of the Antarctic troposphere and relate atmospheric concentrations to deposition rates and sequestration in the polar ice. This paper deals with one aspect of the uncertainty inherent in photochemical models of the high latitude troposphere: that arising from imprecision in the kinetic data used in the calculations. Such uncertainties in Antarctic models tend to be larger than those in models of mid to low latitude clean air. One reason is the lower temperatures which result in increased imprecision in kinetic data, assumed to be best characterized at 298K. Another is the inclusion of a DMS oxidation scheme in the present model. Many of the rates in this scheme are less precisely known than are rates in the standard chemistry used in many stratospheric and tropospheric models.

  6. [Helminths of Antarctic fishes].

    PubMed

    Rocka, Anna

    2008-01-01

    Antarctic fishes are represented by sharks, skates (Chondrichthyes) and bony fishes (Teleostei). Teleosts play an important role in the completion of life cycles of many helminth species. They serve as either definitive or intermediate and paratenic hosts. Chondrichthyes are definitive hosts only. Seventy three helminth species occur as the adult stage in fishes: Digenea (45), Cestoda (14), Nematoda (6), Acanthocephala (8), Also, 11 larval stages of Cestoda (7) and Nematoda (4) are known, together with 7 species of Acanthocephala in the cystacanth stage. One digenean species, Otodistomum cestoides, matures in skates. Among cestodes maturing in fishes only one, Parabothriocephalus johnstoni, occurs in a bony fish, Macrourus whitsoni. Antarctic Chondrichthyes are not infected with nematodes and acanthocephalans. Cestode larvae from teleosts belong to Tetraphyllidea (parasites of skates), and Tetrabothriidae and Diphyllobothriidae (parasites of birds and mammals). Larval nematodes represent Anisakidae, parasites of fishes, birds and mammals. Acanthocephalan cystacanths mature in pinnipeds and birds. The majority of parasites maturing in Antarctic fishes are endemics. Only 4 digenean and one nematode species, Hysterothylacium aduncum, are cosmopolitan. All acanthocephalans, almost all digeneans, the majority of cestodes and some nematodes occur mainly or exclusively in benthic fishes. Specificity of the majority of helminths utilizing teleosts as intermediate and/or paratenic hosts is low. Among parasites using fishes as definitive hosts, all Cestoda, most Digenea and Nematoda, and almost all Acanthocephala have a range of hosts restricted to one order or even to 1-2 host species. PMID:18664106

  7. Restoring Fossil Creek

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flaccus, Kathleen; Vlieg, Julie; Marks, Jane C.; LeRoy, Carri J.

    2004-01-01

    Fossil Creek had been dammed for the past 90 years, and plans were underway to restore the stream. The creek runs through Central Arizona and flows from the high plateaus to the desert, cutting through the same formations that form the Grand Canyon. This article discusses the Fossil Creek monitoring project. In this project, students and teachers…

  8. State of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean climate system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mayewski, P. A.; Meredith, M. P.; Summerhayes, C. P.; Turner, J.; Worby, A.; Barrett, P. J.; Casassa, G.; Bertler, N. A. N.; Bracegirdle, T.; Naveira Garabato, A. C.; Bromwich, D.; Campbell, H.; Hamilton, G. S.; Lyons, W. B.; Maasch, K. A.; Aoki, S.; Xiao, C.; van Ommen, Tas

    2009-03-01

    This paper reviews developments in our understanding of the state of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean climate and its relation to the global climate system over the last few millennia. Climate over this and earlier periods has not been stable, as evidenced by the occurrence of abrupt changes in atmospheric circulation and temperature recorded in Antarctic ice core proxies for past climate. Two of the most prominent abrupt climate change events are characterized by intensification of the circumpolar westerlies (also known as the Southern Annular Mode) between ˜6000 and 5000 years ago and since 1200-1000 years ago. Following the last of these is a period of major trans-Antarctic reorganization of atmospheric circulation and temperature between A.D. 1700 and 1850. The two earlier Antarctic abrupt climate change events appear linked to but predate by several centuries even more abrupt climate change in the North Atlantic, and the end of the more recent event is coincident with reorganization of atmospheric circulation in the North Pacific. Improved understanding of such events and of the associations between abrupt climate change events recorded in both hemispheres is critical to predicting the impact and timing of future abrupt climate change events potentially forced by anthropogenic changes in greenhouse gases and aerosols. Special attention is given to the climate of the past 200 years, which was recorded by a network of recently available shallow firn cores, and to that of the past 50 years, which was monitored by the continuous instrumental record. Significant regional climate changes have taken place in the Antarctic during the past 50 years. Atmospheric temperatures have increased markedly over the Antarctic Peninsula, linked to nearby ocean warming and intensification of the circumpolar westerlies. Glaciers are retreating on the peninsula, in Patagonia, on the sub-Antarctic islands, and in West Antarctica adjacent to the peninsula. The penetration of marine

  9. Fossil fuels -- future fuels

    SciTech Connect

    1998-03-01

    Fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- built America`s historic economic strength. Today, coal supplies more than 55% of the electricity, oil more than 97% of the transportation needs, and natural gas 24% of the primary energy used in the US. Even taking into account increased use of renewable fuels and vastly improved powerplant efficiencies, 90% of national energy needs will still be met by fossil fuels in 2020. If advanced technologies that boost efficiency and environmental performance can be successfully developed and deployed, the US can continue to depend upon its rich resources of fossil fuels.

  10. Landscape planning for the future: using fossil records to independently validate potential threats, opportunities and likely future range-shifts for socio-economically valuable plant species in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macias Fauria, M.; Willis, K. J.

    2011-12-01

    Bioclimatic Envelope Models (BEMs) for a set of socio-economically important tree species in Europe were independently validated using a hindcasting approach and fossil pollen records spanning the last 1000 years, including the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the 20th Century warming (PRES). The aim was to determine the accuracy of combining BEMs and palaeoecological data to predict continental-scale changes in distribution, and the availability of fossil data to hindcast economically important species. Eight types of BEMs were implemented in this study, covering most state-of-the-art modelling techniques. Present and palaeoclimatic data were obtained from the Atmosphere-Ocean Global Circulation Model ECHO-G. Last millenium was divided into three climatically distinct periods: MWP (AD 900-1300), LIA (AD 1600-1850) and PRES (AD 1900-2000). Models were calibrated for each period and validated with climatic and pollen data from the remaining periods. Successfully validated models were projected onto a 1-degree European grid, allowing the reconstruction of past modelled species distributions. BEMs were successfully validated with independent data. Strong model performance suggested high potential for BEMs to be used to model future species distributions, and highlighted the importance of palaeoecological data to independently validate these models, taking into account the scales at which this data operates. Although valid, BEMs showed poorer performance with species heavily managed and/or growing in heterogeneous terrain or with discontinuous distributions. Last millennium in Europe was characterized by an increase of crop woody species and a decline of forest species, suggesting an increasing land use by humans. The same approach was then implemented to a set of sub-Saharan plant species of high importance as a source of food, wood, and other ecosystem services such as carbon storage or erosion protection. The African study covered most of the

  11. Improving Antarctic infrastructure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2012-07-01

    Noting that U.S. activities in Antarctica “are very well managed but suffer from an aging infrastructure, lack of a capital budget, and the effects of operating in an extremely unforgiving environment,” a 23 July report from the U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel recommends a number of measures to improve the infrastructure, logistics, and other concerns. The panel's recommendations include continued use of the McMurdo, South Pole, and Palmer stations as the primary U.S. science and logistics hubs in Antarctica—because there are no reasonable alternatives, according to the panel—while upgrading or replacing some facilities, restoring the U.S. polar ocean feet, implementing state of-the-art logistics and transportation support, and establishing a long-term facilities capital plan and budget for the U.S. Antarctic Program. “The essence of our findings is that the lack of capital budgeting has placed operations at McMurdo, and to a somewhat lesser extent at Palmer Station, in unnecessary jeopardy—at least in terms of prolonged inefficiency due to deteriorating or otherwise inadequate physical assets,” the panel wrote in the cover letter accompanying the report entitled, More and Better Science in Antarctica Through Increased Logistical Effectiveness. “The Antarctica Blue Ribbon Panel encourages us to take a hard look at how we support Antarctic science and to make the structural changes, however difficult in the current fiscal environment, that will allow us to do more science in the future,” said U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Subra Suresh.

  12. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

    Xiao, S; Yuan, X; Knoll, A H

    2000-12-01

    Phosphatic sedimentary rocks preserve a record of early animal life different from and complementary to that provided by Ediacaran fossils in terminal Proterozoic sandstones and shales. Phosphorites of the Doushantuo Formation, South China, contain eggs, egg cases, and stereoblastulae that document animals of unspecified phylogenetic position; small fossils containing putative spicules may specifically record the presence of sponges. Microfossils recently interpreted as the preserved gastrulae of cnidarian and bilaterian metazoans can alternatively be interpreted as conventional algal cysts and/or egg cases modified by diagenetic processes known to have had a pervasive influence on Doushantuo phosphorites. Regardless of this interpretation, evidence for Doushantuo eumetazoans is provided by millimeter-scale tubes that display tabulation and apical budding characteristic of some Cnidaria, especially the extinct tabulates. Like some Ediacaran remains, these small, benthic, colonial fossils may represent stem-group eumetazoans or stem-group cnidarians that lived in the late Proterozoic ocean. PMID:11095754

  13. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

    Xiao, S; Yuan, X; Knoll, A H

    2000-12-01

    Phosphatic sedimentary rocks preserve a record of early animal life different from and complementary to that provided by Ediacaran fossils in terminal Proterozoic sandstones and shales. Phosphorites of the Doushantuo Formation, South China, contain eggs, egg cases, and stereoblastulae that document animals of unspecified phylogenetic position; small fossils containing putative spicules may specifically record the presence of sponges. Microfossils recently interpreted as the preserved gastrulae of cnidarian and bilaterian metazoans can alternatively be interpreted as conventional algal cysts and/or egg cases modified by diagenetic processes known to have had a pervasive influence on Doushantuo phosphorites. Regardless of this interpretation, evidence for Doushantuo eumetazoans is provided by millimeter-scale tubes that display tabulation and apical budding characteristic of some Cnidaria, especially the extinct tabulates. Like some Ediacaran remains, these small, benthic, colonial fossils may represent stem-group eumetazoans or stem-group cnidarians that lived in the late Proterozoic ocean.

  14. Dynamic Antarctic ice-sheet response to deglacial meltwater pulses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, Michael; Clark, Peter U.; Timmermann, Axel; Lohmann, Gerrit; Kuhn, Gerhard; Sprenk, Daniela; Gladstone, Rupert

    2013-04-01

    Reconstruction of the last global sea level rise faces uncertainties because only a few robust data evidences are available for Antarctic ice sheets. Deglacial dynamics have mostly been inferred from shallow-water cores on the shelf, where decisive changes are either erased by grounding ice or occur in condensed, lithologically complex successions with partially reversed and generally unreliable 14C ages. Previous modeling studies reconstruct a late ice-sheet retreat starting around 12 ka BP and ending around 7 ka BP with a large impact of an unstable West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and a small impact of a stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). However, new findings from two deepwater cores from the Scotia Sea challenge these reconstructions and call for a principal revision of the Antarctic deglacial history. The well-dated sites (Weber et al., 2012, Quaternary Science Reviews) provide the first integrative and representative record of Antarctic Ice Sheet instability. They are located in the central transport route of virtually all Antarctic icebergs, the so-called Iceberg Alley, and demonstrate a highly dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet during the last deglaciation with eight distinct phases of enhanced iceberg routing, dubbed Antarctic Ice Sheet Events (AIE), in contrast to existing models of a late and monotonous ice-sheet retreat which implied only little contribution to the last, natural, sea-level rise 19,000 to 9,000 years ago. We found the first direct evidence for an Antarctic contribution to Meltwater Pulse 1A in the flux rates of ice-rafted debris. Using an ensemble of transient deglacial model simulations we could show that increased export of warmer Circumpolar Deep Water towards Antarctica contributed to Antarctic Ice Sheet melt by ocean thermal forcing (Weber et al., Science, in review). These new findings hold the potential to substantially revise and improve our understanding of the transient response of the ice sheet to external and internal forcings

  15. Biodiversity and biogeography of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic mollusca

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Linse, Katrin; Griffiths, Huw J.; Barnes, David K. A.; Clarke, Andrew

    2006-04-01

    For many decades molluscan data have been critical to the establishment of the concept of a global-scale increase in species richness from the poles to the equator. Low polar diversity is key to this latitudinal cline in diversity. Here we investigate richness patterns in the two largest classes of molluscs at both local and regional scales throughout the Southern Ocean. We show that biodiversity is very patchy in the Southern Ocean (at the 1000-km scale) and test the validity of historical biogeographic sub-regions and provinces. We used multivariate analysis of biodiversity patterns at species, genus and family levels to define richness hotspots within the Southern Ocean and transition areas. This process identified the following distinct sub-regions in the Southern Ocean: Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea, East Antarctic—Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctic—Enderby Land, East Antarctic—Wilkes Land, Ross Sea, and the independent Scotia arc and sub Antarctic islands. Patterns of endemism were very different between the bivalves and gastropods. On the basis of distributional ranges and radiation centres of evolutionarily successful families and genera we define three biogeographic provinces in the Southern Ocean: (1) the continental high Antarctic province excluding the Antarctic Peninsula, (2) the Scotia Sea province including the Antarctic Peninsula, and (3) the sub Antarctic province comprising the islands in the vicinity of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

  16. The 1991 Antarctic ozone hole - TOMS observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Krueger, Arlin; Schoeberl, Mark; Newman, Paul; Stolarski, Richard

    1992-01-01

    The 1991 Antarctic springtime ozone decline, as measured by the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), was similar to those of earlier deep ozone hole years, 1987, 1989, and 1990. The minimum total ozone value was recorded on October 5, 1991 at 108 Dobson units near the South Pole. This was 8 DU lower than in any of the earlier years. Four of the last five years have exhibited an extensive, deep ozone hole. The area of the hole was about the same as in 1987, 1989, and 1990. The recovery of the low total ozone values occurred in mid-November as the polar vortex broke up.

  17. 'unlocking the Archive': Using Digital Photogrammetry of Modern Airborne Aerial Photography for Analysis of Historic Aerial Photographs to Extend the Record of Glacier Mass Balance Change on the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clarke, L. E.; Miller, P.; Fox, A. J.; Mills, J. P.

    2014-12-01

    Changes to glacier fronts and ice shelves and glacier acceleration are well documented, but there are almost no data on mass changes for the more than 400 glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula. Satellite data have been used to calculate change over the last 3 decades, but methods to quantify this over longer timescales have eluded researchers. However there is an archive of aerial photography dating back to the 1940s, this has been largely ignored due to the range of technical problems associated with deriving quantitative data from historic imagery and the lack of ground control data. This presentation demonstrates how advances in photogrammetric processing and capture of modern aerial photography has allowed this archive to be 'unlocked'. Accurate photogrammetric reconstruction from aerial photographs traditionally requires known ground control points acquired in the field; however, in remote and inaccessible areas, such as the Antarctic Peninsula, this is often impossible. A method for providing control for historic photos without fieldwork, by linking them to a newly acquired, highly accurate photogrammetric model adjusted through direct kinematic GPS positioning of the camera has been applied to a number of glaciers across the Antarctic Peninsula. This presentation will outline the photogrammetric workflow and associated errors to highlight the suitability of this technique and demonstrate the data that can be obtained. Accurate measurements of surface elevation change on glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula over a 70 year time span have enabled quantification of spatial and temporal patterns of change. The results show a general trend of glacier retreat, but with thinning of the glacier terminus marginally offset by accumulation in the upper areas of the glacier. The use of this technique opens up possibilities for 'unlocking the archive' in other remote glacial areas where historic aerial photography exists but the collection of ground control points is limited.

  18. Stardust in Antarctic Micrometeorites

    SciTech Connect

    Yada, Toru; Floss, Christine; Stadermann, Frank J.; Zinner, E.; Nakamura, T.; Noguchi, T.; Lea, Alan S.

    2008-03-07

    We report the discovery of presolar silicate, oxide (hibonite) and (possibly) SiC grains from four Antarctic micrometeorites. The oxygen isotopic compositions of the eighteen presolar silicate (and one oxide) grains found are consistent with those observed previously in primitive meteorites and interplanetary dust particles, and indicate origins in oxygen-rich red giant or asymptotic giant branch stars. Four grains with anomalous C isotopic compositions were also detected. 12C/13C as well as Si ratios are similar to those of mainstream SiC grains; the N isotopic composition of one grain is also consistent with a mainstream SiC classification. Presolar silicate grains were found in three of the seven AMMs studied, and are heterogeneously distributed within these micrometeorites. Fourteen of the 18 presolar silicate grains and 3 of the 4 C-anomalous grains were found within one AMM, T98G8. The presence of magnesiowüstite, which forms mainly through the decomposition of carbonates, in AMMs without presolar silicates, and its absence in the presolar silicate-bearing micrometeorites, suggests that parent body processes (specifically aqueous alteration) may determine the presence or absence of presolar silicates in Antarctic micrometeorites.

  19. Gazetteer of the Antarctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,; ,; ,; ,

    1989-01-01

    This gazetteer lists antarctic names approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names and by the Secretary of the Interior. The Board is the interagency body created by law to standardize and promulgate geographic names for official purposes. As the official standard for names in Antarctica, the gazetteer assures accuracy and uniformity for the specialist and the general user alike. Unlike the last (1981) edition, now out of print, the book contains neither historical notes nor textual descriptions of features. The gazetteer contains names of features in Antarctica and the area extending northward to the Antarctic Convergence that have been approved by the Board as recently as mid-1989. It supersedes previous Board gazetteers for the area. For each geographic feature, the book contains the name, cross references if any, and latitude and longitude. Coverage corresponds to that of maps at the scale of 1:250,000 or larger for islands, coastal Antarctica, and mountains and ranges of the continent. Much of the interior of Antarctica, an ice plateau, has been mapped at a smaller scale and is nearly devoid of features and toponyms. All of the names are for natural features; scientific stations are not listed. For the names of submarine features, reference should be made to the Gazetteer of Undersea Features, U.S. Board on Geographic Names (1981).

  20. Fossil Record of Precambrian Life on Land

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knauth, Paul

    2000-01-01

    The argument that the earth's early ocean was up to two times modern salinity was published in 'Nature' and presented at the 1998 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Toronto. The argument is bolstered by chemical data for fluid inclusions in Archean black smokers. The inclusions were 1.7 times the modern salinity causing the authors to interpret the parent fluids as evaporite brines (in a deep marine setting). I reinterpreted the data in terms of the predicted value of high Archean salinities. If the arguments I presented are on track, early life was either halophilic or non-marine. Halophiles are not among the most primitive organisms based on RNA sequencing, so here is an a priori argument that non-marine environments may have been the site of most early biologic evolution. This result carries significant implications for the issue of past life on Mars or current life on the putative sub-ice oceans on Europa and possibly Callisto. If the Cl/H2O ratio on these objects is similar to that of the earth, then oceans and oceanic sediments are probably not the preferred sites for early life. On Mars, this means that non-marine deposits such as caliche in basalt may be an overlooked potential sample target.

  1. Globular cluster formation - The fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murray, Stephen D.; Lin, Douglas N. C.

    1992-01-01

    Properties of globular clusters which have remained unchanged since their formation are used to infer the internal pressures, cooling times, and dynamical times of the protocluster clouds immediately prior to the onset of star formation. For all globular clusters examined, it is found that the cooling times are much less than the dynamical times, implying that the protoclusters must have been maintained in thermal equilibrium by external heat sources, with fluxes consistent with those found in previous work, and giving the observed rho-T relation. Self-gravitating clouds cannot be stably heated, so that the Jeans mass forms an upper limit to the cluster masses. The observed dependence of protocluster pressure upon galactocentric position implies that the protocluster clouds were in hydrostatic equilibrium after their formation. The pressure dependence is well fitted by that expected for a quasi-statically evolving background hot gas, shock heated to its virial temperature. The observations and inferences are combined with previous theoretical work to construct a picture of globular cluster formation.

  2. Ozone variability over Antarctic continent

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Concepcion Parrondo, Mā; Yela, Margarita; Gil, Manuel; Ochoa, Hector

    2010-05-01

    Ozonesoundings data from Antarctic Belgrano Station (78°S, 34°W) carried out since 1999 are used to analyze the inter-annual variability of ozone in the troposphere and lower stratosphere. Tropospheric ozone has been calculated integrating the ozone content from the ground up to the ozone tropopause for each ozonesounding using Betan et al. [1996], definition. The annual cycle of the tropospheric ozone values shows an increase from summer to winter months. In August, tropospheric ozone almost doubles the values in February. Dynamical and chemical factors responsible of this behaviour are presented. Ozone loss rate during September in the lower stratosphere for the eleven year record is presented. The highest inter-annual ozone variability in observed during November and December in the lower stratosphere (12-27 km). Minimum ozone values concentration in the 20-27 km layer are found in November 2008. Mean 2008 December 12-20 km partial column remained below 40 DU, lower by 35% than the 2000-2005 mean. We present the relationship between the potential vorticity, timing of the vortex breakup date, the strength of the vortex and ozone concentration at different levels in an attempt to find dynamical features responsible for the observed behavior.

  3. The spatial extent and dynamics of the Antarctic Cold Reversal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pedro, Joel B.; Bostock, Helen C.; Bitz, Cecilia M.; He, Feng; Vandergoes, Marcus J.; Steig, Eric J.; Chase, Brian M.; Krause, Claire E.; Rasmussen, Sune O.; Markle, Bradley R.; Cortese, Giuseppe

    2016-01-01

    Antarctic ice cores show that a millennial-scale cooling event, the Antarctic Cold Reversal (14,700 to 13,000 years ago), interrupted the last deglaciation. The Antarctic Cold Reversal coincides with the Bølling-Allerød warm stage in the North Atlantic, providing an example of the inter-hemispheric coupling of abrupt climate change generally referred to as the bipolar seesaw. However, the ocean-atmosphere dynamics governing this coupling are debated. Here we examine the extent and expression of the Antarctic Cold Reversal in the Southern Hemisphere using a synthesis of 84 palaeoclimate records. We find that the cooling is strongest in the South Atlantic and all regions south of 40° S. At the same time, the terrestrial tropics and subtropics show abrupt hydrologic variations that are significantly correlated with North Atlantic climate changes. Our transient global climate model simulations indicate that the observed extent of Antarctic Cold Reversal cooling can be explained by enhanced northward ocean heat transport from the South to North Atlantic, amplified by the expansion and thickening of sea ice in the Southern Ocean. The hydrologic variations at lower latitudes result from an opposing enhancement of southward heat transport in the atmosphere mediated by the Hadley circulation. Our findings reconcile previous arguments about the re