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Sample records for antarctic fossil record

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Microbial Trace-Fossil Formation, Biogenous, and Abiotic Weathering in the Antarctic Cold Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Imre Friedmann, E.; Weed, Rebecca

    1987-05-01

    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.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Friedmann, E I; Weed, R

    1987-05-08

    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 fossil 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. The fossil record of the sixth extinction.

    PubMed

    Plotnick, Roy E; Smith, Felisa A; Lyons, S Kathleen

    2016-05-01

    Comparing the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis with those in the fossil record is difficult without an understanding of differential preservation. Integrating data from palaeontological databases with information on IUCN status, ecology and life history characteristics of contemporary mammals, we demonstrate that only a small and biased fraction of threatened species (< 9%) have a fossil record, compared with 20% of non-threatened species. We find strong taphonomic biases related to body size and geographic range. Modern species with a fossil record tend to be large and widespread and were described in the 19(th) century. The expected magnitude of the current extinction based only on species with a fossil record is about half of that of one based on all modern species; values for genera are similar. The record of ancient extinctions may be similarly biased, with many species having originated and gone extinct without leaving a tangible record.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    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

  13. Methane isotope records from Antarctic firn air

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sowers, T. A.; Battle, M.

    2007-12-01

    and isotopic) to accumulate deeper in the firn relative to the lighter gases. We use δ15N of N2 measurements to identify the depth of the convective zone and to correct for gravitational settling. We developed a physically based air transport model to account for the diffusive properties of the firn that allows us to test various historical records spanning the 20th century in a forward modeling exercise. Preliminary results suggest atmospheric δ13C and δ D values near the start of the 20th century were 1.8‰ and 11‰ lower than present day values, respectively. The increasing isotope trends throughout the last century are primarily the result of increased CH4 emissions with elevated isotope signatures (e.g. fossil fuel and biomass burning).

  14. The circum-Antarctic sedimentary record; a dowsing rod for Antarctic ice in the Eocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scher, H.

    2012-12-01

    Arguments for short-lived Antarctic glacial events during the Eocene (55-34 Ma) are compelling, however the paleoceanographic proxy records upon which these arguments are based (e.g., benthic δ18O, eustatic sea level, deep sea carbonate deposition) are global signals in which the role of Antarctic ice volume variability is ambiguous. That is to say, the proxy response to ice volume may be masked other processes. As a result broad correlations between proxies for ice volume are lacking during suspected Eocene glacial events. I will present a more direct approach for detecting Antarctic ice sheets in the Eocene; utilizing provenance information derived from the radiogenic isotopic composition of the terrigenous component of marine sediments near Antarctica. The method relies on knowledge that marine sediments represent a mixture derived from different basement terrains with different isotopic fingerprints. A key issue when using sedimentary deposits to characterize continental sediment sources is to deconvolve different sources from the mixed signal of the bulk sample. The pioneering work of Roy et al. (2007) and van de Flierdt et al. (2007) represents a major advance in Antarctic provenance studies. It is now known that the isotopic composition of neodymium (Nd) and hafnium (Hf) in modern circum-Antarctic sediments are distributed in a pattern that mimics the basement age of sediment sources around Antarctica. For this study I selected two Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) sites on southern Kerguelen Plateau (ODP Sites 738 and 748) because of their proximity to Prydz Bay, where Precambrian sediment sources contribute to extremely nonradiogenic isotopic signatures in modern sediments in the Prydz Bay region. New detrital Nd isotope records from these sediment cores reveal an Nd isotope excursion at the Bartonian/Priabonian boundary (ca. 37 Ma) that coincides with a 0.5 ‰ increase in benthic foram δ18O values. Detrital sediment ɛNd values are around -12 in intervals

  15. Cladistics and the hominid fossil record.

    PubMed

    Trinkaus, E

    1990-09-01

    Cladistic methodology has become common in phylogenetic analyses of the hominid fossil record. Even though it has correctly placed emphasis on morphology for the primary determination of affinities between groups and on explicit statements regarding traits and methods employed in making phylogenetic assessments, cladistics nonetheless has limitations when applied to the hominid fossil record. These include 1) the uncritical assumption of parsimony, 2) uncertainties in the identification of homoplasies, 3) difficulties in the appropriate delimitation of samples for analysis, 4) failure to account for normal patterns of variation, 5) methodological problems with the appropriate identification of morphological traits involving issues of biological relevance, intercorrelation, primary versus secondary characters, and the use of continuous variables, 6) issues of polarity identification, and 7) problems in hypothesis testing. While cladistics has focused attention on alternative phylogenetic reconstructions in hominid paleontology and on explicit statements regarding their morphological and methodological underpinnings, its biological limitations are too abundant for it to be more than a heuristic device for the preliminary ordering of complex human paleontological and neonatological data.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

    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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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)

  3. 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

  4. The earliest fossil record of the animals and its significance.

    PubMed

    Budd, Graham E

    2008-04-27

    The fossil record of the earliest animals has been enlivened in recent years by a series of spectacular discoveries, including embryos, from the Ediacaran to the Cambrian, but many issues, not least of dating and interpretation, remain controversial. In particular, aspects of taphonomy of the earliest fossils require careful consideration before pronouncements about their affinities. Nevertheless, a reasonable case can now be made for the extension of the fossil record of at least basal animals (sponges and perhaps cnidarians) to a period of time significantly before the beginning of the Cambrian. The Cambrian explosion itself still seems to represent the arrival of the bilaterians, and many new fossils in recent years have added significant data on the origin of the three major bilaterian clades. Why animals appear so late in the fossil record is still unclear, but the recent trend to embrace rising oxygen levels as being the proximate cause remains unproven and may even involve a degree of circularity.

  5. 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

  6. On the fossil record of the Gekkota.

    PubMed

    Daza, Juan D; Bauer, Aaron M; Snively, Eric D

    2014-03-01

    Gekkota is often interpreted as sister to all remaining squamates, exclusive of dibamids, or as sister to Autarchoglossa. It is the only diverse lineage of primarily nocturnal lizards and includes some of the smallest amniotes. The skeleton of geckos has often been interpreted as paedomorphic and/or "primitive" but these lizards also display a wide range of structural specializations of the postcranium, including modifications associated with both scansorial locomotion and limb reduction. Although the concept of "Gekkota" has been variously applied by different authors, we here apply a rigorous apomorphy based definition, recent advances in gekkotan morphology and phylogenetics, and diverse comparative material to provide a comprehensive assessment of 28 known pre-Quaternary geckos, updating the last such review, published three decades ago. Fossils evaluated include both sedimentary fossils and amber-embedded specimens. Known Cretaceous geckos are exclusively Asian and exhibit character combinations not seen in any living forms. Cenozoic gekkotans derive from sites around the world, although Europe is especially well represented. Paleogene geckos are largely known from disarticulated remains and show similarities to Sphaerodactylidae and Diplodactylidae, although resemblances may be plesiomorphic in some cases. Many Neogene gekkotans are referable to living families or even genera, but their geographic occurrences are often extralimital to those of modern groups, as is consistent with paleoclimatic conditions. The phylogenetic placement of fossil gekkotans has important repercusions for timetree calibration, but at present only a small number of fossils can be confidently assigned to even family level groupings, limiting their utility in this regard.

  7. 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.

  8. Fossils of parasites: what can the fossil record tell us about the evolution of parasitism?

    PubMed

    Leung, Tommy L F

    2017-02-01

    Parasites are common in many ecosystems, yet because of their nature, they do not fossilise readily and are very rare in the geological record. This makes it challenging to study the evolutionary transition that led to the evolution of parasitism in different taxa. Most studies on the evolution of parasites are based on phylogenies of extant species that were constructed based on morphological and molecular data, but they give us an incomplete picture and offer little information on many important details of parasite-host interactions. The lack of fossil parasites also means we know very little about the roles that parasites played in ecosystems of the past even though it is known that parasites have significant influences on many ecosystems. The goal of this review is to bring attention to known fossils of parasites and parasitism, and provide a conceptual framework for how research on fossil parasites can develop in the future. Despite their rarity, there are some fossil parasites which have been described from different geological eras. These fossils include the free-living stage of parasites, parasites which became fossilised with their hosts, parasite eggs and propagules in coprolites, and traces of pathology inflicted by parasites on the host's body. Judging from the fossil record, while there were some parasite-host relationships which no longer exist in the present day, many parasite taxa which are known from the fossil record seem to have remained relatively unchanged in their general morphology and their patterns of host association over tens or even hundreds of millions of years. It also appears that major evolutionary and ecological transitions throughout the history of life on Earth coincided with the appearance of certain parasite taxa, as the appearance of new host groups also provided new niches for potential parasites. As such, fossil parasites can provide additional data regarding the ecology of their extinct hosts, since many parasites have

  9. Estimating times of extinction in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Marshall, Charles R.

    2016-01-01

    Because the fossil record is incomplete, the last fossil of a taxon is a biased estimate of its true time of extinction. Numerous methods have been developed in the palaeontology literature for estimating the true time of extinction using ages of fossil specimens. These methods, which typically give a confidence interval for estimating the true time of extinction, differ in the assumptions they make and the nature and amount of data they require. We review the literature on such methods and make some recommendations for future directions. PMID:27122005

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  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. 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)

  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. 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.

  16. 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)

  17. 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.

  18. The quality of the fossil record of Mesozoic birds.

    PubMed

    Fountaine, Toby M R; Benton, Michael J; Dyke, Gareth J; Nudds, Robert L

    2005-02-07

    The Mesozoic fossil record has proved critical for understanding the early evolution and subsequent radiation of birds. Little is known, however, about its relative completeness: just how 'good' is the fossil record of birds from the Mesozoic? This question has come to prominence recently in the debate over differences in estimated dates of origin of major clades of birds from molecular and palaeontological data. Using a dataset comprising all known fossil taxa, we present analyses that go some way towards answering this question. Whereas avian diversity remains poorly represented in the Mesozoic, many relatively complete bird specimens have been discovered. New taxa have been added to the phylogenetic tree of basal birds, but its overall shape remains constant, suggesting that the broad outlines of early avian evolution are consistently represented: no stage in the Mesozoic is characterized by an overabundance of scrappy fossils compared with more complete specimens. Examples of Neornithes (modern orders) are known from later stages in the Cretaceous, but their fossils are rarer and scrappier than those of basal bird groups, which we suggest is a biological, rather than a geological, signal.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Preservational bias controls the fossil record of pterosaurs.

    PubMed

    Dean, Christopher D; Mannion, Philip D; Butler, Richard J

    2016-01-14

    Pterosaurs, a Mesozoic group of flying archosaurs, have become a focal point for debates pertaining to the impact of sampling biases on our reading of the fossil record, as well as the utility of sampling proxies in palaeodiversity reconstructions. The completeness of the pterosaur fossil specimens themselves potentially provides additional information that is not captured in existing sampling proxies, and might shed new light on the group's evolutionary history. Here we assess the quality of the pterosaur fossil record via a character completeness metric based on the number of phylogenetic characters that can be scored for all known skeletons of 172 valid species, with averaged completeness values calculated for each geological stage. The fossil record of pterosaurs is observed to be strongly influenced by the occurrence and distribution of Lagerstätten. Peaks in completeness correlate with Lagerstätten deposits, and a recovered correlation between completeness and observed diversity is rendered non-significant when Lagerstätten species are excluded. Intervals previously regarded as potential extinction events are shown to lack Lagerstätten and exhibit low completeness values: as such, the apparent low diversity in these intervals might be at least partly the result of poor fossil record quality. A positive correlation between temporal patterns in completeness of Cretaceous pterosaurs and birds further demonstrates the prominent role that Lagerstätten deposits have on the preservation of smaller bodied organisms, contrasting with a lack of correlation with the completeness of large-bodied sauropodomorphs. However, we unexpectedly find a strong correlation between sauropodomorph and pterosaur completeness within the Triassic-Jurassic, but not the Cretaceous, potentially relating to a shared shift in environmental preference and thus preservation style through time. This study highlights the importance of understanding the relationship between various

  2. Preservational bias controls the fossil record of pterosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Dean, Christopher D.; Mannion, Philip D.; Butler, Richard J.

    2016-01-01

    Pterosaurs, a Mesozoic group of flying archosaurs, have become a focal point for debates pertaining to the impact of sampling biases on our reading of the fossil record, as well as the utility of sampling proxies in palaeodiversity reconstructions. The completeness of the pterosaur fossil specimens themselves potentially provides additional information that is not captured in existing sampling proxies, and might shed new light on the group’s evolutionary history. Here we assess the quality of the pterosaur fossil record via a character completeness metric based on the number of phylogenetic characters that can be scored for all known skeletons of 172 valid species, with averaged completeness values calculated for each geological stage. The fossil record of pterosaurs is observed to be strongly influenced by the occurrence and distribution of Lagerstätten. Peaks in completeness correlate with Lagerstätten deposits, and a recovered correlation between completeness and observed diversity is rendered non-significant when Lagerstätten species are excluded. Intervals previously regarded as potential extinction events are shown to lack Lagerstätten and exhibit low completeness values: as such, the apparent low diversity in these intervals might be at least partly the result of poor fossil record quality. A positive correlation between temporal patterns in completeness of Cretaceous pterosaurs and birds further demonstrates the prominent role that Lagerstätten deposits have on the preservation of smaller bodied organisms, contrasting with a lack of correlation with the completeness of large-bodied sauropodomorphs. However, we unexpectedly find a strong correlation between sauropodomorph and pterosaur completeness within the Triassic–Jurassic, but not the Cretaceous, potentially relating to a shared shift in environmental preference and thus preservation style through time. This study highlights the importance of understanding the relationship between various

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. The cambrian fossil record and the origin of the phyla.

    PubMed

    Budd, Graham E

    2003-02-01

    Whilst the "Cambrian Explosion" continues to attract much attention from a wide range of earth and life scientists, the detailed patterns exhibited by the terminal Proterozoic-Early Cambrian biotas remain unclear, for reasons of systematics, biostratigraphy and biogeography. In particular, recent changes in absolute dating of the Cambrian have refined the period of time that the fossil record might be of most help in revealing the dynamics of the undoubted radiation taking place at this time. The famous exceptionally preserved faunas seem to be rather close temporally, and as yet reveal little about the earliest and critical period of evolution, deep in the Cambrian. Nevertheless, the most parsimonious interpretation of the Cambrian fossil record is that it represents a broadly accurate temporal picture of the origins of the bilaterian phyla.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. The fossil record and macroevolutionary history of the beetles

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Dena M.; Marcot, Jonathan D.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25788597

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. At the origin of animals: the revolutionary cambrian fossil record.

    PubMed

    Budd, Graham E

    2013-09-01

    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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Holocene Temperature Record of the North Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Willmott, V.; Kim, J.; Domack, E. W.; Sinninghe Damsté, J. S.; Schouten, S.

    2009-12-01

    Because sea temperature plays a critical role not only on the stability of ice shelves and sea ice formation, but as well on the marine ecology of polar areas, a lot of effort has been placed to reconstruct the past climate using proxies from ice, marine and terrestrial records. However, it has been difficult to apply traditional paleoenvironmental proxies in polar areas because of problems that include insufficient dating of recovered sequences, complexities introduced by glacial activity (i.e. glacial erosion), sea-ice cover and poor calcium carbonate preservation. Despite these difficulties, some paleoenvironmental records have been obtained so far although paleotemperature records are still very scarce. The TEX86 (TetraEther indeX of lipids with 86 carbon atoms), is an organic-based paleothermomether (Schouten et al., 2002) based on the relative distribution of archaeal lipids (GDGTs) biosynthesized by marine Crenarchaeota, one of the main prokaryotes of today’s oceans. Although the use of TEX86 in polar areas may be promising because it can be measured in carbonate poor sediments, its global correlation with sea surface temperature (SST) (Kim et al., 2008) revealed that the relationship between TEX86 values and SSTs over the entire temperature range was non-linear, mainly because below 5°C, i.e. in the polar oceans, changes in TEX86 were relatively minor with temperature. Recently, we obtained new insights on the relation between isoprenoid GDGTs and SST in polar oceans using an extended core-top sediment dataset which has lead to a new GDGT index which minimizes the scatter at low temperatures. We applied this new index to obtain a detailed Holocene SST record from well dated sediment cores from the north western Antarctic Peninsula. Temperature ranges show absolute temperature estimates (between -1 and 6 °C) in agreement with present day temperature range, reaching warmer temperatures between 6 to 8 ky. Cooler temperatures of about 2 °C dominates the

  2. 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

  3. A 300 yr ice-core black carbon record from Queen Maud Land, East Antarctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bisiaux, M. M.; Edwards, R.; McConnell, J. R.; Anschuetz, H.

    2009-12-01

    Black carbon aerosols (BC), from Southern Hemisphere biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion are deposited to the Antarctic ice cap recording a history of BC over the remote Southern Hemisphere. Here we present a 300 yr ice-core BC record from Queen Maud Land, East Antarctica spanning calendar years 1706 to 1997. The 30.3 m core was drilled in 2007 at site NUS07-1 (73.724 S, 7.940 E, 3188 m) as part of the Norwegian-US Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica. BC particles < 500 nm in diameter were determined using a continuous ice-core melter system coupled to a liquid to aerosol, single particle soot photometer. The mean ice-core BC concentration was 0.170 ng g-1 (n = 292) with a standard deviation of 0.083 ng g-1. The record displays decadal and annual variability with a significant (AR-1, 95%) ~50 yr periodicity and ENSO like periodicities from 3 to 8 yr. Reconstruction of the time series using the 50 yr periodicity reveals similarities with Southern Hemisphere air temperature. Strong El-Nino periods were generally associated with a reduction in BC concentration suggesting changes in atmospheric circulation or reduced emissions from tropical dry season fires.

  4. 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.

  5. 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".

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. '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

  11. 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".

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Old World fossil record of modern-type hummingbirds.

    PubMed

    Mayr, Gerald

    2004-05-07

    I report on tiny skeletons of stem-group hummingbirds from the early Oligocene of Germany that are of essentially modern appearance and exhibit morphological specializations toward nectarivory and hovering flight. These are the oldest fossils of modern-type hummingbirds, which had not previously been reported from the Old World. The findings demonstrate that early hummingbird evolution was not restricted to the New World. They further suggest that bird-flower coevolution dates back to the early Oligocene and open another view on the origin of ornithophily in Old World plants.

  15. 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.

  16. A 220-year continuous record of volcanic H2SO4 in the Antarctic ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Legrand, M.; Delmas, R. J.

    1987-06-01

    Continuous H2SO4 profiles observed in snow from several Antarctic locations reveal four major volcanic events of the past two centuries (Agung, Krakatoa, Tambora and another large-scale event not recorded historically). Acid deposition and interhemispheric distribution mechanisms are quantified and then used to obtain an order of magnitude estimate for the H2SO4 emissions from these eruptions.

  17. Where might we find evidence of a Last Interglacial West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse in Antarctic ice core records?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradley, S. L.; Siddall, M.; Milne, G. A.; Masson-Delmotte, V.; Wolff, E.

    2012-05-01

    Abundant indirect evidence suggests that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) reduced in size during the Last Interglacial (LIG) compared to the Holocene. This study explores this possibility by comparing, for the first time, ice core stable isotope records for the LIG with output from a glacio-isostatic adjustment (GIA) model. The results show that ice core records from East Antarctica are remarkably insensitive to vertical movement of the solid land motion driven by a simulated hypothetical collapse of the WAIS. However, new and so far unexplored sites are identified which are sensitive to the isostatic signal associated with WAIS collapse and so ice core proxy data from these sites would be effective in testing this hypothesis further.

  18. Environmental Impact on Fossil Record for Palaecological Reconstruction Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paraskevi, Chantzi; Elissavet, Dotsika; Brunella, Raco; Konstadinos, Albanakis; Anastasia, Poutouki; Eleni, Samarztidou

    2016-10-01

    Paleoecological studies have an important role in understanding past environmental, dietary and/or societal changes however require the authentic signature of fossil materials. Therefore, a significant part of these studies concerns the isolation of the material authentic matrix. Bone hydroxyapatite from different animal species from the archaeological site of Dispilio in Kastoria Lake basin in northern Greece has been subjected to mineral analysis in order to detect if there are suitable for palaoecological studies. Calcium, phosphorus, oxygen and hydrogen are the main components of bones resulting rigidity, hardness and compressive strength of their structure. However different bone structure resulting different calcium- phosphate phases and different compositions, including Ca/P ratios. These disparities may be attributable to different physiological characteristic, conditions under which the bones were formed or burial environment. Trace element analysis (Ca/P, Sr/P, Fe/Mn) concluded that treated fossil bones retained their biochemical signal without any strong influence by soil remains however without suggesting that no chemical alteration have been occurred.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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)

  2. Late Holocene Marine Sediment Record from the Bransfield Basin, Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnard, A.; Wellner, J. S.

    2009-12-01

    A comparison of published records of marine sediment cores from fjords around the northern Antarctic Peninsula suggests that climate change during the deglacial period occurred diachronously across the region. This is in contrast to the widespread retreat observed today. However, detailed records of the Holocene climate from the Antarctic Peninsula are widely spaced and this paucity does not allow for an understanding of the controls on the changes in different areas, or if the apparent diachronous change is simply due to poor chronostratigraphic controls. The purpose of this study is to correlate studies that are separated by large distances with a new record in a central location. The Bransfield Basin is located between the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands and links marine records from the Firth of Tay, Maxwell Bay, Palmer Deep and the western Bransfield Basin. This study focuses on a 22 m sediment core collected in 2007 from the deep central Bransfield Basin, which spans the last 4000 years. Analyses completed to date include core descriptions, laser particle size analysis, multi-sensor core logger analysis, X-ray radiograph fabric description, pebble count and petrography. Ongoing analyses include TOC, total C, total N, 12-13C and 14-15N. The core lithology is dominantly characterized by diatomaceous mud with varying amounts of terrigenous sediment and ice rafted debris. Interpretation of the sedimentary facies suggests that this is a high-resolution record of climatic change that may be used to link other records in this region.

  3. 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

  4. The fossil record of ecdysis, and trends in the moulting behaviour of trilobites.

    PubMed

    Daley, Allison C; Drage, Harriet B

    2016-03-01

    Ecdysis, the process of moulting an exoskeleton, is one of the key characters uniting arthropods, nematodes and a number of smaller phyla into Ecdysozoa. The arthropod fossil record, particularly trilobites, eurypterids and decapod crustaceans, yields information on moulting, although the current focus is predominantly descriptive and lacks a broader evolutionary perspective. We here review literature on the fossil record of ecdysis, synthesising research on the behaviour, evolutionary trends, and phylogenetic significance of moulting throughout the Phanerozoic. Approaches vary widely between taxonomic groups, but an overall theme uniting these works suggests that identifying moults in the palaeontological record must take into account the morphology, taphonomy and depositional environment of fossils. We also quantitatively analyse trends in trilobite ecdysis based on a newly generated database of published incidences of moulting behaviour. This preliminary work reveals significant taxonomic and temporal signal in the trilobite moulting fossil record, with free cheek moulting being prevalent across all Orders and throughout the Phanerozoic, and peaks of cephalic moulting in Phacopida during the Ordovician and rostral plate moulting in Redlichiida during the Cambrian. This study and a review of the literature suggest that it is feasible to extract large-scale evolutionary information from the fossil record of moulting.

  5. 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

    2015-02-07

    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.

  6. 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

  7. When can decreasing diversification rates be detected with molecular phylogenies and the fossil record?

    PubMed

    Liow, Lee Hsiang; Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2010-12-01

    Traditionally, patterns and processes of diversification could only be inferred from the fossil record. However, there are an increasing number of tools that enable diversification dynamics to be inferred from molecular phylogenies. The application of these tools to new data sets has renewed interest in the question of the prevalence of diversity-dependent diversification. However, there is growing recognition that the absence of extinct species in molecular phylogenies may prevent accurate inferences about the underlying diversification dynamics. On the other hand, even though the fossil record provides direct data on extinct species, its incompleteness can also mask true diversification processes. Here, using computer-generated diversity-dependent phylogenies, we mimicked molecular phylogenies by eliminating extinct lineages. We also simulated the fossil record by converting the temporal axis into discrete intervals and imposing a variety of preservation processes on the lineages. Given the lack of reliable phylogenies for many fossil marine taxa, we also stripped away phylogenetic information from the computer-generated phylogenies. For the simulated molecular phylogenies, we examined the efficacy of the standard metric (the γ statistic) for identifying decreasing rates of diversification. We find that the underlying decreasing rate of diversification is detected only when the rate of change in the diversification rate is high, and if the molecular phylogeny happens to capture the diversification process as the equilibrium diversity is first reached or shortly thereafter. In contrast, estimating rates of diversification from the simulated fossil record captures the expected zero rate of diversification after equilibrium is reached under a wide range of preservation scenarios. The ability to detect the initial decreasing rate of diversification is lost as the temporal resolution of the fossil record drops and with a decreased quality of preservation. When the

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Mass extinction events and the plant fossil record.

    PubMed

    McElwain, Jennifer C; Punyasena, Surangi W

    2007-10-01

    Five mass extinction events have punctuated the geological record of marine invertebrate life. They are characterized by faunal extinction rates and magnitudes that far exceed those observed elsewhere in the geological record. Despite compelling evidence that these extinction events were probably driven by dramatic global environmental change, they were originally thought to have little macroecological or evolutionary consequence for terrestrial plants. New high-resolution regional palaeoecological studies are beginning to challenge this orthodoxy, providing evidence for extensive ecological upheaval, high species-level turnover and recovery intervals lasting millions of years. The challenge ahead is to establish the geographical extent of the ecological upheaval, because reconstructing the vegetation dynamics associated with these events will elucidate the role of floral change in faunal mass extinction and provide a better understanding of how plants have historically responded to global environmental change similar to that anticipated for our future.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. The completeness of the fossil record of mesozoic birds: implications for early avian evolution.

    PubMed

    Brocklehurst, Neil; Upchurch, Paul; Mannion, Philip D; O'Connor, Jingmai

    2012-01-01

    Many palaeobiological analyses have concluded that modern birds (Neornithes) radiated no earlier than the Maastrichtian, whereas molecular clock studies have argued for a much earlier origination. Here, we assess the quality of the fossil record of Mesozoic avian species, using a recently proposed character completeness metric which calculates the percentage of phylogenetic characters that can be scored for each taxon. Estimates of fossil record quality are plotted against geological time and compared to estimates of species level diversity, sea level, and depositional environment. Geographical controls on the avian fossil record are investigated by comparing the completeness scores of species in different continental regions and latitudinal bins. Avian fossil record quality varies greatly with peaks during the Tithonian-early Berriasian, Aptian, and Coniacian-Santonian, and troughs during the Albian-Turonian and the Maastrichtian. The completeness metric correlates more strongly with a 'sampling corrected' residual diversity curve of avian species than with the raw taxic diversity curve, suggesting that the abundance and diversity of birds might influence the probability of high quality specimens being preserved. There is no correlation between avian completeness and sea level, the number of fluviolacustrine localities or a recently constructed character completeness metric of sauropodomorph dinosaurs. Comparisons between the completeness of Mesozoic birds and sauropodomorphs suggest that small delicate vertebrate skeletons are more easily destroyed by taphonomic processes, but more easily preserved whole. Lagerstätten deposits might therefore have a stronger impact on reconstructions of diversity of smaller organisms relative to more robust forms. The relatively poor quality of the avian fossil record in the Late Cretaceous combined with very patchy regional sampling means that it is possible neornithine lineages were present throughout this interval but have

  18. The Completeness of the Fossil Record of Mesozoic Birds: Implications for Early Avian Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Brocklehurst, Neil; Upchurch, Paul; Mannion, Philip D.; O'Connor, Jingmai

    2012-01-01

    Many palaeobiological analyses have concluded that modern birds (Neornithes) radiated no earlier than the Maastrichtian, whereas molecular clock studies have argued for a much earlier origination. Here, we assess the quality of the fossil record of Mesozoic avian species, using a recently proposed character completeness metric which calculates the percentage of phylogenetic characters that can be scored for each taxon. Estimates of fossil record quality are plotted against geological time and compared to estimates of species level diversity, sea level, and depositional environment. Geographical controls on the avian fossil record are investigated by comparing the completeness scores of species in different continental regions and latitudinal bins. Avian fossil record quality varies greatly with peaks during the Tithonian-early Berriasian, Aptian, and Coniacian–Santonian, and troughs during the Albian-Turonian and the Maastrichtian. The completeness metric correlates more strongly with a ‘sampling corrected’ residual diversity curve of avian species than with the raw taxic diversity curve, suggesting that the abundance and diversity of birds might influence the probability of high quality specimens being preserved. There is no correlation between avian completeness and sea level, the number of fluviolacustrine localities or a recently constructed character completeness metric of sauropodomorph dinosaurs. Comparisons between the completeness of Mesozoic birds and sauropodomorphs suggest that small delicate vertebrate skeletons are more easily destroyed by taphonomic processes, but more easily preserved whole. Lagerstätten deposits might therefore have a stronger impact on reconstructions of diversity of smaller organisms relative to more robust forms. The relatively poor quality of the avian fossil record in the Late Cretaceous combined with very patchy regional sampling means that it is possible neornithine lineages were present throughout this interval but

  19. Ice cores record significant 1940s Antarctic warmth related to tropical climate variability.

    PubMed

    Schneider, David P; Steig, Eric J

    2008-08-26

    Although the 20th Century warming of global climate is well known, climate change in the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere (SH), especially in the first half of the century, remains poorly documented. We present a composite of water stable isotope data from high-resolution ice cores from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This record, representative of West Antarctic surface temperature, shows extreme positive anomalies in the 1936-45 decade that are significant in the context of the background 20th Century warming trend. We interpret these anomalies--previously undocumented in the high-latitude SH--as indicative of strong teleconnections in part driven by the major 1939-42 El Niño. These anomalies are coherent with tropical sea-surface temperature, mean SH air temperature, and North Pacific sea-level pressure, underscoring the sensitivity of West Antarctica's climate, and potentially its ice sheet, to large-scale changes in the global climate.

  20. 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.

  1. The origin of animals: Can molecular clocks and the fossil record be reconciled?

    PubMed

    Cunningham, John A; Liu, Alexander G; Bengtson, Stefan; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2017-01-01

    The evolutionary emergence of animals is one of the most significant episodes in the history of life, but its timing remains poorly constrained. Molecular clocks estimate that animals originated and began diversifying over 100 million years before the first definitive metazoan fossil evidence in the Cambrian. However, closer inspection reveals that clock estimates and the fossil record are less divergent than is often claimed. Modern clock analyses do not predict the presence of the crown-representatives of most animal phyla in the Neoproterozoic. Furthermore, despite challenges provided by incomplete preservation, a paucity of phylogenetically informative characters, and uncertain expectations of the anatomy of early animals, a number of Neoproterozoic fossils can reasonably be interpreted as metazoans. A considerable discrepancy remains, but much of this can be explained by the limited preservation potential of early metazoans and the difficulties associated with their identification in the fossil record. Critical assessment of both records may permit better resolution of the tempo and mode of early animal evolution.

  2. An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Z.; Rickaby, R. E.; Kennedy, H.; Pancost, R. D.; Shaw, S.; Lennie, A. R.; Wellner, J. S.; Anderson, J. B.

    2011-12-01

    Ikaite is a low temperature polymorph of calcium carbonate which is hydrated with water molecules contained in its crystal lattice (CaCO3:6H2O). Ikaite is thought to rapidly decompose into calcite and water at temperatures above 4°C. The hydration water in ikaite grown in laboratory experiments records the δ18O of ambient water, a feature potentially useful for reconstructing δ18O of local seawater. The most recent melting of the Caley Glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) during last few decades released meltwater into nearby fjords and left a strong signal of light δ18O values in shallow porewater profiles. If ikaite crystals incorporate ambient porewaters into crystal structure as the hydration water, then crystals grown at different times will record the changes in bottom water δ18O due to waxing and waning of (global or local) ice-sheets. U.S. Antarctic Program cruise NBP0703 collected piston cores around the AP and found ikaite crystals in multiple horizons at the Firth of Tay, suitable for reconstructing a low resolution ikaite record of the last 2000 years. We report the first downcore δ18O record of natural ikaite hydration waters and crystals collected from the AP, a region sensitive to climate fluctuations. We are able to establish the zone of ikaite formation within shallow sediments and derive a climatic signal, related to local changes in fjord δ18O, versus time encoded in this late Holocene ikaite record. Our interpretation, based on ikaite isotopes, provides additional qualitative evidence that both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were extended to the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic Peninsula.

  3. Mio-pliocene faunal exchanges and african biogeography: the record of fossil bovids.

    PubMed

    Bibi, Faysal

    2011-02-16

    The development of the Ethiopian biogeographic realm since the late Miocene is here explored with the presentation and review of fossil evidence from eastern Africa. Prostrepsiceros cf. vinayaki and an unknown species of possible caprin affinity are described from the hominid-bearing Asa Koma and Kuseralee Members (∼5.7 and ∼5.2 Ma) of the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. The Middle Awash Prostrepsiceros cf. vinayaki constitutes the first record of this taxon from Africa, previously known from the Siwaliks and Arabia. The possible caprin joins a number of isolated records of caprin or caprin-like taxa recorded, but poorly understood, from the late Neogene of Africa. The identification of these two taxa from the Middle Awash prompts an overdue review of fossil bovids from the sub-Saharan African record that demonstrate Eurasian affinities, including the reduncin Kobus porrecticornis, and species of Tragoportax. The fossil bovid record provides evidence for greater biological continuity between Africa and Eurasia in the late Miocene and earliest Pliocene than is found later in time. In contrast, the early Pliocene (after 5 Ma) saw the loss of any significant proportions of Eurasian-related taxa, and the continental dominance of African-endemic taxa and lineages, a pattern that continues today.

  4. Mio-Pliocene Faunal Exchanges and African Biogeography: The Record of Fossil Bovids

    PubMed Central

    Bibi, Faysal

    2011-01-01

    The development of the Ethiopian biogeographic realm since the late Miocene is here explored with the presentation and review of fossil evidence from eastern Africa. Prostrepsiceros cf. vinayaki and an unknown species of possible caprin affinity are described from the hominid-bearing Asa Koma and Kuseralee Members (∼5.7 and ∼5.2 Ma) of the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. The Middle Awash Prostrepsiceros cf. vinayaki constitutes the first record of this taxon from Africa, previously known from the Siwaliks and Arabia. The possible caprin joins a number of isolated records of caprin or caprin-like taxa recorded, but poorly understood, from the late Neogene of Africa. The identification of these two taxa from the Middle Awash prompts an overdue review of fossil bovids from the sub-Saharan African record that demonstrate Eurasian affinities, including the reduncin Kobus porrecticornis, and species of Tragoportax. The fossil bovid record provides evidence for greater biological continuity between Africa and Eurasia in the late Miocene and earliest Pliocene than is found later in time. In contrast, the early Pliocene (after 5 Ma) saw the loss of any significant proportions of Eurasian-related taxa, and the continental dominance of African-endemic taxa and lineages, a pattern that continues today. PMID:21358825

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

    2012-04-07

    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.

  9. From the Cover: Antarctic climate signature in the Greenland ice core record.

    PubMed

    Barker, Stephen; Knorr, Gregor

    2007-10-30

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    2009-11-03

    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.

  16. Quantifying Uncertainty in Spatio-temporal Forest Composition Changes Inferred from Fossil Pollen Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dawson, A.; Paciorek, C. J.; McLachlan, J. S.; Goring, S. J.; Williams, J. W.; Jackson, S. T.

    2014-12-01

    Understanding past compositional changes in vegetation provides insight about ecosystem dynamics in response to changing environments. Past vegetation reconstructions rely predominantly on fossil pollen data from sedimentary lake cores, which acts as a proxy record for the surrounding vegetation. Stratigraphic changes in these pollen records allow us to infer changes in composition and species distributions. Pollen records collected from a network of sites allow us to make inference about the spatio-temporal changes in vegetation over thousands of years. However, the complexity of the relationship between pollen deposits and surrounding vegetation, as well as the spatially sparse set of fossil pollen sites are important sources of uncertainty. In addition, uncertainty arises from the carbon dating and age-depth modelling processes. To reconstruct vegetation composition including uncertainty for the Upper Midwestern USA, we build a Bayesian hierarchical model that links vegetation composition to fossil pollen data via a dispersal model. In the calibration phase, we estimate the relationship between vegetation and pollen for the settlement era using Public Land Survey data and a network of pollen records. In the prediction phase, parameter estimates obtained during the calibration phase are used to estimate latent species distributions and relative abundances over the last 2500 years. We account for additional uncertainty in the pollen records by: allowing expert palynologists to identify pre-settlement pollen samples to be included in our calibration data, and through the incorporation of age uncertainty obtained from the Bayesian age-depth model BACON in our prediction data. Resulting spatio-temporal composition and abundance estimates will be used to improve forecasting capabilities of ecosystem models.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Fossil steroids record the appearance of Demospongiae during the Cryogenian period.

    PubMed

    Love, Gordon D; Grosjean, Emmanuelle; Stalvies, Charlotte; Fike, David A; Grotzinger, John P; Bradley, Alexander S; Kelly, Amy E; Bhatia, Maya; Meredith, William; Snape, Colin E; Bowring, Samuel A; Condon, Daniel J; Summons, Roger E

    2009-02-05

    The Neoproterozoic era (1,000-542 Myr ago) was an era of climatic extremes and biological evolutionary developments culminating in the emergence of animals (Metazoa) and new ecosystems. Here we show that abundant sedimentary 24-isopropylcholestanes, the hydrocarbon remains of C(30) sterols produced by marine demosponges, record the presence of Metazoa in the geological record before the end of the Marinoan glaciation ( approximately 635 Myr ago). These sterane biomarkers are abundant in all formations of the Huqf Supergroup, South Oman Salt Basin, and, based on a new high-precision geochronology, constitute a continuous 100-Myr-long chemical fossil record of demosponges through the terminal Neoproterozoic and into the Early Cambrian epoch. The demosponge steranes occur in strata that underlie the Marinoan cap carbonate (>635 Myr ago). They currently represent the oldest evidence for animals in the fossil record, and are evidence for animals pre-dating the termination of the Marinoan glaciation. This suggests that shallow shelf waters in some late Cryogenian ocean basins (>635 Myr ago) contained dissolved oxygen in concentrations sufficient to support basal metazoan life at least 100 Myr before the rapid diversification of bilaterians during the Cambrian explosion. Biomarker analysis has yet to reveal any convincing evidence for ancient sponges pre-dating the first globally extensive Neoproterozoic glacial episode (the Sturtian, approximately 713 Myr ago in Oman).

  2. Mass extinctions among tetrapods and the quality of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Benton, M J

    1989-11-06

    The fossil record of tetrapods is very patchy because of the problems of preservation, in terrestrial sediments in particular, 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, and there is the potential for more detailed ecological analyses. The relative incompleteness of a fossil record may be assessed readily, and this can be used to test whether drops in overall diversity are related to mass extinctions or to gaps in our knowledge. Absolute incompleteness cannot be assessed directly, but a historical approach may offer clues to future improvements in our knowledge. One of the key problems facing palaeobiologists is paraphyly, the fact that many higher taxa in common use do not contain all of the descendants of the common ancestor. This may be overcome by cladistic analysis and the identification of monophyletic groups. The diversity of tetrapods increased from the Devonian to the Permian, remained roughly constant during the Mesozoic, and 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, crocodilians, birds and mammals--was hardly affected by the celebrated end-Cretaceous extinction event. Major mass extinctions among tetrapods took place in the early Permian, late Permian, early Triassic, late Triassic, late Cretaceous, early Oligocene and late Miocene. Many of these events appear to coincide with the major mass extinctions among marine invertebrates, but the tetrapod record is largely equivocal with regard to the theory of periodicity of mass extinctions.

  3. Bellingshausen Sea ice extent recorded in an Antarctic Peninsula ice core

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, Stacy E.; Parkinson, Claire L.; Mosley-Thompson, Ellen

    2016-12-01

    Annual net accumulation (An) from the Bruce Plateau (BP) ice core retrieved from the Antarctic Peninsula exhibits a notable relationship with sea ice extent (SIE) in the Bellingshausen Sea. Over the satellite era, both BP An and Bellingshausen SIE are influenced by large-scale climatic factors such as the Amundsen Sea Low, Southern Annular Mode, and Southern Oscillation. In addition to the direct response of BP An to Bellingshausen SIE (e.g., more open water as a moisture source), these large-scale climate phenomena also link the BP and the Bellingshausen Sea indirectly such that they exhibit similar responses (e.g., northerly wind anomalies advect warm, moist air to the Antarctic Peninsula and neighboring Bellingshausen Sea, which reduces SIE and increases An). Comparison with a time series of fast ice at South Orkney Islands reveals a relationship between BP An and sea ice in the northern Weddell Sea that is relatively consistent over the twentieth century, except when it is modulated by atmospheric wave patterns described by the Trans-Polar Index. The trend of increasing accumulation on the Bruce Plateau since 1970 agrees with other climate records and reconstructions in the region and suggests that the current rate of sea ice loss in the Bellingshausen Sea is unrivaled in the twentieth century.

  4. Sequences, stratigraphy and scenarios: what can we say about the fossil record of the earliest tetrapods?

    PubMed Central

    Friedman, Matt; Brazeau, Martin D.

    2011-01-01

    Past research on the emergence of digit-bearing tetrapods has led to the widely accepted premise that this important evolutionary event occurred during the Late Devonian. The discovery of convincing digit-bearing tetrapod trackways of early Middle Devonian age in Poland has upset this orthodoxy, indicating that current scenarios which link the timing of the origin of digited tetrapods to specific events in Earth history are likely to be in error. Inspired by this find, we examine the fossil record of early digit-bearing tetrapods and their closest fish-like relatives from a statistical standpoint. We find that the Polish trackways force a substantial reconsideration of the nature of the early tetrapod record when only body fossils are considered. However, the effect is less drastic (and often not statistically significant) when other reliably dated trackways that were previously considered anachronistic are taken into account. Using two approaches, we find that 95 per cent credible and confidence intervals for the origin of digit-bearing tetrapods extend into the Early Devonian and beyond, spanning late Emsian to mid Ludlow. For biologically realistic diversity models, estimated genus-level preservation rates for Devonian digited tetrapods and their relatives range from 0.025 to 0.073 per lineage-million years, an order of magnitude lower than species-level rates for groups typically considered to have dense records. Available fossils of early digited tetrapods and their immediate relatives are adequate for documenting large-scale patterns of character acquisition associated with the origin of terrestriality, but low preservation rates coupled with clear geographical and stratigraphic sampling biases caution against building scenarios for the origin of digits and terrestrialization tied to the provenance of particular specimens or faunas. PMID:20739322

  5. A sedimentary paleomagnetic record of the Matuyama chron from the Western Antarctic margin (ODP Site 1101)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guyodo, Yohan; Acton, Gary D.; Brachfeld, Stefanie; Channell, James E. T.

    2001-08-01

    A high-resolution paleomagnetic record for part of the Matuyama chron (0.7-2.1 Ma) is reported for Ocean Drilling Program Site 1101 (Leg 178), off the Antarctic Peninsula Pacific margin. A rock-magnetic investigation of 62 discrete samples revealed that the natural remanent magnetization (NRM) is carried by pseudo-single domain magnetite. Progressive alternating field demagnetization of 83 m of U-channels provided a polarity stratigraphy down to the Olduvai subchron. Two geomagnetic events preceding the Jaramillo subchron were identified, including the Cobb Mountain polarity interval. The bulk magnetic parameters vary by more than a factor of 20 over the entire time interval, but by less than a factor of 6 over the 0.7-1.1 Ma interval. This latter interval was selected for paleointensity determinations, which were carried out by normalizing the NRM by the anhysteretic remanent magnetization (ARM). Direct comparison of the Site 1101 paleointensity record with other curves available for the same time interval suggests a geomagnetic origin for features present in the record. A more quantitative comparison was achieved by means of a jackknife test performed on nine records of relative paleointensity over the 0.95-1.1 Ma interval. This test yielded no outlier for the period considered, confirming the geomagnetic character of the records. We have constructed a low-resolution stack revealing some of the characteristic paleointensity features of the Jaramillo subchron.

  6. A record of ozone variability in South Pole Antarctic snow: Role of nitrate oxygen isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCabe, Justin R.; Thiemens, Mark H.; Savarino, Joel

    2007-06-01

    The information contained in polar nitrate has been an unresolved issue for over a decade. Here we demonstrate that atmospheric nitrate's oxygen isotopic composition (Δ17O-NO3) reflects stratospheric chemistry in winter and tropospheric chemistry in summer. Surface snow isotope mass balance indicates that nitrate oxygen isotopic composition is the result of a mixture of 25% stratospheric and 75% tropospheric origin. Analysis of trends in Δ17O-NO3 in a 6 m snow pit that provides a 26-year record reveals a strong 2.70-year cycle that anticorrelates (R = -0.77) with October-November-December column ozone. The potential mechanisms linking the records are either denitrification or increased boundary layer photochemical ozone production. We suggest that the latter is dominating the observed trend and find that surface ozone and Δ17O-NO3 correlate well before 1991 (R = 0.93). After 1991, however, the records show no significant relationship, indicating an altered oxidative environment consistent with current understanding of a highly oxidizing atmosphere at the South Pole. The disappearance of seasonal Δ17O-NO3 trends in the surface layer at depth remain unresolved and demand further investigation of how postdepositional processes affect nitrate's oxygen isotope composition. Overall, the findings of this study present a new paleoclimate technique to investigate Antarctic nitrate records that appear to reflect trends in stratospheric ozone depletion by recording tropospheric surface ozone variability.

  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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Relict endemism of extant Rhineuridae (Amphisbaenia): testing for phylogenetic niche conservatism in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Hipsley, Christy A; Müller, Johannes

    2014-03-01

    Rhineurid amphisbaenians are represented by a rich Cenozoic fossil record in North America, but today conisist of a single living species restricted to the Florida Peninsula. Such relict endemism may be the result of phylogenetic niche conservatism (PNC), the retention of ancestral traits preventing expansion into new environments. Most tests of PNC derive ancestral niche preferences from species' extant ecologies, while ignoring valuable paleontological information. To test if PNC contributes to the restricted distribution of modern Rhineura floridana, we compare the species' current environmental preferences (temperature, precipitation and soil) to paleoenvironmental data from the rhineurid fossil record. We find no evidence of PNC in modern R. floridana, as it also occurred in Florida during drier glacial periods. Ancient rhineurids also exhibit tolerance to changing climates, having undergone a shift from subtropical-humid to semi-arid savanna conditions during the Eocene-Oligocene transition. However, rhineurids nearly disappear from North America after the middle Miocene, potentially due to the onset of prolonged freezing temperatures following the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum. This physiological limit of environmental tolerances could be interpreted as PNC for the entire family, but also characterizes much of Amphisbaenia, emphasizing the relevance of the temporal as well as phylogenetic scale at which PNC is investigated.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. The Marine Record of Holocene Deglaciation and Paleoclimate Change, Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Minzoni, R. L.; Anderson, J. B.; Kirshner, A. E.; Wellner, J. S.; Fernandez-Vasquez, R. A.

    2010-12-01

    The Antarctic Peninsula Ice Cap (APIC) has undergone significant retreat since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Several recent studies, including those of Lallemand Fjord (Shevenell, et al., 1996), Palmer Deep (Domack, et al., 2001), Bransfield Basin (Heroy, et al., 2008), Firth of Tay (Michalchuck, et al., 2009), Maxwell Bay (Milliken, et al., 2009), and Neny Fjord (Allen, et al., 2010), have applied multiple proxies to reconstruct glacial history from sediment cores. The regional trend of post-LGM retreat from marine and onshore records (e.g. Hjort et al., 1997; Ingolfsson et al., 1998) is characterized by deglaciation of the outer and mid-shelf areas mainly before 12 ka, with significant landward steps at ~14 and 11 ka that were most likely caused by rapid sea-level rise (Heroy and Anderson, 2007). This was followed by highly diachronous retreat from the rugged inner-shelf and inland areas after ~10 ka. This marks the demise of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet. Subsequently, the glacial systems became more isolated, and factors such as latitudinal climate variability, orographic effects, oceanographic effects, the size and altitude of glacial drainage basins, as well as bathymetry of individual bays and fjords, became more influential on glacial dynamics. For example, Firth of Tay, the northern-most fjord on the eastern side of Antarctic Peninsula (AP), became ice-free ~9 ka, but Herbert Sound, just to the south, was not ice-free until ~7.4 ka. On the western side of AP, however, Maxwell Bay, located in the South Shetland Islands just north of the APIC, was free of grounded ice ~14 ka, whereas Marguerite Bay, on the southwestern-most edge of the APIC, experienced rapid grounding line and ice shelf retreat ~9 ka. These records suggest a north to south component in the timing of retreat. The lag in retreat from west to east APIC indicates that a strong orographic effect insulated the eastern AP, but also implies that other influencing factors such as oceanographic

  7. 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.

  8. Fossil record of stem groups employed in evaluating the chronogram of insects (Arthropoda: Hexapoda)

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yan-hui; Engel, Michael S.; Rafael, José A.; Wu, Hao-yang; Rédei, Dávid; Xie, Qiang; Wang, Gang; Liu, Xiao-guang; Bu, Wen-jun

    2016-01-01

    Insecta s. str. (=Ectognatha), comprise the largest and most diversified group of living organisms, accounting for roughly half of the biodiversity on Earth. Understanding insect relationships and the specific time intervals for their episodes of radiation and extinction are critical to any comprehensive perspective on evolutionary events. Although some deeper nodes have been resolved congruently, the complete evolution of insects has remained obscure due to the lack of direct fossil evidence. Besides, various evolutionary phases of insects and the corresponding driving forces of diversification remain to be recognized. In this study, a comprehensive sample of all insect orders was used to reconstruct their phylogenetic relationships and estimate deep divergences. The phylogenetic relationships of insect orders were congruently recovered by Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood analyses. A complete timescale of divergences based on an uncorrelated log-normal relaxed clock model was established among all lineages of winged insects. The inferred timescale for various nodes are congruent with major historical events including the increase of atmospheric oxygen in the Late Silurian and earliest Devonian, the radiation of vascular plants in the Devonian, and with the available fossil record of the stem groups to various insect lineages in the Devonian and Carboniferous. PMID:27958352

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Obliquity-paced climate change recorded in Antarctic debris-covered glaciers.

    PubMed

    Mackay, Sean L; Marchant, David R

    2017-02-10

    The degree to which debris-covered glaciers record past environmental conditions is debated. Here we describe a novel palaeoclimate archive derived from the surface morphology and internal debris within cold-based debris-covered glaciers in Antarctica. Results show that subtle changes in mass balance impart major changes in the concentration of englacial debris and corresponding surface topography, and that over the past ∼220 ka, at least, the changes are related to obliquity-paced solar radiation, manifest as variations in total summer energy. Our findings emphasize solar radiation as a significant driver of mass balance changes in high-latitude mountain systems, and demonstrate that debris-covered glaciers are among the most sensitive recorders of obliquity-paced climate variability in interior Antarctica, in contrast to most other Antarctic archives that favour eccentricity-paced forcing over the same time period. Furthermore, our results open the possibility that similar-appearing debris-covered glaciers on Mars may likewise hold clues to environmental change.

  14. Obliquity-paced climate change recorded in Antarctic debris-covered glaciers

    PubMed Central

    Mackay, Sean L.; Marchant, David R.

    2017-01-01

    The degree to which debris-covered glaciers record past environmental conditions is debated. Here we describe a novel palaeoclimate archive derived from the surface morphology and internal debris within cold-based debris-covered glaciers in Antarctica. Results show that subtle changes in mass balance impart major changes in the concentration of englacial debris and corresponding surface topography, and that over the past ∼220 ka, at least, the changes are related to obliquity-paced solar radiation, manifest as variations in total summer energy. Our findings emphasize solar radiation as a significant driver of mass balance changes in high-latitude mountain systems, and demonstrate that debris-covered glaciers are among the most sensitive recorders of obliquity-paced climate variability in interior Antarctica, in contrast to most other Antarctic archives that favour eccentricity-paced forcing over the same time period. Furthermore, our results open the possibility that similar-appearing debris-covered glaciers on Mars may likewise hold clues to environmental change. PMID:28186094

  15. Obliquity-paced climate change recorded in Antarctic debris-covered glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mackay, Sean L.; Marchant, David R.

    2017-02-01

    The degree to which debris-covered glaciers record past environmental conditions is debated. Here we describe a novel palaeoclimate archive derived from the surface morphology and internal debris within cold-based debris-covered glaciers in Antarctica. Results show that subtle changes in mass balance impart major changes in the concentration of englacial debris and corresponding surface topography, and that over the past ~220 ka, at least, the changes are related to obliquity-paced solar radiation, manifest as variations in total summer energy. Our findings emphasize solar radiation as a significant driver of mass balance changes in high-latitude mountain systems, and demonstrate that debris-covered glaciers are among the most sensitive recorders of obliquity-paced climate variability in interior Antarctica, in contrast to most other Antarctic archives that favour eccentricity-paced forcing over the same time period. Furthermore, our results open the possibility that similar-appearing debris-covered glaciers on Mars may likewise hold clues to environmental change.

  16. Fjord sediment record of Holocene climate change in the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, John; Minzoni, Rebecca; Wellner, Julia; Majewski, Wojciech

    2014-05-01

    High-resolution paleoclimate records were generated from long sediment cores collected in five fjords of drastically different settings in the Antarctic Peninsula (AP), including Maxwell Bay, Firth of Tay, Herbert Sound, Lapeyrère Bay, and Neny Fjord. These results are augmented by published records from open marine settings of the Palmer Deep and Bransfield Basin and from terrestrial studies to obtain sufficient spatial sampling for regional analysis of Holocene climate events and local forcing mechanisms. These records include SHALDRIL cores acquired through some of the thicker (up to 108 meters) Holocene sections in fjords of the northern AP region. Robust radiocarbon chronology has been established for each site, and several paleoclimate proxies have been applied to identify and characterize climate events. These include magnetic susceptibility, sedimentation rates, grain size, pebble content, TOC, stable isotopes, biogenic silica content, and foraminifera and diatom assemblages. Current data analysis, including application of additional proxies and analysis of additional cores, refines our understanding of the nature and timing of climatic events expressed in each site. Five previously recognized climate intervals are recorded throughout the AP: an early Holocene deglacial interval, the Mid-Holocene Climate Optimum, a minor cooling event in the mid-Holocene followed by a minor warming event, and the late Holocene Neoglacial. The magnitude and timing of these events varies widely--up to a few thousand years--across the AP region and reflects differences in factors such as orographic effects, drainage basin size and altitude, wind patterns, oceanography, and sea-ice coverage. These results suggest that the rapid regional warming and widespread glacial retreat observed during the last century is unprecedented in breadth and synchronicity.

  17. Extinction intensity, selectivity and their combined macroevolutionary influence in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Payne, Jonathan L; Bush, Andrew M; Chang, Ellen T; Heim, Noel A; Knope, Matthew L; Pruss, Sara B

    2016-10-01

    The macroevolutionary effects of extinction derive from both intensity of taxonomic losses and selectivity of losses with respect to ecology, physiology and/or higher taxonomy. Increasingly, palaeontologists are using logistic regression to quantify extinction selectivity because the selectivity metric is independent of extinction intensity and multiple predictor variables can be assessed simultaneously. We illustrate the use of logistic regression with an analysis of physiological buffering capacity and extinction risk in the Phanerozoic marine fossil record. We propose the geometric mean of extinction intensity and selectivity as a metric for the influence of extinction events. The end-Permian mass extinction had the largest influence on the physiological composition of the fauna owing to its combination of high intensity and strong selectivity. In addition to providing a quantitative measure of influence to compare among past events, this approach provides an avenue for quantifying the risk posed by the emerging biodiversity crisis that goes beyond a simple projection of taxonomic losses.

  18. Toward a new synthesis: major evolutionary trends in the angiosperm fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dilcher, D

    2000-06-20

    Angiosperm paleobotany has widened its horizons, incorporated new techniques, developed new databases, and accepted new questions that can now focus on the evolution of the group. The fossil record of early flowering plants is now playing an active role in addressing questions of angiosperm phylogeny, angiosperm origins, and angiosperm radiations. Three basic nodes of angiosperm radiations are identified: (i) the closed carpel and showy radially symmetrical flower, (ii) the bilateral flower, and (iii) fleshy fruits and nutritious nuts and seeds. These are all coevolutionary events and spread out through time during angiosperm evolution. The proposal is made that the genetics of the angiosperms pressured the evolution of the group toward reproductive systems that favored outcrossing. This resulted in the strongest selection in the angiosperms being directed toward the flower, fruits, and seeds. That is why these organs often provide the best systematic characters for the group.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation recorded in fossil corals during the last Interglacial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vàsquez-Bedoya, L.; Cohen, A. L.; Oppo, D.; Thompson, W. G.; Blanchon, P.

    2013-05-01

    The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is a mode of sea surface temperature variability occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean, whose warm phase correlates strongly with Atlantic hurricane activity. While support for this mode originates in historical observations and models, controversy exists with regard to the attribution of sea surface temperature change to natural or anthropogenic forcing. Previously, we showed that long-lived colonies of the massive Caribbean coral Siderastrea siderea (Ellis & Solander, 1786) on the Yucatan Peninsula capture AMO-like variability in their annual growth bands (Vásquez-Bedoya et al., 2012) allowing us to extend the record of Atlantic multidecadal variability back to 1775 AD. Here we report an analysis of skeletal growth bands of a fossil coral of the same species, dated by U-series (122.24±0.19 kyr) to the Last Interglacial (LIG). MultiTaper spectral analysis of the LIG coral record reveals significant concentrations of power (99% confidence level) at intervals centered at 45-67 and 50-67 years respectively, consistent with the AMO spectrum, which is centered in intervals of 60-70 years. Thus our analysis provides the first evidence of AMO mode during the LIG and supports the hypotheses of a persistent, naturally-forced multidecadal mode of SST variability in the North Atlantic.

  9. Strong coupling of predation intensity and diversity in the Phanerozoic fossil record.

    PubMed

    Huntley, John Warren; Kowalewski, Michal

    2007-09-18

    The importance of ecological interactions in driving the evolution of animals has been the focus of intense debate among paleontologists, evolutionary biologists, and macroecologists. To test whether the intensity of such interactions covaries with the secular evolutionary trend in global biodiversity, we compiled a species-level database of predation intensity, as measured by the frequency of common predation traces (drillings and repair scars ranging in age from Ediacaran to Holocene). The results indicate that the frequency of predation traces increased notably by the Ordovician, and not in the mid-Paleozoic as suggested by multiple previous studies. Importantly, these estimates of predation intensity and global diversity of marine metazoans correlate throughout the Phanerozoic fossil record regardless of corrections and methods applied. This concordance may represent (i) an ecological signal: long-term coupling of diversity and predation; (ii) a diversity-driven diffusion of predatory behaviors: an increased probability of more complex predatory strategies to appear at higher diversity levels; or (iii) a spurious concordance in signal capture: an artifact where rare species and less-frequent (e.g., trace-producing) predatory behaviors are both more detectable at times when sampling improves. The coupling of predation and diversity records suggests that macroevolutionary and macroecological patterns share common causative mechanisms that may reflect either historical processes or sampling artifacts.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    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.

  11. East Antarctic ice sheet stability recorded in a high-elevation ice-cored moraine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bader, Nicole A.; Licht, Kathy J.; Kaplan, Michael R.; Kassab, Christine; Winckler, Gisela

    2017-03-01

    over time. Rather than reflecting major changes in ice flow path over time, the provenance changes are interpreted to indicate relative stability of the East Antarctic ice sheet, as the Law Glacier tapped into and eroded successively lower stratigraphic units of the Beacon Supergroup. This has important implications for interpreting offshore provenance records.

  12. Testing the Molecular Clock Using the Best Fossil Record: Case Studies from the Planktic Foraminifera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steel, B. A.; Kucera, M.; Darling, K.

    2004-12-01

    Criticism of molecular clock studies often centres on inadequate calibration and a perceived lack of correlation between reproductive isolation and recognisable morphological evolution. Since many major groups (e.g. birds, mammals, reptiles) have a poor fossil record, it is often difficult to test and refute these limitations. Planktic foraminifera represent an exception to this rule. Deep-sea sediments are super-abundant in foraminifera, and large numbers of specimens and occurrences are easily garnered from Ocean Drilling Programme cores. Planktic foraminifera therefore represent an ideal model group with which to test and refine molecular clock studies. Since the 1990AƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAøs, genetic sequences (principally 18S r-RNA) have been extracted from living planktic foraminifera, and a large genetic library has developed. Our study attempts to contextualise and test molecular data, particularly AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"molecular clockAƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAø dates, utilising material from two ODP cores (Site 926A (Atlantic) and 806 (Pacific), to examine the evolutionary history of two sibling-species complexes (Globigerinella siphonifera and Globigerinoides ruber, both common shallow-water species and both of considerable palaeoceanographic utility). Recent genetic studies have suggested that these two AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"super-speciesAƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAø in fact consist of a number of isolated forms, with contrasting ecologies and longevities, which in Recent and sub-Recent sediments can be distinguished either on the basis of pore ultrastructure (Gl. siphonifera) or test colouration (Gs. ruber). In both cases, molecular clock estimates are indicative of ancient (7-11 Ma) intra-species cryptic divergences, which seem to be considerably older than fossil dates. In particular, the calculated molecular split between the two forms of Gs. ruber (AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"whiteAƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAø and AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"pinkA

  13. 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)

  14. Molecular Decay of the Tooth Gene Enamelin (ENAM) Mirrors the Loss of Enamel in the Fossil Record of Placental Mammals

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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 (ω) 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

  15. Caught in the act: the first record of copulating fossil vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Joyce, Walter G; Micklich, Norbert; Schaal, Stephan F K; Scheyer, Torsten M

    2012-10-23

    The behaviour of fossil organisms can typically be inferred only indirectly, but rare fossil finds can provide surprising insights. Here, we report from the Eocene Messel Pit Fossil Site between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, Germany numerous pairs of the fossil carettochelyid turtle Allaeochelys crassesculpta that represent for the first time among fossil vertebrates couples that perished during copulation. Females of this taxon can be distinguished from males by their relatively shorter tails and development of plastral kinesis. The preservation of mating pairs has important taphonomic implications for the Messel Pit Fossil Site, as it is unlikely that the turtles would mate in poisonous surface waters. Instead, the turtles initiated copulation in habitable surface waters, but perished when their skin absorbed poisons while sinking into toxic layers. The mating pairs from Messel are therefore more consistent with a stratified, volcanic maar lake with inhabitable surface waters and a deadly abyss.

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Seismic stratigraphy of the East Antarctic margin: a record of Cenozoic environmental changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leychenkov, German; Guseva, Julia

    2010-05-01

    We have analyzed more than 120000 km of MCS sections collected on the East Antarctic margin (EAM) from 7E to 142E to correlate seismic stratigraphy with Antarctic glacial history predicted from drilling data and deep-sea proxy records, and to estimate what sort of information about ice sheet behavior and paleoceanographic conditions is contained in seismic records. Most of analyzed MCS lines are located on the continental rise and only the Prydz Bay (PB) shelf was studied in details. Five mayor horizons numbered up-section from "1" to "5" are identified in sedimentary cover of deep water EAM (continental rise). Horizon "1" and "2" are correlated with asynchronous Gondwana breakup and early post-breakup events, respectively; horizons "3", "4" and "5" are proposed to be isochronous surfaces related to Late Cenozoic paleoenvironmental transitions. The distinguishing feature of EAM sedimentary cover is the clear upward change in reflection pattern across horizons "3" and "4" that separates a lower sedimentary unit with mostly parallel reflectors from an upper one consisting of variety of acoustic facies typical of active down-slope and along slope processes. This change is associated with the arrival of the ice sheet to the Antarctic margin and significant increase in sedimentary input to deep water regions. Major results of our study are following: 1) Widespread development of channel-levee systems and other facies related to mass-wasting on the EAM is observed above horizon "4" and this interface is proposed to mark continental-scale Antarctic glaciation in the Early Oligocene. However, earliest signs of active down-slope processes are revealed on the Wilkes Land margin (WLM) above horizon "3" and we infer that this margin was glaciated first, probably in the Late Eocene. Under the temperate climate condition debris was delivered to the slope and rise by glaciers (which flowed from central Antarctica via Aurora Subglacial Basin) and abundant melt-water. The rate of

  20. The proterozoic and earliest cambrian trace fossil record; patterns, problems and perspectives.

    PubMed

    Jensen, Sören

    2003-02-01

    The increase in trace fossil diversity across the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian boundary often is presented in terms of tabulations of ichnogenera. However, a clearer picture of the increase in diversity and complexity can be reached by combining trace fossils into broad groups defined both on morphology and interpretation. This also focuses attention on looking for similarites between Neoproterozoic and Cambrian trace fossils. Siliciclastic sediments of the Neoproterozoic preserve elongate tubular organisms and structures of probable algal origin, many of which are very similar to trace fossils. Such enigmatic structures include Palaeopascichnus and Yelovichnus, previously thought to be trace fossils in the form of tight meanders.A preliminary two or tripartite terminal Neoproterozoic trace fossil zonation can be be recognized. Possibly the earliest trace fossils are short unbranched forms, probably younger than about 560 Ma. Typical Neoproterozoic trace fossils are unbranched and essentially horizontal forms found associated with diverse assemblages of Ediacaran organisms. In sections younger than about 550 Ma a modest increase in trace fossil diversity occurs, including the appearance of rare three-dimensional burrow systems (treptichnids), and traces with a three-lobed lower surfaces.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. Nacre tablet thickness records formation temperature in modern and fossil shells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilbert, Pupa U. P. A.; Bergmann, Kristin D.; Myers, Corinne E.; Marcus, Matthew A.; DeVol, Ross T.; Sun, Chang-Yu; Blonsky, Adam Z.; Tamre, Erik; Zhao, Jessica; Karan, Elizabeth A.; Tamura, Nobumichi; Lemer, Sarah; Giuffre, Anthony J.; Giribet, Gonzalo; Eiler, John M.; Knoll, Andrew H.

    2017-02-01

    Nacre, the iridescent outer lining of pearls and inner lining of many mollusk shells, is composed of periodic, parallel, organic sheets alternating with aragonite (CaCO3) tablet layers. Nacre tablet thickness (TT) generates both nacre's iridescence and its remarkable resistance to fracture. Despite extensive studies on how nacre forms, the mechanisms controlling TT remain unknown, even though they determine the most conspicuous of nacre's characteristics, visible even to the naked eye. Thermodynamics predicts that temperature (T) will affect both physical and chemical components of biomineralized skeletons. The chemical composition of biominerals is well-established to record environmental parameters, and has therefore been extensively used in paleoclimate studies. The physical structure, however, has been hypothesized but never directly demonstrated to depend on the environment. Here we observe that the physical TT in nacre from modern and fossil shallow-water shells of the bivalves Pinna and Atrina correlates with T as measured by the carbonate clumped isotope thermometer. Based on the observed TT vs. T correlation, we anticipate that TT will be used as a paleothermometer, useful to estimate paleotemperature in shallow-water paleoenvironments. Here we successfully test the proposed new nacre TT thermometer on two Jurassic Pinna shells. The increase of TT with T is consistent with greater aragonite growth rate at higher T, and with greater metabolic rate at higher T. Thus, it reveals a complex, T-dependent biophysical mechanism for nacre formation.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. '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.

  13. A high-resolution record of early Miocene Antarctic glacial history from ODP Site 1165, Prydz Bay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, Trevor; Handwerger, David

    2005-06-01

    ODP Site 1165, located 400 km northwest of Prydz Bay, contains a high-resolution early Miocene record of pulses of ice-rafted debris (IRD) originating from the ancestral Lambert Glacier system and the Antarctic coast to the east. The 520 m of early Miocene sediments consist of dark gray claystone with silt laminae (contourites) alternating with decimeter-scale layers of greenish-gray bioturbated claystone that commonly contain ice-rafted debris. Downhole logs also record the alternations between the two facies: the IRD-bearing greenish-grey claystone corresponds to high resistivity and density values because of increased cementation by silica, and corresponds to lower natural gamma radiation values because of diluted clay content. The downhole logs thus allow a continuous and detailed stratigraphic record of the IRD-bearing layers to be obtained. The IRD-bearing layers represent deglaciations and interglacials, when a high flux of icebergs with incorporated material were melting out over the site; the contourite-rich layers represent glacials, when the Polar Current over the site was relatively strong. The sequence is dated by magnetostratigraphy, and the timing of the major IRD pulses is paced by orbital eccentricity, indicating that the volume of the East Antarctic ice sheet also fluctuates on this timescale. After 19.7 Ma, minor precessional and subprecessional IRD layers appear in the record, indicating that the ice sheet becomes more prone to deglaciation through this interval, perhaps associated with the gradual warming trend through the early Miocene.

  14. 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

  15. Limitations of a morphological criterion of adaptive inference in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Ravosa, Matthew J; Menegaz, Rachel A; Scott, Jeremiah E; Daegling, David J; McAbee, Kevin R

    2016-11-01

    Experimental analyses directly inform how an anatomical feature or complex functions during an organism's lifetime, which serves to increase the efficacy of comparative studies of living and fossil taxa. In the mammalian skull, food material properties and feeding behaviour have a pronounced influence on the development of the masticatory apparatus. Diet-related variation in loading magnitude and frequency induce a cascade of changes at the gross, tissue, cellular, protein and genetic levels, with such modelling and remodelling maintaining the integrity of oral structures vis-à-vis routine masticatory stresses. Ongoing integrative research using rabbit and rat models of long-term masticatory plasticity offers unique insight into the limitations of functional interpretations of fossilised remains. Given the general restriction of the palaeontological record to bony elements, we argue that failure to account for the disparity in the hierarchical network of responses of hard versus soft tissues may overestimate the magnitude of the adaptive divergence that is inferred from phenotypic differences. Second, we note that the developmental onset and duration of a loading stimulus associated with a given feeding behaviour can impart large effects on patterns of intraspecific variation that can mirror differences observed among taxa. Indeed, plasticity data are relevant to understanding evolutionary transformations because rabbits raised on different diets exhibit levels of morphological disparity comparable to those found between closely related primate species that vary in diet. Lastly, pronounced variation in joint form, and even joint function, can also characterise adult conspecifics that differ solely in age. In sum, our analyses emphasise the importance of a multi-site and hierarchical approach to understanding determinants of morphological variation, one which incorporates critical data on performance.

  16. Trace metals as biomarkers for eumelanin pigment in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Wogelius, R A; Manning, P L; Barden, H E; Edwards, N P; Webb, S M; Sellers, W I; Taylor, K G; Larson, P L; Dodson, P; You, H; Da-qing, L; Bergmann, U

    2011-09-16

    Well-preserved fossils of pivotal early bird and nonavian theropod species have provided unequivocal evidence for feathers and/or downlike integuments. Recent studies have reconstructed color on the basis of melanosome structure; however, the chemistry of these proposed melanosomes has remained unknown. We applied synchrotron x-ray techniques to several fossil and extant organisms, including Confuciusornis sanctus, in order to map and characterize possible chemical residues of melanin pigments. Results show that trace metals, such as copper, are present in fossils as organometallic compounds most likely derived from original eumelanin. The distribution of these compounds provides a long-lived biomarker of melanin presence and density within a range of fossilized organisms. Metal zoning patterns may be preserved long after melanosome structures have been destroyed.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Major Holocene Climatic Cycle Recorded in Snow Stratigraphy of the East Antarctic Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wise, D. U.

    2011-12-01

    Satellite images show near-surface snows of the East Antarctic Plateau can be divided into four previously unrecognized stratigraphic units, each separated by unconformities. The sequence records an apparent cycle of hot to cold conditions followed by slow return to the modern warm climate. It began with megadune deposition during hot conditions with strong winds and heavy snowfalls from local sources in open marine waters, most likely during the Holocene hypsothermal climatic excursion. Megadunes are unique to this plateau as upwind-migrating, upper flow regime features, characterized by alternating glazed and unglazed snow pseudo-beds with 2 - 4 km wavelength but only 1 - 5 m amplitude. They form a zebra-striped pattern with exposure across ~ 106 km2 or ~ 15 - 20% of the plateau surface. As the hypsothermal excursion ended, wind velocity decreased, snow supplies declined, Froude numbers approached unity, and deposition shifted abruptly from upper flow regime megadunes into lower flow regime downwind-migrating, ephemeral, high topographic relief dunes, a type previously undescribed and like megadunes unique to the plateau. Soon these were replaced by ordinary, downwind migrating, parabolic dunes to complete a trio of dune types comprising the basal or unit #1 member of the stratigraphic sequence. All were abandoned with development of unit #2, characterized by pervasive snow-starvation and overlapping "tiger claw" wind lineations that sweep downslope for distances of 1000 to 1500 km. These two units record the first part of the cycle, a long-term monotonic decrease in snow availability, best explained by a steadily cooling climate that expanded ice cover across marine moisture sources. Ultimately much of the adjacent Southern Ocean froze to allow both units to develop a strongly lineated, wind-burned, recrystallized surface. When climates finally began to warm and marine ice cover began to recede, unit #3's snows began to expand with basal unconformity across most

  20. Evolutionary History of the Asian Horned Frogs (Megophryinae): Integrative Approaches to Timetree Dating in the Absence of a Fossil Record.

    PubMed

    Mahony, Stephen; Foley, Nicole M; Biju, S D; Teeling, Emma C

    2017-03-01

    Molecular dating studies typically need fossils to calibrate the analyses. Unfortunately, the fossil record is extremely poor or presently nonexistent for many species groups, rendering such dating analysis difficult. One such group is the Asian horned frogs (Megophryinae). Sampling all generic nomina, we combined a novel ∼5 kb dataset composed of four nuclear and three mitochondrial gene fragments to produce a robust phylogeny, with an extensive external morphological study to produce a working taxonomy for the group. Expanding the molecular dataset to include out-groups of fossil-represented ancestral anuran families, we compared the priorless RelTime dating method with the widely used prior-based Bayesian timetree method, MCMCtree, utilizing a novel combination of fossil priors for anuran phylogenetic dating. The phylogeny was then subjected to ancestral phylogeographic analyses, and dating estimates were compared with likely biogeographic vicariant events. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that previously proposed systematic hypotheses were incorrect due to the paraphyly of genera. Molecular phylogenetic, morphological, and timetree results support the recognition of Megophryinae as a single genus, Megophrys, with a subgenus level classification. Timetree results using RelTime better corresponded with the known fossil record for the out-group anuran tree. For the priorless in-group, it also outperformed MCMCtree when node date estimates were compared with likely influential historical biogeographic events, providing novel insights into the evolutionary history of this pan-Asian anuran group. Given a relatively small molecular dataset, and limited prior knowledge, this study demonstrates that the computationally rapid RelTime dating tool may outperform more popular and complex prior reliant timetree methodologies.

  1. †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.

  2. Late Cretaceous Extreme Polar Warmth recorded by Vertebrate Fossils from the High Canadian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vandermark, D.; Tarduno, J. A.; Brinkman, D.

    2006-12-01

    A vertebrate fossil assemblage from Late Cretaceous (Coniacian-Turonian, ~92 to 86 Ma) rocks on Axel Heiberg Island in the High Canadian Arctic reflects what was once a diverse community of freshwater fishes and reptiles. Paleomagnetic data indicate a paleolatitude of ~71° N for the site; the fossils are from non-migratory fauna, so they can provide insight into Late Cretaceous polar climate. The fossil assemblage includes large (> 2.4 m long) champsosaurs (extinct crocodilelike reptiles). The presence of large champsosaurs suggests a mean annual temperature > 14 °C (and perhaps as great as 25 °C). Here we summarize findings and analyses following the discovery of the fossil-bearing strata in 1996. Examination of larger fish elements, isolated teeth and SEM studies of microstructures indicates the presence of lepisosteids, amiids and teleosts (Friedman et al., 2003) Interestingly, the only other known occurrence of amiids and lepisosteids, fossil or recent, are from intervals of extreme warmth during the Tertiary. Turtles present in the assemblage include Boreralochelys axelheibergensis, a generically indeterminate eucryptodire and a trioychid (Brinkman and Tarduno, 2005). The level of turtle diversity is also comparable to mid-latitude assemblages with a mean annual paleotemperature of at least 14 °C. A large portion of the champsosaur fossil assemblage is comprised of elements from subadults. This dominance of subadults is similar to that seen from low latitude sites. Because of the sensitivity of juveniles to ice formation, the make-up of the Arctic champsosaur population further indicates that the Late Cretaceous saw an interval of extreme warmth and low seasonality. We note the temporal coincidence of these fossils with volcanism at large igneous provinces (including high Arctic volcanism) and suggest that a pulse in volcanic carbon dioxide emissions helped cause the global warmth.

  3. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Late Paleocene fossils from the Cerrejón Formation, Colombia, are the earliest record of Neotropical rainforest

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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 ≈58-my-old flora from the Cerrejón Formation of Colombia (paleolatitude ≈5 °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 °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. PMID:19833876

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

    PubMed

    Hyžný, Matúš; Gašparič, Rok

    2014-06-19

    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.

  9. Dramatic Contrasts in Arctic vs Antarctic Sea Ice Trends in 3-D Visualizations and Compilations of Monthly Record Highs and Lows

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Parkinson, Claire L.; DiGirolamo, Nicolo E.

    2016-01-01

    New visualizations dramatically display the decreases in Arctic sea ice coverage over the years 1979-2015, apparent in each month of the year, with not a single record high in ice extents occurring in any month since 1986, a time period with 75 monthly record lows. Results are less dramatic in the Antarctic, but intriguingly in the opposite direction, with only 6 record lows since 1986 and 45 record highs.

  10. Joining Australia to Antarctica GCM implications for the Cenozoic record of Antarctic glaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oglesby, Robert J.

    1991-07-01

    A previous GCM study concerning the formation and maintenance of Antarctic glaciation is expanded to include the joining of Australia to Antarctica; the two continents were physically connected prior to about 40 million years ago. It has been proposed that the increased continentality resulting from the enlarged landmass inhibited glaciation by increasing the degree of summer heating. However, simulations with the NCAR CCM1 suggest little change in the net Antarctic snow accumulation when Australia is joined to Antarctica, even under extreme variations in SST and topography. If anything, there is a slight increase in the net accumulation with the larger landmass. The climate of Australia does change markedly, consistent with the roughly 30° poleward shift in latitude. These results may not be inconsistent with paleoclimatic data from the early Cenozoic and the Cretaceous, with temperate flora and fauna along the coast, and large ice sheets inland.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    2016-07-08

    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.

  15. 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

  16. Deep-sea foraging behavior: its bathymetric potential in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kitchell, J A; Kitchell, J F; Clark, D L; Dangeard, L

    1978-06-16

    Spiral and meander foraging traces in the deep sea are not distributed in proportion to assumed food availability. Data collected by means of deep-sea photography failed to reveal a bathymetric gradient in behavioral complexity or sensitivity. The foraging paradigm developed by numerous trace fossil studies does not adequately predict the modern environment.

  17. New records and species of Crepidodera Chevrolat (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in Eocene European amber, with a brief review of described fossil beetles from Bitterfeld amber.

    PubMed

    Bukejs, Andris; Biondi, Maurizio; Alekseev, Vitalii I

    2016-11-15

    Based on six relatively well-preserved specimens from Eocene Baltic amber, Crepidodera tertiotertiaria sp. nov. is described. The new species is illustrated and compared with morphologically similar extant and fossil relatives. It is the third described fossil species of Crepidodera Chevrolat. In addition to the new taxon, new fossil records of C. decolorata Nadein & Perkovsky from Baltic and Bitterfeld amber are presented. A key to species of Crepidodera described from fossil resins is provided, and a checklist of Coleoptera described from Bitterfeld amber is compiled.

  18. 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.

  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. Cercopithecoid humeri from Taung support the distinction of major papionin clades in the South African fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Christopher C; Takahashi, Maressa Q; Delson, Eric

    2016-01-01

    Associated cercopithecoid postcrania are rare in the Plio-Pleistocene fossil record, particularly in the case of South African karst cave sites. However, as clear postcranial differences between major papionin clades have been documented, it should be possible to assign isolated papionin postcrania to the Cercocebus/Mandrillus and Papio/Lophocebus/Theropithecus groups wherever sufficient anatomy is preserved. Here, we demonstrate that two partial humeri preserved at Taung, UCMP 56693 and UCMP 125898, are most likely attributable to the Cercocebus/Mandrillus and Papio/Lophocebus/Theropithecus clades, respectively. Univariate analyses (ANOVAs and t-tests) and multivariate analyses (discriminant function analyses) of humeral features, combined with a phylogenetic analysis of 24 humeral characters, all support our assessment. Given that the overwhelming number of craniodental specimens at Taung are attributable to two papionin taxa, Procercocebus antiquus (a member of the Cercocebus/Mandrillus clade) and Papio izodi (a purported fossil species of the modern genus Papio), we assign UCMP 56693 to Pr. antiquus and UCMP 125868 to P. izodi with a high degree of confidence. Implications for cercopithecoid evolution and biogeography are discussed, with a particular emphasis on these two fossil taxa.

  1. Do species populations really start small? New perspectives from the Late Neogene fossil record of African mammals.

    PubMed Central

    Vrba, E S; DeGusta, D

    2004-01-01

    This analysis of all known African larger mammals of the past 10 Myr offers new perspectives on the geographical circumstances of speciation. Our central question is: does the fossil evidence support the idea that most new species start as small populations and, if true, how long is the average growth interval until species are established at their mean later size? This simple question is important to unravelling the competing claims of rival models of speciation. We approached it by direct use of fossil data, which, to our knowledge, has not been done previously. We compared the numbers of fossil site records, as a proxy for magnitude of geographical spread, between survivorship intervals across all species. The results show that the average mammal species has indeed started its life in a relatively small population, and thereafter increased rapidly in geographical spread to reach its long-term equilibrium abundance by about 1 million years after origin. Some theoretical implications of these results are discussed. PMID:15101584

  2. A 3 Million Year physical Record of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current: Results from ODP Site 1101 and Comparison with Other Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hassold, N. J.; Rea, D. K.; van der Pluijm, B. A.; Pares, J. M.

    2005-12-01

    Ocean circulation and climate are intimately connected, as the oceans are a major mechanism of heat transport between latitudes, with the result that changes in circulation accompany climate change. After a brief warm period in the early Pliocene, continued global cooling led to ice sheet formation in the Northern Hemisphere and the ensuing Northern Hemisphere Glaciation. The Southern Ocean is the main area of mixing of waters from the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans and is, therefore, a proxy of circulation changes. As its primary current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) transports the largest volume of water (and heat) of any current on the planet. It extends to the sea floor, entraining incoming sediments, that are deposited along the flanks of topographical highs. These sediment drifts provide a sensitive record of ACC flow and, when close to Antarctica, a record of glacial activity. ODP Leg 178 drilled a series of drift deposits along the Pacific continental slope of the Antarctic Peninsula. Magnetic fabric analysis (Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility, 211 samples) and grain size distribution determination (132 samples) on sediment from Site 1101, spanning the last 3 my, provide a proxy record of current strength. Mass Accumulation Rates (MAR) of terrigenous sediment, averaging about 7 g/cm2/ky, decrease at 2.5 Ma and then gradually increase before decreasing again around 0.75 Ma. Silica MAR values decrease gradually from 3 Ma to around 1.8 Ma and remain fairly constant at about 4 g/cm2/ky through the Quaternary. The MAR of the > 63 μm fraction has multiple peaks throughout the time period studied, which we interpret as evidence of ice sheet activity as recorded by ice-rafted debris. The magnetic fabric, which we use as a proxy for current strength, shows a moderate degree of fluctuation that gradually declines over time, in agreement with work by Joseph et al. (2002) on samples from the Kerguelen Plateau and our recent work at ODP Site 1095

  3. El Niño during the Last Interglacial Period recorded by a fossil coral from Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughen, Konrad A.; Schrag, Daniel P.; Jacobsen, Stein B.; Hantoro, Wahyoe

    Measurements of oxygen isotopes and elemental ratios in a fossil coral that grew 124,000 years ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, reflect interannual variability in precipitation and sea surface temperature (SST) due to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This indicates that ENSO was robust during the last interglacial period, a time when global climate was slightly warmer than the present. The pattern of ENSO frequency behavior in the past is similar to variability in modern instrumental records, but distinct from the most recent period since the mid-1970s, supporting the hypothesis that ENSO behavior in recent decades is anomalous with respect to natural variability.

  4. 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.

  5. A Fossil DNA Based High Resolution Record of Holocene Planktonic Taxa and Environmental Change in the Black Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coolen, M. J.; Saenz, J. P.; Trowbridge, N.; Eglinton, T.

    2007-12-01

    A standard approach to study past planktonic taxa which carry information about past environments and climate variability is the microscopic determination and enumeration of microfossils. However, most planktonic taxa are soft-bodied and in cases where microfossils are absent or difficult to identify, chemical fossils (lipid biomarkers) can be used as paleoecological tools. Nevertheless, most lipids are not very specific, multiple sources are possible, or their biological source remains unknown. Recently, we and others have shown that under excellent preservation conditions, the analysis of preserved genetic signatures (fossil DNA) offers great potential to study past planktonic communities, including soft-bodied species, at the unprecedented species- and even strain-level (this work). Given the dramatic shifts in hydrography and the present anoxia that permeates most of the water column which promotes preservation of cellular materials, the Black Sea is an excellent setting to study the ancient species composition based on fossil DNA. We developed a high temporal resolution (50-100 yr) fossil DNA and lipid biomarker based stratigraphic record of planktonic community structure in the Black Sea spanning the complete Holocene development from the first post-glacial input of Mediterranean waters in the paleo-lacustrine Black Sea to the present. Preserved genetic markers for microbial communities dwelling at the surface (algal primary producers and zooplankton), the suboxic layer (marine Crenarchaeota), and the sulfidic chemocline (green sulfur bacteria) were targeted to provide information on past environmental change in the Black Sea. Specifically, we targeted markers that contributed to our understanding of past surface water temperature, salinity and stratification. Where possible, a side-by-side phylogenetic and lipid biomarker analyses was performed in order to carefully assess the validity of utilizing the former as proxies of a given biological input. As the

  6. Individual to community-level faunal responses to environmental change from a marine fossil record of Early Miocene global warming.

    PubMed

    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.

  7. 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

  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

    2000-01-07

    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. Holocene climate and glacial history of the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula: the marine sedimentary record from a long SHALDRIL core

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michalchuk, Bradley R.; Anderson, John B.; Wellner, Julia S.; Manley, Patricia L.; Majewski, Wojciech; Bohaty, Steve

    2009-12-01

    A high-resolution record of Holocene deglacial and climate history was obtained from a 77 m sediment core from the Firth of Tay, Antarctic Peninsula, as part of the SHALDRIL initiative. This study provides a detailed sedimentological record of Holocene paleoclimate and glacial advance and retreat from the eastern side of the peninsula. A robust chronostratigraphy was derived from thirty-three radiocarbon dates on carbonate material. This chronostratigraphic framework was used to establish the timing of glacial and climate events derived from multiple proxies including: magnetic susceptibility, electric resistivity, porosity, ice-rafted debris content, organic carbon content, nitrogen content, biogenic silica content, and diatom and foraminiferal assemblages. The core bottomed-out in a stiff diamicton interpreted as till. Gravelly and sandy mud above the till is interpreted as proximal glaciomarine sediment that represents decoupling of the glacier from the seafloor circa 9400 cal. yr BP and its subsequent landward retreat. This was approximately 5000 yr later than in the Bransfield Basin and South Shetland Islands, on the western side of the peninsula. The Firth of Tay core site remained in a proximal glaciomarine setting until 8300 cal. yr BP, at which time significant glacial retreat took place. Deposition of diatomaceous glaciomarine sediments after 8300 cal. yr BP indicates that an ice shelf has not existed in the area since this time. The onset of seasonally open marine conditions between 7800 and 6000 cal. yr BP followed the deglacial period and is interpreted as the mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum. Open marine conditions lasted until present, with a minor cooling having occurred between 6000 and 4500 cal. yr BP and a period of minor glacial retreat and/or decreased sea ice coverage between 4500 and 3500 cal. yr BP. Finally, climatic cooling and variable sea ice cover occurred from 3500 cal. yr BP to near present and it is interpreted as being part of the

  11. 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.

  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

    2016-04-05

    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.

  13. Leaf fossil record suggests limited influence of atmospheric CO2 on terrestrial productivity prior to angiosperm evolution

    PubMed Central

    Boyce, C. Kevin; Zwieniecki, Maciej A.

    2012-01-01

    Declining CO2 over the Cretaceous has been suggested as an evolutionary driver of the high leaf vein densities (7–28 mm mm−2) that are unique to the angiosperms throughout all of Earth history. Photosynthetic modeling indicated the link between high vein density and productivity documented in the modern low-CO2 regime would be lost as CO2 concentrations increased but also implied that plants with very low vein densities (less than 3 mm mm−2) should experience substantial disadvantages with high CO2. Thus, the hypothesized relationship between CO2 and plant evolution can be tested through analysis of the concurrent histories of alternative lineages, because an extrinsic driver like atmospheric CO2 should affect all plants and not just the flowering plants. No such relationship is seen. Regardless of CO2 concentrations, low vein densities are equally common among nonangiosperms throughout history and common enough to include forest canopies and not just obligate shade species that will always be of limited productivity. Modeling results can be reconciled with the fossil record if maximum assimilation rates of nonflowering plants are capped well below those of flowering plants, capturing biochemical and physiological differences that would be consistent with extant plants but previously unrecognized in the fossil record. Although previous photosynthetic modeling suggested that productivity would double or triple with each Phanerozoic transition from low to high CO2, productivity changes are likely to have been limited before a substantial increase accompanying the evolution of flowering plants. PMID:22689947

  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. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Antarctic polymict eucrite Yamato 792769 and the cratering record on the HED parent body

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bogard, D.; Nyquist, L.; Takeda, H.; Mori, H.; Aoyama, T.; Bansal, B.; Wiesmann, H.; Shih, C.-Y.

    1993-05-01

    Compared to most other Yamato polymict eucrites, Yamato Y792769 eucrite includes fewer and smaller eucritic clasts with homogenized pyroxenes, and its fine-grained matrix is shock-compacted and sintered. In this work, the relationships between the Antarctic eucrite Y792769, monomict eucrites, polymict eucrites, and isotopic ages are investigated, using results of Ar-39/Ar-40 method to date the time of the major thermal event on the Y792769 body and the Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd methods to determine whether relict older ages might have been preserved in some of the breccia materials. The Ar-39/Ar-40 time of the last thermal event which produced the Y792769 texture is 3.99 +/- 0.04 Ga. The complete resetting of the Ar-39/Ar-40 age is consistent with the texture of Y792769 observed in TEM, suggesting that shock compaction converted part of the matrix plagioclase to maskelynite. The Sm-Nd data give an age of 4.23 +/- 0.12 Ga, reflecting partial resetting of the Sm-Nd system during breccia formation. The 3.9 Ga Ar-39/Ar-40 age probably reflects a period of intense meteoroid bompardment which affected the entire inner solar system.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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 (13C/12C 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-09-01

    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 (13C/12C 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

    2014-03-28

    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.

  7. Sea salt sodium record from Talos Dome (East Antarctica) as a potential proxy of the Antarctic past sea ice extent.

    PubMed

    Severi, M; Becagli, S; Caiazzo, L; Ciardini, V; Colizza, E; Giardi, F; Mezgec, K; Scarchilli, C; Stenni, B; Thomas, E R; Traversi, R; Udisti, R

    2017-06-01

    Antarctic sea ice has shown an increasing trend in recent decades, but with strong regional differences from one sector to another of the Southern Ocean. The Ross Sea and the Indian sectors have seen an increase in sea ice during the satellite era (1979 onwards). Here we present a record of ssNa(+) flux in the Talos Dome region during a 25-year period spanning from 1979 to 2003, showing that this marker could be used as a potential proxy for reconstructing the sea ice extent in the Ross Sea and Western Pacific Ocean at least for recent decades. After finding a positive relationship between the maxima in sea ice extent for a 25-year period, we used this relationship in the TALDICE record in order to reconstruct the sea ice conditions over the 20th century. Our tentative reconstruction highlighted a decline in the sea ice extent (SIE) starting in the 1950s and pointed out a higher variability of SIE starting from the 1960s and that the largest sea ice extents of the last century occurred during the 1990s.

  8. 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.

  9. Trace fossils and substrates of the terminal Proterozoic-Cambrian transition: implications for the record of early bilaterians and sediment mixing.

    PubMed

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

    2002-10-01

    The trace fossil record is important in determining the timing of the appearance of bilaterian animals. A conservative estimate puts this time at approximately equal 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    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.

  15. 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

  16. The Terrestrial Fossil Organic Matter Record of Global Carbon Cycling: A Late Paleozoic through Early Mesozoic Perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montanez, I. P.

    2006-12-01

    The carbon isotope composition of terrestrial fossil organic matter (δ13Corg) has been widely used as a proxy of global carbon cycling and to reconstruct perturbations to the ocean-atmosphere carbon budget. The degree to which terrestrial δ13Corg records local to regional environmental conditions versus the evolution of the global carbon cycle has been highly debated. The high-resolution (104 to 106 m.y.) terrestrial δ13Corg record presented here defines a long-term trend through the latest Devonian to Late Triassic that reveals significant and systematic variations that track independently inferred changes in climate, paleo-atmospheric pCO2, and major restructuring in paleotropical flora. This newly derived record is based on 350 carbon isotope analyses of compressed and permineralized plants, cuticle, charcoal and coal (including vitrinite and fusinite) collected from paleo-wetland mudstones and claystones, claystone-filled abandoned fluvial channels, floodplain mudstones, and ephemeral lacustrine deposits at paleo-tropical to paleo-temperate latitudes. Morphologic and geochemical analysis of contemporaneous paleosols and fluvial-alluvial deposits allow for correlation of terrestrial δ13Corg values to reconstructed paleo-environmental conditions. Terrestrial δ13Corg values of contemporaneous fossil organic matter exhibit systematic inter- and intra-basinal variation of up to 2‰ associated with differences in paleo-precipitation and burial history, and geomorphic position within depositional basins and paleo-fluvial systems. Variation in δ13Corg by organic matter type is minimal to less than 1.5‰; specifically, charcoal δ13Corg values overlap to are slightly less negative than those of thermally less mature organic components analyzed. Overall, variation within contemporaneous populations is significantly less than defined by the long-term terrestrial δ13Corg record. Moreover, paleo-floral pi/pa ratios, an established proxy of water-use efficiency of

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Are the past variations of the stratospheric sulfate burden recorded in central Antarctic snow and ice layers?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delmas, Robert; Boutron, Claude

    1980-10-01

    Thirty-two snow samples, taken from a pit dug at Dome C (central Antarctica) and covering a continuous time period of about 100 years from 1880 (±5 years) up to the present, have been subjected to sulfate analysis. The concentrations determined range from 50 to 150·10-9g g,-1 of snow, with no apparent increase because of global sulfur pollution. The more important fluctuations observed on the sulfate concentration profile seem to be linked to major volcanic eruptions which occurred in the southern hemisphere during the studied time period, in particular Krakatoa in 1883 and Agung in 1963. The experimental and calculated contributions of this last eruption to the sulfate deposition in Antarctica agree satisfactorily. The sulfate background (about ? of the overall sulfate deposition during the last 100 years) has most likely a marine origin (`excess sulfate'.) It is suggested that the past variations of the stratospheric sulfate burden are recorded in Antarctic snow and ice layers and that they could be reconstructed by analyzing the sulfate content in deep ice cores.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Biotic immigration events, speciation, and the accumulation of biodiversity in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stigall, Alycia L.; Bauer, Jennifer E.; Lam, Adriane R.; Wright, David F.

    2017-01-01

    Biotic Immigration Events (BIMEs) record the large-scale dispersal of taxa from one biogeographic area to another and have significantly impacted biodiversity throughout geologic time. BIMEs associated with biodiversity increases have been linked to ecologic and evolutionary processes including niche partitioning, species packing, and higher speciation rates. Yet substantial biodiversity decline has also been documented following BIMEs due to elevated extinction and/or reduced speciation rates. In this review, we develop a conceptual model for biodiversity accumulation that links BIMEs and geographic isolation with local (α) diversity, regional (β) diversity, and global (γ) diversity metrics. Within the model, BIME intervals are characterized by colonization of existing species within new geographic regions and a lack of successful speciation events. Thus, there is no change in γ-diversity, and α-diversity increases at the cost of β-diversity. An interval of regional isolation follows in which lineage splitting results in successful speciation events and diversity increases across all three metrics. Alternation of these two regimes can result in substantial biodiversity accumulation. We tested this conceptual model using a series of case studies from the paleontological record. We primarily focus on two intervals during the Middle through Late Ordovician Period (470-458 Ma): the globally pervasive BIMEs during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE) and a regional BIME, the Richmondian Invasion. We further test the conceptual model by examining the Great Devonian Interchange, Neogene mollusk migrations and diversification, and the Great American Biotic Interchange. Paleontological data accord well with model predictions. Constraining the mechanisms of biodiversity accumulation provides context for conservation biology. Because α-, β-, and γ-diversity are semi-independent, different techniques should be considered for sustaining various

  6. Plio-Pleistocene ice volume, Antarctic climate, and the global delta18O record.

    PubMed

    Raymo, M E; Lisiecki, L E; Nisancioglu, Kerim H

    2006-07-28

    We propose that from approximately 3 to 1 million years ago, ice volume changes occurred in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, each controlled by local summer insolation. Because Earth's orbital precession is out of phase between hemispheres, 23,000-year changes in ice volume in each hemisphere cancel out in globally integrated proxies such as ocean delta18O or sea level, leaving the in-phase obliquity (41,000 years) component of insolation to dominate those records. Only a modest ice mass change in Antarctica is required to effectively cancel out a much larger northern ice volume signal. At the mid-Pleistocene transition, we propose that marine-based ice sheet margins replaced terrestrial ice margins around the perimeter of East Antarctica, resulting in a shift to in-phase behavior of northern and southern ice sheets as well as the strengthening of 23,000-year cyclicity in the marine delta18O record.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-18

    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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Kano, Yasunori; Chiba, Satoshi; Kase, Tomoki

    2002-01-01

    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

  14. 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.

  15. Multi-year record of atmospheric and snow surface nitrate in the central Antarctic plateau.

    PubMed

    Traversi, R; Becagli, S; Brogioni, M; Caiazzo, L; Ciardini, V; Giardi, F; Legrand, M; Macelloni, G; Petkov, B; Preunkert, S; Scarchilli, C; Severi, M; Vitale, V; Udisti, R

    2017-04-01

    Continuous all year-round samplings of atmospheric aerosol and surface snow at high (daily to 4-day) resolution were carried out at Dome C since 2004-05 to 2013 and nitrate records are here presented. Basing on a larger statistical data set than previous studies, results confirm that nitrate seasonal pattern is characterized by maxima during austral summer for both aerosol and surface snow, occurring in-phase with solar UV irradiance. This temporal pattern is likely due to a combination of nitrate sources and post-depositional processes whose intensity usually enhances during the summer. Moreover, it should be noted that a case study of the synoptic conditions, which took place during a major nitrate event, showed the occurrence of a stratosphere-troposphere exchange. The sampling of both matrices at the same time with high resolution allowed the detection of a an about one-month long recurring lag of summer maxima in snow with respect to aerosol. This result can be explained by deposition and post-deposition processes occurring at the atmosphere-snow interface, such as a net uptake of gaseous nitric acid and a replenishment of the uppermost surface layers driven by a larger temperature gradient in summer. This hypothesis was preliminarily tested by a comparison with surface layers temperature data in the 2012-13 period. The analysis of the relationship between the nitrate concentration in the gas phase and total nitrate obtained at Dome C (2012-13) showed the major role of gaseous HNO3 to the total nitrate budget suggesting the need to further investigate the gas-to-particle conversion processes.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Atmospheric forcing of Holocene climate variability along the western Antarctic Peninsula: Novel insights from the TEX86 paleotemperature record of Palmer Deep

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shevenell, A.; Ingalls, A.; Domack, E.; Emerson, S.

    2006-12-01

    Warming of the atmosphere and oceans has been implicated in the recent disintegration of massive ice shelves, reduced sea ice extent, and shifting ecologic zones observed along the Antarctic Peninsula. To place this environmental variability within the context of long-term deglacial to Holocene (0-13,000 years) change, researchers have reconstructed the past Holocene climate state of the Antarctic Peninsula using proxy records from ice and sediment cores. While ice cores provide a detailed record of regional atmospheric temperature change, obtaining similar quality records of past ocean temperatures has proven difficult due to a dearth of calcium carbonate in Antarctic continental margin marine sediments. Because ocean temperatures likely play a significant role in Antarctic ice shelf/ice sheet stability and sea ice extent, robust geochemical records of past sea surface temperatures (SST) are critically required to more fully resolve mechanisms of Holocene climate and cryosphere change. Here we present a detailed TEX86 sea surface temperature (SST) record extracted from a well-dated hemipelagic sedimentary sequence drilled in Palmer Deep, on the western Antarctic Peninsula continental margin (ODP Hole 1098B; 1010 meters water depth). The recently developed TEX86 (TetraEther indeX of lipids with 86 carbon atoms) proxy is based on the distribution of sedimentary lipids originally produced by surface dwelling planktonic archaea and has been calibrated using core-top sediments from waters with temperatures between 0 and 30°C (current error estimate: ±2°C). To our knowledge, our Palmer Deep record is the first downcore TEX86 record produced in the polar regions and due to the small number of existing measurements at these cold temperatures, estimates of the error at this end of the calibration may continue to evolve. However, the appeal of employing TEX86 paleothermometry in Palmer Deep sediments is that TEX86 can be measured in carbonate-poor sediments and the ratio

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-12-01

    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.

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Popov, Yuri A; Chłond, Dominik

    2015-11-06

    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.

  5. †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

  6. High-Resolution pCO2 Record for the Cenomanian-Turonian OAE2 based on Fossil Plant Cuticle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barclay, R. S.; Sageman, B. B.; McElwain, J. C.

    2008-12-01

    The Cenomanian-Turonian oceanic anoxic event 2 (OAE2) represents a major perturbation to the ocean- atmosphere-terrestrial system that lasted at least 600 ka. Marine extinction associated with OAE2 is thought to have occurred due to global marine anoxia, and increased primary production is the likely driver. However, the causal factors leading to increased production have remained poorly resolved. Recent research indicates that a pulse of submarine volcanism occurred in association with OAE2, and it has been suggested that this event led to overturn of the stratified ocean, possibly bringing P-rich deep waters to the surface. 208/204Pbinitial ratios taken from the Bonarelli horizon suggest that CO2 expelled by the volcanic event may have come from the Caribbean LIP. This is supported by a rapid negative shift in both 186/187Os and 87/86Sr isotopes just prior to OAE2, suggesting a marine source for the CO2 pulse. Some prior studies suggested that OAE2 resulted in a major drawdown of high ambient pCO2 levels. Only recently has a volcanic-sourced CO2 pulse been suggested for the event and its implications have yet to be fully explored. Two previous studies attempted to reconstruct pCO2 levels through OAE2 using geochemical proxy methods. Both studies show a decline in pCO2 at the onset of the δ13C excursion, but with decreases ranging from 140 to at least 400ppmV. Since neither study extended analyses to the interval preceding onset of the δ13C excursion it is difficult to assess the longer term trend. In addition, marine-based proxy methods contain large uncertainties that may be avoided in a non-marine proxy of pCO2, such as the stomatal frequency record of fossil plant cuticles. The stomatal based paleo-CO2 proxy relies on a genetically controlled inverse relationship between pCO2 and stomatal frequency in terrestrial plant leaves. Abundant plant cuticle is preserved in the paralic sections of the Dakota SS in SW Utah, which has been correlated to the Cenomanian

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Characterization of fossil organic matter with Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy: an attempt to record extraterrestrial life .

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guido, A.; Mastandrea, A.; Tosti, F.; Demasi, F.; Blanco, A.; D'Elia, M.; Orofino, V.; Fonti, S.; Russo, F.

    The characterization of the insoluble macromolecular fraction of organic matter preserved in carbonate sediments allows the identification of fossil organisms otherwise not recognizable. This approach represents a new tool for the detection of extraterrestrial traces of life even in their primitive form, one of the primary goals of exobiological studies on Mars. Considering the deep connection between carbonate sediments and biological activities on Earth, we checked if it was possible to characterize the organic matter remains dispersed within these rocks, with Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The experiment was performed on ancient and well preserved carbonates, belonging to the Calcare di Base Formation outcropping in Northern Calabria (Rossano Basin). The origin of these Miocene deposits is problematic, due to the absence of skeletal fossils. The results demonstrate that FTIR is a reliable method for the characterization of the organic matter preserved in carbonates, and generally in all types of sedimentary rocks.

  13. 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.

  14. Vascularization of the Selaginella rhizophore: anatomical fingerprints of polar auxin transport with implications for the deep fossil record.

    PubMed

    Matsunaga, Kelly K S; Cullen, Nevin P; Tomescu, Alexandru M F

    2017-02-22

    The Selaginella rhizophore is a unique and enigmatic organ whose homology with roots, shoots, or neither of the two remains unresolved. Nevertheless, rhizophore-like organs have been documented in several fossil lycophytes. Here we test the homology of these organs through comparisons with the architecture of rhizophore vascularization in Selaginella. We document rhizophore vascularization in nine Selaginella species using cleared whole-mounts and histological sectioning combined with three-dimensional reconstruction. Three patterns of rhizophore vascularization are present in Selaginella and each is comparable to those observed in rhizophore-like organs of fossil lycophytes. More compellingly, we found that all Selaginella species sampled exhibit tracheids that arc backward from the stem and side branch into the rhizophore base. This tracheid curvature is consistent with acropetal auxin transport previously documented in the rhizophore and is indicative of the redirection of basipetal auxin from the shoot into the rhizophore during development. The tracheid curvature observed in Selaginella rhizophores provides an anatomical fingerprint for the patterns of auxin flow that underpin rhizophore development. Similar tracheid geometry may be present and should be searched for in fossils to address rhizophore homology and the conservation of auxin-related developmental mechanisms from early stages of lycophyte evolution.

  15. "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)

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  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. 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,…

  2. 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…

  3. 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.

  4. First record of fossil wood and phytolith assemblages of the Late Pleistocene in El Palmar National Park (Argentina)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zucol, A. F.; Brea, M.; Scopel, A.

    2005-10-01

    Two paleoxylologic assemblages and two phytolith assemblages were recovered from Late Pleistocene sediments of El Palmar Formation. These deposits are found in outcrops along the western margin of the Uruguay River. The spectra of taxa obtained in both sets by different methods is complementary. The fossil remains are characterized in terms of floristic composition and paleoclimate. Seven families are recognized: Podostemaceae, Myrtaceae, Anacardiaceae, Mimosoideae, Arecaceae, Poaceace, and Cyperaceae. Sponge siliceous spicules also have been found in these assemblages. The state of preservation of the phytoliths and their weathering degree is analyzed. These studies can be used as a potential paleoecological tool for alluvial sediments. The comparison of fossil assemblages with modern analogs clarifies the paleoecological requirements and composition of two paleocommunities, one dominated by woody forests and the other by palms. The climatic conditions inferred from the reconstructed vegetation and sedimentary deposits indicate a temperate-warm, humid climate. The results constitute the first evidence of the floral diversity of the vegetation in El Palmar National Park during the Late Pleistocene.

  5. Parasites in the fossil record: a Cretaceous fauna with isopod-infested decapod crustaceans, infestation patterns through time, and a new ichnotaxon.

    PubMed

    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).

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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)

  11. Plants and soil microbes respond to recent warming on the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amesbury, M. J.; Royles, J.; Hodgson, D.; Convey, P.; Griffiths, H.; Charman, D.

    2013-12-01

    The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, with 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 are not suitably located to be able to trace the spatial signature of change over time. This paper will present the first published results from a wider project exploiting peat moss banks spanning 10 degrees of latitude along the Antarctic Peninsula as an archive of late Holocene climate variability. 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. A unique time series of past moss growth and soil microbial activity has been produced from a 150 year old moss bank at Lazarev Bay, Alexander Island, a site at the southern limit of significant plant growth in the Antarctic Peninsula region. We use accumulation rates, cellulose δ13C and fossil testate amoebae to provide an indication of ecosystem productivity. We show that both moss and microbial population growth rates rose rapidly in the 1960s, consistent with temperature change, although recently may have stalled, concurrent with other evidence. The increase in terrestrial plant growth rates and soil microbial activity is unprecedented in the last 150 years. The observed relationship between moss growth, microbial activity and climate at Lazarev Bay 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, complementing the more distant and widely dispersed ice core records. As a result, we will conclude by placing the Lazarev Bay record into the wider context of the latest progress of analysis of

  12. Climate Change and Trophic Response of the Antarctic Bottom Fauna

    PubMed Central

    Aronson, Richard B.; Moody, Ryan M.; Ivany, Linda C.; Blake, Daniel B.; Werner, John E.; Glass, Alexander

    2009-01-01

    Background As Earth warms, temperate and subpolar marine species will increasingly shift their geographic ranges poleward. The endemic shelf fauna of Antarctica is especially vulnerable to climate-mediated biological invasions because cold temperatures currently exclude the durophagous (shell-breaking) predators that structure shallow-benthic communities elsewhere. Methodology/Principal Findings We used the Eocene fossil record from Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula, to project specifically how global warming will reorganize the nearshore benthos of Antarctica. A long-term cooling trend, which began with a sharp temperature drop ∼41 Ma (million years ago), eliminated durophagous predators—teleosts (modern bony fish), decapod crustaceans (crabs and lobsters) and almost all neoselachian elasmobranchs (modern sharks and rays)—from Antarctic nearshore waters after the Eocene. Even prior to those extinctions, durophagous predators became less active as coastal sea temperatures declined from 41 Ma to the end of the Eocene, ∼33.5 Ma. In response, dense populations of suspension-feeding ophiuroids and crinoids abruptly appeared. Dense aggregations of brachiopods transcended the cooling event with no apparent change in predation pressure, nor were there changes in the frequency of shell-drilling predation on venerid bivalves. Conclusions/Significance Rapid warming in the Southern Ocean is now removing the physiological barriers to shell-breaking predators, and crabs are returning to the Antarctic Peninsula. Over the coming decades to centuries, we predict a rapid reversal of the Eocene trends. Increasing predation will reduce or eliminate extant dense populations of suspension-feeding echinoderms from nearshore habitats along the Peninsula while brachiopods will continue to form large populations, and the intensity of shell-drilling predation on infaunal bivalves will not change appreciably. In time the ecological effects of global warming could spread to other

  13. 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

  14. How fragmented was the British Holocene wildwood? Perspectives on the “Vera” grazing debate from the fossil beetle record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whitehouse, Nicki J.; Smith, David

    2010-02-01

    The reconstruction and structure of the European Holocene "wildwood" has been the focus of considerable academic debate. The ability of palaeoecological data and particularly pollen analysis to accurately reflect the density of wildwood canopy has also been widely discussed. Fossil insects, as a proxy for vegetation and landscape structure, provide a potential approach to address this argument. Here, we present a review and re-analysis of 36 early and mid-Holocene (9500-2000 cal BC) sub-fossil beetle assemblages from Britain, examining percentage values of tree, open ground and dung beetles as well as tree host data to gain an insight into vegetation structure, the role of grazing animals in driving such structure and establish independently the importance of different types of trees and associated shading in the early Holocene "wildwood". Open indicator beetle species are persistently present over the entire review period, although they fluctuate in importance. During the early Holocene (9500-6000 cal BC), these indicators are initially high, at levels which are not dissimilar to modern data from pasture woodland. However, during the latter stages of this and the next period, 6000-4000 cal BC, open ground and pasture indicators decline and are generally low compared with previously. Alongside this pattern, we see woodland indicators generally increase in importance, although there are significant local fluctuations. Levels of dung beetles are mostly low over these periods, with some exceptions to this pattern, especially towards the end of the Mesolithic and in floodplain areas. Host data associated with the fossil beetles indicate that trees associated with lighter canopy conditions such as oak, pine, hazel and birch are indeed important components of the tree canopy during the earlier Holocene (c. 9500-6000 cal BC), in accordance with much of the current pollen literature. Beetles associated with more shade-tolerant trees (such as lime and elm) become more

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. The Effect Of microbial Mats In The Decay Of Anurans With Implications For Understanding Taphonomic Processes In The Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Iniesto, M.; Villalba, I.; Buscalioni, A. D.; Guerrero, M. C.; López-Archilla, A. I.

    2017-01-01

    The pattern and sequence of the decomposition of the Pipidae African dwarf frog (Hymenochirus boettgeri) is tracked in an experiment with microbial mats in order to explore soft tissue preservation over three years. Frog decay in microbial mats is preceded by rapid entombment (25–30 days) and mediated by the formation of a sarcophagus, which is built by a complex microbial community. The frog carcasses maintained a variety of soft tissues for years. Labile organic structures show greater durability within the mat, cells maintain their general shape (bone marrow cells and adipocytes), and muscles and connective tissues (adipose and fibrous tendons) exhibit their original organic structures. In addition, other soft tissues are promptly mineralized (day 540) in a Ca-rich carbonate phase (encephalic tectum) or enriched in sulphur residues (integumentary system). The result is coherent with a bias in soft-tissue preservation, as some tissues are more likely to be conserved than others. The outcomes support observations of exceptionally preserved fossil anurans (adults and tadpoles). Decomposition in mats shows singular conditions of pH and dissolved oxygen. Mineralization processes could be more diverse than in simple heterotrophic biofilms, opening new taphonomic processes that have yet to be explored. PMID:28338095

  19. 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.

  20. 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…

  1. 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…

  2. 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.

  3. Physical Record of Milankovitch Cycles from Variations in Sea Level and Ice Sheet Extent on the Antarctic Continent 24 Ma ago

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrett, P. J.; Barrett, P. J.; Naish, T. R.; Wilson, G. S.; Powell, R. D.; Webb, P. N.; Woolfe, K. J.

    2001-12-01

    Between 1997 and 1999 the Cape Roberts Project (CRP) drilled 3 holes to recover 1500 m of Oligocene and early Miocene strata from the western margin of the Victoria Land Basin (average recovery 95%). The cores record 46 unconformity-bound glacimarine cycles, or depositional sequences, many of which include the direct evidence of grounded ice. The site lies just seaward of the Transantarctic Mountains and of the margin of the present day East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and is thus well-placed to record ice sheet and sea level changes in the distant past. Studies of the sedimentary facies, paleoecology and seismic geometries indicate that the entire sequence accumulated in shallow coastal waters as part of a laterally extensive seaward-thickening nearshore wedge. The cycles typically begin with an erosion surface followed by glacial deposition (diamictite, sandstone), relatively ice-free open marine sedimentation (mudstone) and shoaling before the overlying unconformity (well sorted sandstone). Three of the cycles (9, 10 & 11) from 130 to 307 mbsf at the second drill site (CRP-2A) are unusually thick (around 60 m) and have been rather well dated within the range 23.7 to 24.1 Ma. Two biostratigraphic datums and four strontium isotope ages constrain correlation of a robust magnetic polarity stratigraphy with the geomagnetic polarity time scale (GPTS). Single crystal 39Ar40Ar laser fusion ages on anorthoclase phenocrysts from tephra layers at 190 and 280 mbsf confirm and independently calibrate the integrated age model. These time constraints make it plain that the frequency of these 3 cycles, and most likely the other thinner and less complete cycles in the CRP sequences, lies in the range of those identified by Milankovitch as derived from the earth's orbital parameters. These frequencies are also recorded for this time period in the oxygen isotope record from the western Atlantic Ocean, ODP site 929. Our chronology for cycles 11 and 10 shows them to have been deposited

  4. 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

  5. Physical Properties Record of Current Flow From Magnetic Analysis of Deep-sea Sediments at the Antarctic Peninsula Pacific Margin (OPP Sites 1095, 1101)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pares, J. M.; Hassold, N. J.; Rea, D. K.; van der Pluijm, B. A.

    2005-12-01

    The physical properties of bottom-current flow recorded by deep-sea sediments provide valuable information about the history of oceanic currents, their strength and direction. Specifically, details on the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) would significantly increase our understanding of late Cenozoic paleoceanography, as it is thought to isolate Antarctica from the warmer waters to the north. The Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility (AMS) provides a powerful gauge for sediment fabric, as it senses preferred grain orientation in sediments and sedimentary rocks. We have determined both relative speed and azimuth of bottom-current flow in drift deposit sediments recovered at ODP Sites 1095 and 1101, Antarctic Peninsula. A total of 35 cores have been measured for AMS, providing new clues on the physical record of the ACC in the Plio-Pleistocene. Because ODP holes are drilled and recovered in successive 9 meters-long cores, which usually do not have relative orientation, we have based our analysis on samples grouped by cores. Our results indicate that the degree of anisotropy provides a proxy for current strength: The higher the latter, the higher is the anisotropy of the magnetic ellipsoid. Further, grouping of the principal axes of maximum susceptibility is interpreted in terms of preferred grain orientation, providing a proxy for the azimuth of the paleocurrent flow. As revealed by experimental studies, AMS maximum axes are grouped in the azimuth of flow and inclined at a few degrees to the sediment surface dipping downward into the direction of the flow's origin. In the studied samples, when imbrication is observed, we have been able to determine the orientation and sense of the paleocurent. Declination and inclination of the paleomagnetic vector of each core segment was used for reorientation of AMS principal axes to the geographic coordinates to obtain the absolute orientation of the directional data. Once the cores have been reoriented using the measured

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. The Late Pleistocene-Holocene community development in Central and SE-Europe in direct fossil record: scope of the approach, common patterns and inter-regional differences.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horacek, Ivan; Lozek, Vojen

    2010-05-01

    The information provided by modern instrumental approaches (molecular phylogeography, ancient DNA analyses, large scale radiocarbon datings etc.) refined the knowledge on Late Quaternary faunal development and range history of particular taxa in essential way. Nevertheless, the direct fossil record remains still an essential substrate in study of that topics, and to reveal all the information, that it may provide, and integrate it with the outputs of the other approaches presents one of the essential aim of the present meeting. Unfortunately, the immediate use of fossil record for the paleoecologic and paleobiogeographic inferences is often limited by its fragmentarity (both in temporal and spatial respects), taphonomic influences and/or locally specific post-sedimentary effects which all may bias it in a considerable degree. Hence, each particular record is to be carefully reexamined in respect to all factor which may bias it - unfortunately, often it is not too easy to respond that task, particularly when the record is retrived from secondary sources. It should also be remembered that the records representing narrow time slices without a robust lithostratigraphic context do not provide any information on the historical and contextual setting of the respective faunal situation. Such information that is essential for reconstructions of paleobiogeography of community development and similar locally-sensitive phenomena can only be retrived from the continuous sedimentary series which establish the sequence of particular faunal events by direct superposition. A sufficiently dense network of such series provides than a possibility of direct inter-regional comparisons and a high resolution information on the paleobiogeography of the Late Pleistocene-Holocene rearrangements of mammalian communities, local variation in history of particular species and its community context. We illustrate productivity of such approach on with aid of the fossil record obtained from

  9. 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

  10. Fossil fuel and wood combustion as recorded by carbon particles in Lake Erie sediments 1850-1998.

    PubMed

    Kralovec, Andrew C; Christensen, Erik R; Van Camp, Ryan P

    2002-04-01

    Carbon particle analysis was performed on a dated sediment core from Lake Erie in order to explore the inputs of pollution from incomplete combustion of coal, oil, and wood. Carbon particles were isolated from the sediment by chemical digestion, and elemental carbon content was determined by CHN analysis. The type of carbon particle (from burning coal, oil, and wood) and particle size and relative abundance were determined using scanning electron microscopy on 100 particles from each core section. The elemental carbon content in the Lake Erie core ranges from 2.5 to 7.4 mg of carbon/g of sediment (1850-1998), and the maximum carbon content in the sediment occurs in the late 1960s to early 1970s. It is shown that particle mass is a better predictor than particle number of historical energy consumption records. This is especially clear for wood where variable particle volumes play a significant role in determining the record of elemental carbon mass from wood burning. Lake Erie core's content of total carbon and carbon particle type is in agreement with U.S. energy consumption records, except that a wood maximum occurs during 1905-1917, about 36 yr after the U.S. consumption maximum from 1870 to 1880.

  11. Provenance signatures of the Antarctic Ice Sheets in the Ross Embayment during the Late Miocene to Early Pliocene: The ANDRILL AND-1B core record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Talarico, F. M.; Sandroni, S.

    2009-11-01

    Significant down-core modal and compositional variations are described for granule- to cobble-sized clasts in the Early Pliocene to Middle/Late Miocene sedimentary cycles of the AND-1B drill core at the NW edge of the Ross Ice Shelf (McMurdo Sound). Long-term shifts in compositional patterns outline an evolving provenance which is interpreted as reflecting the combined effects and complex interactions among variations in ice volume, ice flow patterns and paleogeographic changes linked to the local tectonic and volcanic activity. High-frequency variations and the petrological features of the basement clast fraction provide direct information about the potential source regions during both glacial maxima and minima. Provenance of the more distal material is identified in the region between Ross Island and the Skelton-Mulock glacier area (South Victoria Land) (Plio-Late Miocene section) and in the Darwin Glacier catchment (Miocene section). The provenance shifts can be discussed for their implications on ice dynamic models for the glacial evolution recorded in the western Ross Embayment. Reconstructed ice flow directions are consistent with the glaciological models for the Last Glacial Maximum, and the provenance data corroborate the contributions of both the East and West Antarctic Ice Sheets in influencing the modifications of the ice flow pattern of grounded ice in the western Ross Embayment in Miocene to Pleistocene time.

  12. Antarctic meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassidy, W. A.; Rancitelli, L. A.

    1982-04-01

    An abundance of meteorites has been discovered on two sites in the Antarctic which may assist in the study of the origins of meteorites and the history of the solar system. Characteristics particular to those meteorites discovered in this region are explained. These specimens, being well preserved due to the climate, have implications in the study of the cosmic ray flux through time, the meteoroid complex in space, and cosmic ray exposure ages. Implications for the study of the Antarctic, particularly the ice flow, are also discussed. Further discoveries of meteorites in this region are anticipated.

  13. Influence of hydro-sedimentary factors on mollusc death assemblages in a temperate mixed tide-and-wave dominated coastal environment: Implications for the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poirier, Clément; Sauriau, Pierre-Guy; Chaumillon, Eric; Bertin, Xavier

    2010-10-01

    Mollusc death assemblages were recovered in 98 subtidal sampling stations on the seafloor of the shallow Pertuis Charentais Sea (Atlantic coast of France). Taxonomic composition and spatial distribution of death assemblages were investigated, as well as their response to sediment grain size (field data), bottom shear stress (coupled tide and wave hydrodynamic modelling), and sediment budget (bathymetric difference map). Results showed that molluscs are likely to be reliable paleoenvironmental indicators since death assemblages were able to acquire ecological changes within years (decadal-scale taphonomic inertia), and live-dead agreement inferred from existing data on living benthic communities was high, except close to river mouths and intertidal mudflats that provide terrestrial and intertidal species to subtidal death assemblages, respectively. Taxonomic composition of these within-habitat death assemblages strongly depended on sediment grain size and bottom shear stress, similarly to living subtidal communities. Post-mortem dispersal of shells, owing to relatively low bottom shear stress in the area, was only of a few 10s to 100s of meters, which shows that death assemblages preserved environmental gradients even at a fine spatial scale. Sediment budget had also a significant influence on death assemblages. Thick-shelled epifaunal species were correlated with erosion areas on one side, and thin-shelled infaunal species with deposition on the other, showing that mollusc fossil assemblages could be used as indicators of paleo-sedimentation rate. This new proxy was successfully tested on a previously published Holocene mollusc fossil record from the same area. It was possible to refine the paleoenvironmental interpretation already proposed, in accordance with existing stratigraphic and sedimentological data.

  14. 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.

  15. Volcanic signals and surface mass balance from firn core records from the Norwegian-US traverse across the East Antarctic plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anschütz, Helgard; Müller, Karsten; Sinisalo, Anna; Isaksson, Elisabeth; McConnell, Joe; Sterle, Kelley; Albert, Mary; Winther, Jan-Gunnar

    2010-05-01

    We present an overview of volcanic signals recorded in 20-100 m deep firn cores collected during the Norwegian- US scientific traverse through East Antarctica 2007-09. The traverse covered large parts of Dronning Maud Land, acquiring ground-based data from remote areas of the East Antarctic plateau. The route went from Norwegian Troll Station to South Pole and back on a different route in the following year. Here we use electrical conductivity from dielectric profiling (DEP) and sulphur records from ICP-MS chemistry measurements along the cores to detect major volcanic events such as Krakatau 1883, Tambora 1815 and Huayanaputina 1600 to date the cores. Thus, mean surface mass balance (SMB) for different time periods between volcanic horizons can be obtained. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) data are utilized to assess the spatial representativity of the core sites. In general, measured SMB values are very low, varying between 16-34 kgm-2a-1 on the first traverse leg and between 35-68 kgm-2a-1 on the second leg. There is no clear temporal trend in SMB evident over last 400 years, as some of the cores show a decrease while others indicate no change or a slight increase in SMB. The spatial distribution is influenced mainly by elevation and continentality, thus fitting the expected pattern. GPR data indicate a spatial variability of 10-20% over several 10s of kilometers from the core sites, making the cores representative for the area around them. SMB data from remote and largely uncovered areas are important for understanding changes and processes in the cryosphere and for estimating the mass balance of East Antarctica.

  16. An expansion of age constraints for microbial clades that lack a conventional fossil record using phylogenomic dating.

    PubMed

    Blank, Carrine E

    2011-10-01

    Most microbial taxa lack a conventional microfossil or biomarker record, and so we currently have little information regarding how old most microbial clades and their associated traits are. Building on the previously published oxygen age constraint, two new age constraints are proposed based on the ability of microbial clades to metabolize chitin and aromatic compounds derived from lignin. Using the archaeal domain of life as a test case, phylogenetic analyses, along with published metabolic and genetic data, showed that members of the Halobacteriales and Thermococcales are able to metabolize chitin. Ancestral state reconstruction combined with phylogenetic analysis of the genes underlying chitin degradation predicted that the ancestors of these two groups were also likely able to metabolize chitin or chitin-related compounds. These two clades were therefore assigned a maximum age of 1.0 Ga (when chitin likely first appeared). Similar analyses also predicted that the ancestor to the Sulfolobus solfataricus-Sulfolobus islandicus clade was able to metabolize phenol using catechol dioxygenase, so this clade was assigned a maximum age of 475 Ma. Inferred ages of archaeal clades using relaxed molecular clocks with the new age constraints were consistent with those inferred with the oxygen age constraints. This work expands our current toolkit to include Paleoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic, and Paleozoic age constraints, and should aid in our ability to phylogenetically reconstruct the antiquity of a wide array of microbial clades and their associated morphological and biogeochemical traits, spanning deep geologic time. Such hypotheses-although built upon evolutionary inferences-are fundamentally testable.

  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. 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

  19. A 600,000-year record of Antarctic Bottom Water activity inferred from sediment textures and structures in a sediment core from the Southern Brazil Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Massé, Laurent; FaugèRes, Jean-Claude; Bernat, Michel; Pujos, Annick; MéZerais, Marie-Laure

    1994-12-01

    At the northern exit of the Vema Channel, in the Southern Brazil Basin, deep currents linked with Antarctic Bottom Water flow (AABW, below 4200 m) have formed contouritic accumulations along the continental rise. Lithologic and textural investigations were carried out on a Kullenberg core in order to establish a chronology of late Pleistocene-Holocene fluctuations in AABW flow. The core, spanning the last 600,000 years, was recovered from a field of sediment waves. The deposits consist of fine grained muds. Carbonate contents are very low because deposition takes place near the present-day carbonate compensation depth. The core stratigraphic framework is based on calcareous nannofossil and excess 230Th analyses. Two main types of facies can be identified: (1) yellowish brown muds, with frequent manganese enrichments forming dark laminae, and (2) homogeneous gray-green muds. Two indicators of paleocurrent activity have been considered: (1) erosional sediment features that give evidence for high amplitude and short-term current events, and (2) grain size fluctuations (percentage of panicles greater than 10 µm), indicating low amplitude and long-term variations. Two periods can be defined. The first one (circa 600 to circa 350 kyr B.P.) is characterized by an instability in current activity, with strong flow events recorded as erosional surfaces. Long-term fluctuations reveal the existence of several episodes of increased velocity occurring approximately every 50 kyr. The second period (350 kyr B.P. to present) is marked by globally weaker current activity and long-term fluctuations of lower amplitude and longer duration. Maximum velocities occur preferentially during periods of climatic cooling. These fluctuations might be correlated with the 100 kyr eccentricity cycle of the Earth's orbit.

  20. 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.

  1. First record of Microscapha LeConte from Baltic amber with description of a new species and list of fossil Melandryidae (Coleoptera: Tenebrionoidea).

    PubMed

    Bukejs, Andris; Alekseev, Vitalii I

    2015-09-03

    Microscapha andrzeji sp. nov., the first fossil representative of the genus is described from Eocene Baltic amber. An updated list of fossil Melandryidae (Coleoptera: Tenebrionoidea) is provided. The presence of Microscapha within Baltic amber suggests some potential for palaeoenvironmental inferences based on the melandryid assemblage within the deposit.

  2. Growth-Dependent Calibration of Coral Sr/Ca-SST From Multiple Colonies Provides Potential for Long SST Records from Fossil Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodkin, N. F.

    2005-12-01

    Extended reconstructions of sea surface temperature (SST) are critical to examining long-term climate variability not captured in instrumental records. Coral skeleton, which continuously accretes in annual density bands, preserves unique, multi-century archives of sub-annual resolution SST. Despite the promise of coral proxies, however, SSTs derived from corals are often several degrees cooler than those derived from other archives. Here we present strontium to calcium ratios (Sr/Ca) for four brain corals (Diploria labyrinthiformis) collected from the south shore of Bermuda that are strongly correlated with both instrumental SST (Hydrostation S, 30km southeast) and annual skeletal extension rate. High Sr/Ca ratios correspond with cold SSTs and slow skeletal growth rate, and vice versa. Over a ~25 year calibration period, the four corals have distinct average growth rates (2.57, 2.68, 3.55 and 4.03 mm/yr). For each colony, we provide a quantitative calibration of annual Sr/Ca to annual extension rate and annual SST along the axis of maximum growth and derive an individual growth dependent Sr/Ca-SST calibration equation: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + b The slopes and intercepts of the four equations are found to be linearly related to the average growth-rate during the calibration periods of each colony, and a final multi-variant regression is performed to establish one final Sr/Ca-Growth Rate-SST calibration, in the form: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + o*(average colony growth rate)*(SST) + b This growth-dependent calibration is shown to be applicable to a fossil coral of the same species in order to reconstruct SSTs at Bermuda for 223 years. A reconstruction excluding the influence of growth yields SSTs that exaggerate both cool and warm periods. SST anomalies near the end of the Little Ice Age (~1850) that are derived using a non-growth dependent calibration are exaggerated by a factor of two relative to those from a growth

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Volcanic time-markers for Marine Isotopic Stages 6 and 5 in Southern Ocean sediments and Antarctic ice cores: implications for tephra correlations between palaeoclimatic records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hillenbrand, C.-D.; Moreton, S. G.; Caburlotto, A.; Pudsey, C. J.; Lucchi, R. G.; Smellie, J. L.; Benetti, S.; Grobe, H.; Hunt, J. B.; Larter, R. D.

    2008-03-01

    Three megascopic and disseminated tephra layers (which we refer to as layers A, B, and C) occur in late Quaternary glaciomarine sediments deposited on the West Antarctic continental margin. The stratigraphical positions of the distal tephra layers in 28 of the 32 studied sediment cores suggest their deposition during latest Marine Isotopic Stage (MIS) 6 and MIS 5. One prominent tephra layer (layer B), which was deposited subsequent to the penultimate deglaciation (Termination II), is present in almost all of the cores. Geochemical analyses carried out on the glass shards of the layers reveal a uniform trachytic composition and indicate Marie Byrd Land (MBL), West Antarctica, as the common volcanic source. The geochemical composition of the marine tephra is compared to that of ash layers of similar age described from Mount Moulton and Mount Takahe in MBL and from ice cores drilled at Dome Fuji, Vostok and EPICA Dome C in East Antarctica. The three tephra layers in the marine sediments are chemically indistinguishable. Also five englacial ash layers from Mt. Moulton, which originated from highly explosive Plinian eruptions of the Mt. Berlin volcano in MBL between 142 and 92 ka ago, are chemically very similar, as are two tephra layers erupted from Mt. Takahe at ca 102 ka and ca 93 ka. Statistical analysis of the chemical composition of the glass shards indicates that the youngest tephra (layer A) in the marine cores matches the ash layer that erupted from Mt. Berlin at 92 ka, which was previously correlated with tephra layers in the EPICA Dome C and the Dome Fuji ice cores. A tephra erupted from Mt. Berlin at 136 ka seems to correspond to a tephra layer deposited at 1733 m in the EPICA Dome C ice core. Additionally, the oldest tephra (layer C) in the marine sediments resembles an ash layer deposited at Vostok around 142 ka, but statistical evidence for the validity of this correlation is inconclusive. Although our results underscore the potential of

  11. Antarctic micrometeorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kurat, G.; Koeberl, C.; Presper, T.; Brandstaetter, F.; Maurette, Michel

    1994-01-01

    Micrometeoroids in the size range 50-500 micron dominate the flux onto the Earth. Contrary to theoretical predictions, many of them survive atmospheric entry almost unchanged. Such micrometeorites can be collected from the Antarctic ice sheet where they account for a surprisingly large proportion of the total dust content of the ice. Early studies of this important class of extraterrestrial material have revealed that some Antarctic micrometeorites are similar to CM chondrites in chemical bulk composition and mineral composition, and a few seem to resemble CI chondrites. However, none of the micrometeorites investigated so far match CM or CI chondrites exactly, nor is there a match between average bulk micrometeorite composition and that of any other chondrite class. Also, the micrometeorite mineral chemistry is different from that of carbonaceous chondrites. Several elements are depleted in micrometeorites as compared to carbonaceous chondrites and some are enriched. The question arises whether these differences are pristine or if some of them are of secondary origin. On the basis of our data we will attempt to answer these questions, some of which have been addressed by us before.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. The largest fossil rodent.

    PubMed

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R Ernesto

    2008-04-22

    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 1000kg 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 (4-2Myr ago), and the proposed palaeoenvironment where this rodent lived was characterized as an estuarine or deltaic system with forest communities.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Patterns of tooth crown size and shape variation in great apes and humans and species recognition in the hominid fossil record.

    PubMed

    Scott, Jeremiah E; Lockwood, Charles A

    2004-12-01

    It has been suggested that patterns of craniodental variation in living hominids (Gorilla, Homo, Pan, and Pongo) may be useful for evaluating variation in fossil hominid assemblages. Using this approach, a fossil sample exhibiting a pattern of variation that deviates from one shared among living taxa would be regarded as taxonomically heterogeneous. Here we examine patterns of tooth crown size and shape variation in great apes and humans to determine 1) if these taxa share a pattern of dental variation, and 2) if such a pattern can reliably discriminate between samples that contain single species and those that contain multiple species. We use parametric and nonparametric correlation methods to establish the degree of pattern similarity among taxa, and randomization tests to assess their statistical significance. The results of this study show that extant hominids do not share a pattern of dental size variation, and thus these taxa cannot be used to generate expectations for patterns of size variation in fossil hominid species. The hominines (Gorilla, Homo, and Pan) do share a pattern of shape variation in the mandibular dentition; however, Pongo is distinct, and thus it is unclear which, if either, pattern should be expected in fossil hominids. Moreover, in this case, most combined-species samples exhibit patterns of shape variation that are similar to those for single hominine species samples. Thus, although a common pattern of shape variation is present in the mandibular dentition, it is not useful for recognizing taxonomically mixed paleontological samples.

  19. Volcanic deposits in Antarctic snow and ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delmas, Robert J.; Legrand, Michel; Aristarain, Alberto J.; Zanolini, FrançOise

    1985-12-01

    Major volcanic eruptions are able to spread large amounts of sulfuric acid all over the world. Acid layers of volcanic origin were detected for the first time a few years ago by Hammer in Greenland ice. The present paper deals with volcanic deposits in the Antarctic. The different methods that can be used to find volcanic acid deposits in snow and ice cores are compared: electrical conductivity, sulfate, and acidity measurements. Numerous snow and ice samples collected at several Antarctic locations were analyzed. The results reveal that the two major volcanic events recorded by H2SO4, fallout in Antarctic ice over the last century are the eruptions of Krakatoa (1883) and Agung (1963), both located at equatorial latitudes in the southern hemisphere. The volcanic signals are found to be particularly well defined at central Antarctic locations apparently in relation to the low snow accumulation rates in these areas. It is demonstrated that volcanic sulfuric acid in snow is not even partially neutralized by ammonia. The possible influence of Antarctic volcanic activity on snow chemistry is also discussed, using the three recent eruptions of the Deception Island volcano as examples. Only one of them seems to have had a significant effect on the chemistry of snow at a location 200 km from this volcano. It is concluded that Antarctic volcanic ice records are less complicated than Greenland records because of the limited number of volcanos in the southern hemisphere and the apparently higher signal to background ratio for acidity in Antarctica than in Greenland.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  5. A review of early gadiform evolution and diversification: first record of a rattail fish skull (Gadiformes, Macrouridae) from the Eocene of Antarctica, with otoliths preserved in situ.

    PubMed

    Kriwet, Jürgen; Hecht, Thomas

    2008-10-01

    Codfishes, the Gadiformes, are quite abundant in modern temperate and polar waters with a fossil record ranging back into the Palaeogene. The oldest records are from the Danian and Selandian of Europe and South Australia. The bipolar distribution early in their evolutionary history implies that their origin must have occurred quite early in the Palaeocene, or even in the Late Cretaceous with subsequent rapid diversification. By the Eocene, gadiforms were highly abundant and widespread. With the exception of gadiforms, no Eocene Antarctic teleostean group is present in the modern Antarctic fauna. Here, we review the early evolution and diversification of gadiforms in general and of macrouroids in particular. We also describe the undoubtedly oldest skeletal macrourid specimen with otoliths preserved in situ. It is the first definitive record of this group from the Eocene of Antarctica filling a gap in its stratigraphic distribution. The fossil record of gadiforms in general and macrouroids in particular indicates that the origin of both was in shallow shelf environments but with adaptations to deep-water settings early in their evolution. While gadoids seemingly originated in the earliest Palaeogene and rapidly experienced a first major radiation event in the eastern North Atlantic and/or North Sea Basin, macrouroids evolved in the Southern Ocean and migrated northwards into the South Atlantic before the establishment of the circum-Antarctic current and subsequent isolation of the Antarctic fish fauna. These two timely and regional separated adaptive radiation events in the Palaeogene gave rise to their modern taxonomic diversity and global distribution.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Record of a Mid-Pleistocene depositional anomaly in West Antarctic continental margin sediments: an indicator for ice-sheet collapse?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hillenbrand, C.-D.; Kuhn, G.; Frederichs, T.

    2009-06-01

    Modern global warming is likely to cause future melting of Earth's polar ice sheets that may result in dramatic sea-level rise. A possible collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) alone, which is considered highly vulnerable as it is mainly based below sea level, may raise global sea level by up to 5-6 m. Despite the importance of the WAIS for changes in global sea level, its response to the glacial-interglacial cycles of the Quaternary is poorly constrained. Moreover, the geological evidence for the disintegration of the WAIS at some time within the last ca. 750 kyr, possibly during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11 (424-374 ka), is ambiguous. Here we present physical properties, palaeomagnetic, geochemical and clay mineralogical data from a glaciomarine sedimentary sequence that was recovered from the West Antarctic continental margin in the Amundsen Sea and spans more than the last 1 Myr. Within the sedimentary sequence, proxies for biological productivity (such as biogenic opal and the barium/aluminum ratio) and the supply of lithogenic detritus from the West Antarctic hinterland (such as ice-rafted debris and clay minerals) exhibit cyclic fluctuations in accordance with the glacial-interglacial cycles of the Quaternary. A prominent depositional anomaly spans MIS 15-MIS 13 (621-478 ka). The proxies for biological productivity and lithogenic sediment supply indicate that this interval has the characteristics of a single, prolonged interglacial period. Even though no proxy suggests environmental conditions much different from today, we conclude that, if the WAIS collapsed during the last 800 kyr, then MIS 15-MIS 13 was the most likely time period. Apparently, the duration rather than the strength of interglacial conditions was the crucial factor for the WAIS drawdown. A comparison with various marine and terrestrial climate archives from around the world corroborates that unusual environmental conditions prevailed throughout MIS 15-MIS 13. Some of these

  11. 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

  12. Holocene Antarctic's coastal environment, ice sheet, and sea levels explored

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodwin, I.; Berkman, P.; Hjort, C.; Hirakawa, K.

    Efforts are in the works to resolve a several-decade-long debate over the size and extent of the Antarctic ice sheet and its role in sea levels during the last glacial cycle. Researchers also want to find out more about the nature of environmental changes around the Antarctic coast throughout the Holocene, the sensitivity of the ice sheet to warm periods, and the significance of pre-Holocene marine fossils there.Scientists concerned with these issues presented their research priorities last fall at an Antarctic ice margin evolution (ANTIME) workshop, “Circum-Antarctic Coastal Environmental Variability and Sea Level History During the Late Quaternary.” These workshop participants included coastal and glacial geomorphologists, geochemists, and paleoecologists.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. The Antarctic ozone hole

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molina, Mario J.

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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)

  1. 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

  2. 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…

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

    2015-08-12

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Climate Change Influences on Antarctic Bird Populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korczak-Abshire, Małgorzata

    2010-01-01

    Rapid changes in the major environmental variables like: temperature, wind and precipitation have occurred in the Antarctic region during the last 50 years. In this very sensitive region, even small changes can potentially lead to major environmental perturbations. Then the climate change poses a new challenge to the survival of Antarctic wildlife. As important bioindicators of changes in the ecosystem seabirds and their response to the climate perturbations have been recorded. Atmospheric warming and consequent changes in sea ice conditions have been hypothesized to differentially affect predator populations due to different predator life-history strategies and substantially altered krill recruitment dynamics.

  8. 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

  9. Antarctic radiation exposure doubles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blue, Charles

    New data reveal that the Antarctic Peninsula received twice its normal maximum dose of hazardous solar ultraviolet radiation in December 1990. The prolonged persistence of the ozone hole over Antarctica caused an increased exposure of radiation, according to a paper published in the October issue of Geophysical Research Letters.John Frederick and Amy D. Alberts of the University of Chicago calculated the amount of ultraviolet solar spectral radiation from data collected at Palmer Station, Antarctica. During the spring of 1990 the largest observed values for ultraviolet radiation were approximately double the values expected, based on previous years. “The measurements from Palmer Station are consistent with similar data from McMurdo Sound, where a factor of three [ultraviolet radiation] enhancement was recorded, according to work by Knut Stamnes and colleagues at the University of Alaska,” Frederick said. “The radiation levels observed over Palmer Station in December 1990 may be the largest experienced in this region of the world since the development of the Earth's ozone layer,” he added.

  10. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus.

    PubMed

    Kędzierski, M; Uchman, A; Sawlowicz, Z; Briguglio, A

    2015-04-16

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic-anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized "electric wire".

  11. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2014-12-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the interface oxic - anoxic zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulphide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Trichichnus-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized "electric wire".

  12. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-04-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic-anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized "electric wire".

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  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. The first recorded decline of the Malvinokaffric Devonian fauna in the Paraná Basin (southern Brazil) and its cause; taphonomic and fossil evidences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bosetti, Elvio Pinto; Grahn, Yngve; Horodyski, Rodrigo Scalise; Mauller, Paula Mendlowicz

    2012-08-01

    The first recorded decline of the Malvinokaffric Devonian fauna in the Paraná Basin, south Brazil, occurred between early and early late Emsian. The event is recognized on biostratigraphic implications, and it coincides with a regional hiatus resulting from tectonic activity during a Precordilleran epeirogeny. The Emsian beds, dated with palynomorphs, indicate a late Pragian - early Emsian (PoW Su spore Zone) age below, and an early late Emsian (upper FD - lower AP spore Zones) age above the hiatus. The extinctions that occurred between the late Pragian - early Emsian regression, and the initial transgression in the early late Emsian, were extensive and more dramatic than elsewhere on the globe. In the Paraná Basin invertebrates 4 classes, 25 families, 41 genera, and 54 species become extinct. The Emsian sedimentation in the Paraná Basin was realized under constant oscillation of sea level punctuated by storm events, probably due to Milankovitch orbital cycles. It is known that the eccentricity cycles are the most striking in regions at higher latitudes, which was the case of the ParanáBasin during the Emsian. This was, however, not a factor of major importance for the large decline of the fauna. The decline of the shelly fauna was an effect of the late Pragian - early Emsian regression, and the early late Emsian transgression introduced a reduced and less provincial shelly fauna.

  18. 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.

  19. Calibrating the Tree of Life: fossils, molecules and evolutionary timescales

    PubMed Central

    Forest, Félix

    2009-01-01

    Background Molecular dating has gained ever-increasing interest since the molecular clock hypothesis was proposed in the 1960s. Molecular dating provides detailed temporal frameworks for divergence events in phylogenetic trees, allowing diverse evolutionary questions to be addressed. The key aspect of the molecular clock hypothesis, namely that differences in DNA or protein sequence between two species are proportional to the time elapsed since they diverged, was soon shown to be untenable. Other approaches were proposed to take into account rate heterogeneity among lineages, but the calibration process, by which relative times are transformed into absolute ages, has received little attention until recently. New methods have now been proposed to resolve potential sources of error associated with the calibration of phylogenetic trees, particularly those involving use of the fossil record. Scope and Conclusions The use of the fossil record as a source of independent information in the calibration process is the main focus of this paper; other sources of calibration information are also discussed. Particularly error-prone aspects of fossil calibration are identified, such as fossil dating, the phylogenetic placement of the fossil and the incompleteness of the fossil record. Methods proposed to tackle one or more of these potential error sources are discussed (e.g. fossil cross-validation, prior distribution of calibration points and confidence intervals on the fossil record). In conclusion, the fossil record remains the most reliable source of information for the calibration of phylogenetic trees, although associated assumptions and potential bias must be taken into account. PMID:19666901

  20. Identification of immunoreactive material in mammoth fossils.

    PubMed

    Schweitzer, Mary; Hill, Christopher L; Asara, John M; Lane, William S; Pincus, Seth H

    2002-12-01

    The fossil record represents a history of life on this planet. Attempts to obtain molecular information from this record by analysis of nucleic acids found within fossils of extreme age have been unsuccessful or called into question. However, previous studies have demonstrated the long-term persistence of peptides within fossils and have used antibodies to extant proteins to demonstrate antigenic material. In this study we address two questions: Do immunogenic/antigenic materials persist in fossils? and; Can fossil material be used to raise antibodies that will cross-react with extant proteins? We have used material extracted from a well-preserved 100000-300000-year-old mammoth skull to produce antisera. The specificity of the antisera was tested by ELISA, western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. It was demonstrated that antisera reacted specifically with the fossils and not the surrounding sediments. Reactivity of antisera with modern proteins and tissues was also demonstrated, as was the ability to detect evolutionary relationships via antibody-antigen interactions. Mass spectrometry demonstrated the presence of amino acids and specific peptides within the fossil. Peptides were purified by anion-exchange chromatography and sequenced by tandem mass spectrometry. The collagen-derived peptides may have been the source of at least some of the immunologic reactivity, but the antisera identified molecules that were not observed by mass spectrometry, indicating that immunologic methods may have greater sensitivity. Although the presence of peptides and amino acids was demonstrated, the exact nature of the antigenic material was not fully clarified. This report demonstrates that antibodies may be used to obtain information from the fossil record.

  1. 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

    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. U(K')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 δ(18)O 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.

  2. 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…

  3. 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.

  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. 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. 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

  7. Contrasts between Antarctic and Arctic ozone depletion.

    PubMed

    Solomon, Susan; Portmann, Robert W; Thompson, David W J

    2007-01-09

    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.

  8. 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.

  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. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Rayleigh-wave group velocity distribution in the Antarctic region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kobayashi, Reiji; Zhao, Dapeng

    2004-03-01

    We determined 2D group velocity distribution of Rayleigh waves at periods of 20-150 s in the Antarctic region using a tomographic inversion technique. The data are recorded by both permanent networks and temporary arrays. In East Antarctica the velocities are high at periods of 90-150 s, suggesting that the root of East Antarctica is very deep. The velocities in West Antarctica are low at all periods, which may be related to the volcanic activity and the West Antarctic Rift System. Low velocity anomalies appear at periods of 40-140 s along the Southeastern Indian Ridge and the western part of the Pacific Antarctic Ridge. The velocities are only slightly low around the Atlantic Indian Ridge, Southwestern Indian Ridge, and the eastern part of the Pacific Antarctic Ridge, where the spreading rates are small. Around two hotspots, the Mount Erebus and Balleny Islands, the velocity is low at periods of 50-150 s.

  14. Infrared Spectra of Fossils,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    fossil’s surface is accessible to the analyzing beams. The technique is potentially valuable for the examination of special samples of palaeontological and archaeological interest. Keywords include: Photothermal effect.

  15. Natural Product Molecular Fossils.

    PubMed

    Falk, Heinz; Wolkenstein, Klaus

    2017-01-01

    The natural products synthesized by organisms that were living a long time ago gave rise to their molecular fossils. These can consist of either the original unchanged compounds or they may undergo peripheral transformations in which their skeletons remain intact. In cases when molecular fossils can be traced to their organismic source, they are termed "geological biomarkers".This contribution describes apolar and polar molecular fossils and, in particular biomarkers, along the lines usually followed in organic chemistry textbooks, and points to their bioprecursors when available. Thus, the apolar compounds are divided in linear and branched alkanes followed by alicyclic compounds and aromatic and heterocyclic molecules, and, in particular, the geoporphyrins. The polar molecular fossils contain as functional groups or constituent units ethers, alcohols, phenols, carbonyl groups, flavonoids, quinones, and acids, or are polymers like kerogen, amber, melanin, proteins, or nucleic acids. The final sections discuss the methodology used and the fundamental processes encountered by the biomolecules described, including diagenesis, catagenesis, and metagenesis.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Antarctic Atmospheric Infrasound.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1981-11-30

    A summary is given of the project chronology and the reports describing our research in Antarctic Atmospheric infrasound. Analysis of selected infrasonic signals is discussed and a list is given of all infrasonic waves received on the digital system with correlation coefficient greater than 0.6. (Author)

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Cosmic ray records in Antarctic meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vogt, S.; Herpers, U.; Sarafin, R.; Signer, P.; Wieler, R.; Suter, M.; Woelfli, W.

    1986-01-01

    The cosmogenic radionuclides Be(10), Al(26), and Mn(53) and noble gases were determined in more than 28 meteorites from Antarctica by nuclear analytical techniques and static mass spectrometry, respectively. The summarized results are listed. The concentrations of Al(26) and Mn(53) are normalized to the repective main target elements and given in dpm/kg Si sub eq and dpm/kg Fe. The errors stated include statistical as well as systematical errors. For noble gas concentrations estimated errors are 5% and for isotopic ratios 1.5%. Cosmic ray exposure ages T sub 21 were calculated by the noble gas concentrations and the terrestrial residence time (T) on the basis of the spallogenic nuclide Al(26). The suggested pairing of the LL6 chondrite RKPA 80238 and RKPA 80248 and the eucrites ALHA 76005 and ALHA 79017 is confirmed not only by the noble gas data but also by the concentrations of the spallation produced radionuclides. Futhermore, ALHA 80122, clasified as an H6 chondrite, has a noble gas pattern which suggest that this meteorite belongs to the ALHA 80111 shower.

  2. 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.

  3. Fossil Simulation in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hoehn, Robert G.

    1977-01-01

    Describes classroom science demonstrations and experiments that simulate the process of fossil formation. Lists materials, procedures and suggestions for successful activities. Includes ten student activities (coral fossils, leaf fossils, leaf scars, carbonization, etc.). Describes a fossil game in which students work in pairs. (CS)

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates treeshrews are slowly evolving "living fossils".

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-14

    Treeshrews are widely considered a "living model" of an ancestral primate, and have long been called "living fossils". Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage.

  7. 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.

  8. Evolution of the early Antarctic ice ages.

    PubMed

    Liebrand, Diederik; de Bakker, Anouk T M; Beddow, Helen M; Wilson, Paul A; Bohaty, Steven M; Ruessink, Gerben; Pälike, Heiko; Batenburg, Sietske J; Hilgen, Frederik J; Hodell, David A; Huck, Claire E; Kroon, Dick; Raffi, Isabella; Saes, Mischa J M; van Dijk, Arnold E; Lourens, Lucas J

    2017-03-27

    Understanding the stability of the early Antarctic ice cap in the geological past is of societal interest because present-day atmospheric CO2 concentrations have reached values comparable to those estimated for the Oligocene and the Early Miocene epochs. Here we analyze a new high-resolution deep-sea oxygen isotope (δ(18)O) record from the South Atlantic Ocean spanning an interval between 30.1 My and 17.1 My ago. The record displays major oscillations in deep-sea temperature and Antarctic ice volume in response to the ∼110-ky eccentricity modulation of precession. Conservative minimum ice volume estimates show that waxing and waning of at least ∼85 to 110% of the volume of the present East Antarctic Ice Sheet is required to explain many of the ∼110-ky cycles. Antarctic ice sheets were typically largest during repeated glacial cycles of the mid-Oligocene (∼28.0 My to ∼26.3 My ago) and across the Oligocene-Miocene Transition (∼23.0 My ago). However, the high-amplitude glacial-interglacial cycles of the mid-Oligocene are highly symmetrical, indicating a more direct response to eccentricity modulation of precession than their Early Miocene counterparts, which are distinctly asymmetrical-indicative of prolonged ice buildup and delayed, but rapid, glacial terminations. We hypothesize that the long-term transition to a warmer climate state with sawtooth-shaped glacial cycles in the Early Miocene was brought about by subsidence and glacial erosion in West Antarctica during the Late Oligocene and/or a change in the variability of atmospheric CO2 levels on astronomical time scales that is not yet captured in existing proxy reconstructions.

  9. Genetic and Fossil Evidence for the Origin of Modern Humans.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stringer, C. B.; Andrews, P.

    1988-01-01

    Discusses how genetic data on present human population relationships and data from the Pleistocene fossil hominid record are being used to compare two contrasting models for the origin of modern humans. (TW)

  10. Influence of West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse on Antarctic surface climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steig, Eric J.; Huybers, Kathleen; Singh, Hansi A.; Steiger, Nathan J.; Ding, Qinghua; Frierson, Dargan M. W.; Popp, Trevor; White, James W. C.

    2015-06-01

    Climate model simulations are used to examine the impact of a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) on the surface climate of Antarctica. The lowered topography following WAIS collapse produces anomalous cyclonic circulation with increased flow of warm, maritime air toward the South Pole and cold-air advection from the East Antarctic plateau toward the Ross Sea and Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica. Relative to the background climate, areas in East Antarctica that are adjacent to the WAIS warm, while substantial cooling (several °C) occurs over parts of West Antarctica. Anomalously low isotope-paleotemperature values at Mount Moulton, West Antarctica, compared with ice core records in East Antarctica, are consistent with collapse of the WAIS during the last interglacial period, Marine Isotope Stage 5e. More definitive evidence might be recoverable from an ice core record at Hercules Dome, East Antarctica, which would experience significant warming and positive oxygen isotope anomalies if the WAIS collapsed.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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).

  14. 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.

  15. [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.

  16. 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.

  17. Advanced fossil energy utilization

    SciTech Connect

    Shekhawat, D.; Berry, D.; Spivey, J.; Pennline, H.; Granite, E.

    2010-01-01

    This special issue of Fuel is a selection of papers presented at the symposium ‘Advanced Fossil Energy Utilization’ co-sponsored by the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division and Research and New Technology Committee in the 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Spring National Meeting Tampa, FL, on April 26–30, 2009.

  18. Trace Fossil Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasiotis, Stephen T.

    2009-05-01

    Today, the study of trace fossils—ichnology—is an important subdiscipline of geology at the interface of paleontology and sedimentology, mostly because of the efforts of Adolf Seilacher. His ability to synthesize various aspects of ichnology and produce a hierarchy of marine ichna and sedimentary facies has made ichnology useful worldwide in interpreting paleodiversity, rates of sedimentation, oxygenation of bottom water and sediment pore water, and depositional energy. Seilacher's book Trace Fossil Analysis provides a glimpse into the mind, methodology, and insights of the father of modern ichnology, generated from his course notes as a professor and a guest lecturer. The title sounds misleading—readers looking for up-to-date principles and approaches to trace fossil analysis in marine and continental strata will be disappointed. In his preface, however, Seilacher clearly gives direction for the use of his text: “This is a course book—meaning that it is intended to confer not knowledge, but skill.” Thus, it is not meant as a total compilation of all trace fossils, ichnotaxonomy, ichnological interpretations, applications, or the most relevant and up-to-date references. Rather, it takes the reader on a personal journey, explaining how trace fossils are understood in the context of their three-dimensional (3-D) morphology and sedimentary facies.

  19. Macroevolutionary developmental biology: Embryos, fossils, and phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris L; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Hieronymus, Tobin L

    2015-10-01

    The field of evolutionary developmental biology is broadly focused on identifying the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying morphological diversity. Connecting the genotype with the phenotype means that evo-devo research often considers a wide range of evidence, from genetics and morphology to fossils. In this commentary, we provide an overview and framework for integrating fossil ontogenetic data with developmental data using phylogenetic comparative methods to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. We survey the vertebrate fossil record of preserved embryos and discuss how phylogenetic comparative methods can integrate data from developmental genetics and paleontology. Fossil embryos provide limited, yet critical, developmental data from deep time. They help constrain when developmental innovations first appeared during the history of life and also reveal the order in which related morphologies evolved. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide a powerful statistical approach that allows evo-devo researchers to infer the presence of nonpreserved developmental traits in fossil species and to detect discordant evolutionary patterns and processes across levels of biological organization.

  20. Evidence for warmer interglacials in East Antarctic ice cores.

    PubMed

    Sime, L C; Wolff, E W; Oliver, K I C; Tindall, J C

    2009-11-19

    Stable isotope ratios of oxygen and hydrogen in the Antarctic ice core record have revolutionized our understanding of Pleistocene climate variations and have allowed reconstructions of Antarctic temperature over the past 800,000 years (800 kyr; refs 1, 2). The relationship between the D/H ratio of mean annual precipitation and mean annual surface air temperature is said to be uniform +/-10% over East Antarctica and constant with time +/-20% (refs 3-5). In the absence of strong independent temperature proxy evidence allowing us to calibrate individual ice cores, prior general circulation model (GCM) studies have supported the assumption of constant uniform conversion for climates cooler than that of the present day. Here we analyse the three available 340 kyr East Antarctic ice core records alongside input from GCM modelling. We show that for warmer interglacial periods the relationship between temperature and the isotopic signature varies among ice core sites, and that therefore the conversions must be nonlinear for at least some sites. Model results indicate that the isotopic composition of East Antarctic ice is less sensitive to temperature changes during warmer climates. We conclude that previous temperature estimates from interglacial climates are likely to be too low. The available evidence is consistent with a peak Antarctic interglacial temperature that was at least 6 K higher than that of the present day -approximately double the widely quoted 3 +/- 1.5 K (refs 5, 6).

  1. Fossil Crustaceans as Parasites and Hosts.

    PubMed

    Klompmaker, Adiël A; Boxshall, Geoff A

    2015-01-01

    Numerous crustacean lineages have independently moved into parasitism as a mode of life. In modern marine ecosystems, parasitic crustaceans use representatives from many metazoan phyla as hosts. Crustaceans also serve as hosts to a rich diversity of parasites, including other crustaceans. Here, we show that the fossil record of such parasitic interactions is sparse, with only 11 examples, one dating back to the Cambrian. This may be due to the limited preservation potential and small size of parasites, as well as to problems with ascribing traces to parasitism with certainty, and to a lack of targeted research. Although the confirmed stratigraphic ranges are limited for nearly every example, evidence of parasitism related to crustaceans has become increasingly more complete for isopod-induced swellings in decapods so that quantitative analyses can be carried out. Little attention has yet been paid to the origin of parasitism in deep time, but insight can be generated by integrating data on fossils with molecular studies on modern parasites. In addition, there are other traces left by parasites that could fossilize, but have not yet been recognized in the fossil record.

  2. Sustainability of Fossil Fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, K. S.

    2002-05-01

    For a sustainable world economy, energy is a bottleneck. Energy is at the basis of a modern, technological society, but unlike materials it cannot be recycled. Energy or more precisely "negentropy" (the opposite of entropy) is always consumed. Thus, one either accepts the use of large but finite resources or must stay within the limits imposed by dilute but self-renewing resources like sunlight. The challenge of sustainable energy is exacerbated by likely growth in world energy demand due to increased population and increased wealth. Most of the world still has to undergo the transition to a wealthy, stable society with the near zero population growth that characterizes a modern industrial society. This represents a huge unmet demand. If ten billion people were to consume energy like North Americans do today, world energy demand would be ten times higher. In addition, technological advances while often improving energy efficiency tend to raise energy demand by offering more opportunity for consumption. Energy consumption still increases at close to the 2.3% per year that would lead to a tenfold increase over the course of the next century. Meeting future energy demands while phasing out fossil fuels appears extremely difficult. Instead, the world needs sustainable or nearly sustainable fossil fuels. I propose the following definition of sustainable under which fossil fuels would well qualify: The use of a technology or resource is sustainable if the intended and unintended consequences will not force its abandonment within a reasonable planning horizon. Of course sustainable technologies must not be limited by resource depletion but this is only one of many concerns. Environmental impacts, excessive land use, and other constraints can equally limit the use of a technology and thus render it unsustainable. In the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are not limited by resource depletion. However, environmental concerns based on climate change and other environmental

  3. Reconstructing Carotenoid-Based and Structural Coloration in Fossil Skin.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Orr, Patrick J; Kearns, Stuart L; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver, Enrique

    2016-04-25

    Evidence of original coloration in fossils provides insights into the visual communication strategies used by ancient animals and the functional evolution of coloration over time [1-7]. Hitherto, all reconstructions of the colors of reptile integument and the plumage of fossil birds and feathered dinosaurs have been of melanin-based coloration [1-6]. Extant animals also use other mechanisms for producing color [8], but these have not been identified in fossils. Here we report the first examples of carotenoid-based coloration in the fossil record, and of structural coloration in fossil integument. The fossil skin, from a 10 million-year-old colubrid snake from the Late Miocene Libros Lagerstätte (Teruel, Spain) [9, 10], preserves dermal pigment cells (chromatophores)-xanthophores, iridophores, and melanophores-in calcium phosphate. Comparison with chromatophore abundance and position in extant reptiles [11-15] indicates that the fossil snake was pale-colored in ventral regions; dorsal and lateral regions were green with brown-black and yellow-green transverse blotches. Such coloration most likely functioned in substrate matching and intraspecific signaling. Skin replicated in authigenic minerals is not uncommon in exceptionally preserved fossils [16, 17], and dermal pigment cells generate coloration in numerous reptile, amphibian, and fish taxa today [18]. Our discovery thus represents a new means by which to reconstruct the original coloration of exceptionally preserved fossil vertebrates.

  4. Terrestrial and exposure histories of Antarctic meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nishiizumi, K.

    1986-01-01

    Records of cosmogenic effects were studied in a large suite of Antarctic meteorites. The cosmogenic nuclide measurements together with cosmic ray track measurements on Antartic meteorites provide information such as exposure age, terrestrial age, size and depth in meteoroid or parent body, influx rate in the past, and pairing. The terrestrail age is the time period between the fall of the meteorite on the Earth and the present. To define terrestrial age, two or more nuclides with different half-lives and possibly noble gases are required. The cosmogenic radionuclides used are C-14, Kr-81, Cl-36, Al-26, Be-10, Mn-53, and K-40.

  5. 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.

  6. Synthesizing and databasing fossil calibrations: divergence dating and beyond.

    PubMed

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Gandolfo, Maria A; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Joyce, Walter G; Lamm, Kristin S; Patané, José S L; Phillips, Matthew J; Polly, P David; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M; Parham, James F

    2011-12-23

    Divergence dating studies, which combine temporal data from the fossil record with branch length data from molecular phylogenetic trees, represent a rapidly expanding approach to understanding the history of life. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center hosted the first Fossil Calibrations Working Group (3-6 March, 2011, Durham, NC, USA), bringing together palaeontologists, molecular evolutionists and bioinformatics experts to present perspectives from disciplines that generate, model and use fossil calibration data. Presentations and discussions focused on channels for interdisciplinary collaboration, best practices for justifying, reporting and using fossil calibrations and roadblocks to synthesis of palaeontological and molecular data. Bioinformatics solutions were proposed, with the primary objective being a new database for vetted fossil calibrations with linkages to existing resources, targeted for a 2012 launch.

  7. Synthesizing and databasing fossil calibrations: divergence dating and beyond

    PubMed Central

    Ksepka, Daniel T.; Benton, Michael J.; Carrano, Matthew T.; Gandolfo, Maria A.; Head, Jason J.; Hermsen, Elizabeth J.; Joyce, Walter G.; Lamm, Kristin S.; Patané, José S. L.; Phillips, Matthew J.; Polly, P. David; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L.; Warnock, Rachel C. M.; Parham, James F.

    2011-01-01

    Divergence dating studies, which combine temporal data from the fossil record with branch length data from molecular phylogenetic trees, represent a rapidly expanding approach to understanding the history of life. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center hosted the first Fossil Calibrations Working Group (3–6 March, 2011, Durham, NC, USA), bringing together palaeontologists, molecular evolutionists and bioinformatics experts to present perspectives from disciplines that generate, model and use fossil calibration data. Presentations and discussions focused on channels for interdisciplinary collaboration, best practices for justifying, reporting and using fossil calibrations and roadblocks to synthesis of palaeontological and molecular data. Bioinformatics solutions were proposed, with the primary objective being a new database for vetted fossil calibrations with linkages to existing resources, targeted for a 2012 launch. PMID:21525049

  8. Exceptional fossil preservation and the cambrian explosion.

    PubMed

    Butterfield, Nicholas J

    2003-02-01

    Exceptionally preserved, non-biomineralizing fossils contribute importantly to resolving details of the Cambrian explosion, but little to its overall patterns. Six distinct "types" of exceptional preservation are identified for the terminal Proterozoic-Cambrian interval, each of which is dependent on particular taphonomic circumstances, typically restricted both in space and time. Taphonomic pathways yielding exceptional preservation were particularly variable through the Proterozoic-Cambrian transition, at least in part a consequence of contemporaneous evolutionary innovations. Combined with the reasonably continuous record of "Doushantuo-type preservation," and the fundamentally more robust records of shelly fossils, phytoplankton cysts and trace fossils, these taphonomic perturbations contribute to the documentation of major evolutionary and biogeochemical shifts through the terminal Proterozoic and early Cambrian.Appreciation of the relationship between taphonomic pathway and fossil expression serves as a useful tool for interpreting exceptionally preserved, often problematic, early Cambrian fossils. In shale facies, for example, flattened non-biomineralizing structures typically represent the remains of degradation-resistant acellular and extracellular "tissues" such as chaetae and cuticles, whereas three-dimensional preservation represents labile cellular tissues with a propensity for attracting and precipitating early diagenetic minerals. Such distinction helps to identify the acuticular integument of hyolithids, the chaetae-like nature of Wiwaxia sclerites, the chaetognath-like integument of Amiskwia, the midgut glands of various Burgess Shale arthropods, and the misidentification of deposit-feeding arthropods in the Chengjiang biota. By the same reasoning, putative lobopods in the Sirius Passet biota and putative deuterostomes in the Chengiang biota are better interpreted as arthropods.

  9. Contribution of enhanced Antarctic Bottom Water formation to Antarctic warm events and millennial-scale atmospheric CO2 increase

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Menviel, L.; Spence, P.; England, M. H.

    2014-12-01

    During Marine Isotope Stage 3, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) weakened significantly on a millennial time-scale leading to Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) and Heinrich stadials. Ice core records reveal that each Northern Hemisphere stadial is associated with a warming over Antarctica, so-called Antarctic Isotope Maximum (AIM), and that atmospheric CO2 varies in phase with Antarctic temperature. Here we perform transient simulations spanning the period 50-34 ka B.P. with two Earth System Models (LOVECLIM and the UVic ESCM) to understand the link between changes in the AMOC, changes in high latitude Southern Hemispheric climate and evolution of atmospheric CO2. Given the latest Antarctic ice core chronology, we find that part of the atmospheric CO2 increase occurring during AIM12 (DO12, ~48 ka B.P.) and at the end of AIM8 (DO8, 38 ka B.P.) can be attributed to the AMOC resumption. In contrast, the atmospheric CO2 increase observed at the beginning of AIM8 (~39.6 ka B.P.) occurs during a period of weak AMOC and can instead be explained by enhanced Antarctic Bottom Water production. Enhanced Antarctic Bottom Water formation is shown to effectively ventilate the deep Pacific carbon and thus lead to CO2 outgassing into the atmosphere. In addition, changes in the AMOC alone are not sufficient to explain the largest Antarctic Isotope Maxima (namely AIM12 and AIM8). Stronger formation of Antarctic Bottom Water during AIM12 and AIM8 enhances the southern high latitude warming and leads to a better agreement with high southern latitude paleoproxy records. The robustness of this southern warming response is tested using an eddy-permitting coupled ocean sea-ice model. We show that stronger Antarctic Bottom Water formation contributes to Southern Ocean surface warming by increasing the Southern Ocean meridional heat transport. Finally, our simulations also suggest that the Antarctic cooling should be in phase, or lag by a maximum of ~200 years, the North Atlantic

  10. The Pinatubo Eruption in Antarctic Snow and Its Significance to Paleoclimate Research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole-Dai, J.; Li, Y.

    2001-12-01

    Records of past volcanic eruptions can be found in polar ice cores, because explosive volcanic eruptions leave acidic spikes in polar snow. Analyses of Antarctic ice cores have resulted in detailed paleovolcanic records for the past several thousand years. These records are tremendously valuable to discerning the role of volcanism in climatic variations and changes. Field studies across Antarctica have detected and confirmed the presence of the sulfuric acid fallout from the 1991 Pinatubo eruption. Chemical analyses of snow samples have determined the magnitude of the Pinatubo signal, in the form of volcanic sulfate flux, and its range of variations across the Antarctic continent. More quantitative information is known about the Pinatubo signal in Antarctic snow than about any other eruptions. These results and existing ice core records, when combined with the instrumentally determined total Pinatubo aerosol mass loading, provide an unique opportunity to estimate the atmospheric mass loadings by, and therefore the climatic impact of, past explosive eruptions found in Antarctic ice cores. Here we (1) present the quantitative evidence of the Pinatubo signal in Antarctic snow, (2) determine the spatial variability of the signal across Antarctica, and (3) analyze the quantitative relationship between the aerosol mass loading of an eruption and its signal in snow. We also attempt to calculate mass loadings of about 20 eruptions recorded in Antarctic ice cores from the past 1000 years, by using an extrapolation of the relationship between mass loading and signal magnitude in snow derived from the Pinatubo studies.

  11. Fossilization Processes in Thermal Springs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Cady, Sherry; Desmarais, David J.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    To create a comparative framework for the study of ancient examples, we have been carrying out parallel studies of the microbial biosedimentology, taphonomy and geochemistry of modem and sub-Recent thermal spring deposits. One goal of the research is the development of integrated litho- and taphofacies models for siliceous and travertline sinters. Thermal springs are regarded as important environments for the origin and early evolution of life on Earth, and we seek to utilize information from the fossil record to reconstruct the evolution of high temperature ecosystems. Microbial contributions to the fabric of thermal spring sinters occur when population growth rates keep pace with, or exceed rates of inorganic precipitation, allowing for the development of continuous biofilms or mats. In siliceous thermal springs, microorganisms are typically entombed while viable. Modes of preservation reflect the balance between rates of organic matter degradation, silica precipitation and secondary infilling. Subaerial sinters are initially quite porous and permeable and at temperatures higher than about 20 C, organic materials are usually degraded prior to secondary infilling of sinter frameworks. Thus, organically-preserved microfossils are rare and fossil information consists of characteristic biofabrics formed by the encrustation and underplating of microbial mat surfaces. This probably accounts for the typically low total organic carbon values observed in thermal spring deposits. In mid-temperature, (approx. 35 - 59 C) ponds and outflows, the surface morphology of tufted Phormidium mats is preserved through mat underplating by thin siliceous: crusts. Microbial taxes lead to clumping of ceils and/or preferred filament orientations that together define higher order composite fabrics in thermal spring stromatolites (e.g. network, coniform, and palisade). At lower temperatures (less than 35 C), Calothrix mats cover shallow terracette pools forming flat carpets or pustular

  12. Health aspects of Antarctic tourism.

    PubMed

    Prociv, P

    1998-12-01

    Increasing numbers of seaborne tourists are visiting Antarctica, with most coming from the United States (3503 in 1996-97), Germany (777), and Australia (680; cf. 356 in 1994-95 and 410 in 1995-96). The impression among travel medicine clinicians is that, each year, more prospective travelers seek advice about the health demands of this type of adventure, mostly relating to fitness for travel, exposure to extreme cold, hazards in ice and snow, and other potential health risks. This is a recent phenomenon. While a regular shipping service had been established between the Falklands and the subantarctic islands of South Georgia and the South Shetlands by 1924, the first documented tourists accompanied an Argentine expedition to the South Orkneys in 1933.1 Commercial airline flights over these islands and the Antarctic Peninsula began in 1956, from Chile, and recreational cruises to the Peninsula began in 1958. Tourist numbers subsequently grew slowly, for what was clearly an exclusive and very expensive undertaking, with few ships available for these hazardous voyages. From 1957 to 1993, 37,000 tourists visited by sea, most seeing only the Peninsula.2 The dramatic recent growth in numbers is a consequence of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The small fleet of ice-strengthened research vessels and working icebreakers, which was made redundant by withdrawal of central government support from isolated communities and military activities along the northern coast of Siberia (and from Antarctic research bases), now accounts for the bulk of charter-cruise tourism to Antarctica, at competitive prices. According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators,3 7322 people traveled to Antarctica on commercially organized voyages in the 1996-97 season, and a record 10,000 shipborne visitors were expected for the 1997-98 season (November-March), traveling mainly from South America to the Peninsula on 15 ice-reinforced vessels, each carrying between 36 and 180

  13. Fossil diatoms and neogene paleolimnology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Platt, Bradbury J.

    1988-01-01

    Diatoms have played an important role in the development of Neogene continental biostratigraphy and paleolimnology since the mid-19th Century. The history of progress in Quaternary diatom biostratigraphy has developed as a result of improved coring techniques that enable sampling sediments beneath existing lakes coupled with improved chronological control (including radiometric dating and varve enumeration), improved statistical treatment of fossil diatom assemblages (from qualitative description to influx calculations of diatom numbers or volumes), and improved ecological information about analogous living diatom associations. The last factor, diatom ecology, is the most critical in many ways, but progresses slowly. Fortunately, statistical comparison of modern diatom assemblages and insightful studies of the nutrient requirements of some common freshwater species are enabling diatom paleolimnologists to make more detailed interpretations of the Quaternary record than had been possible earlier, and progress in the field of diatom biology and ecology will continue to refine paleolimnological studies. The greater age and geologic setting of Tertiary diatomaceous deposits has prompted their study in the contexts of geologic history, biochronology and evolution. The distribution of diatoms of marine affinities in continental deposits has given geologists insights about tectonism and sea-level change, and the distribution of distinctive (extinct?) diatoms has found utilization both in making stratigraphic correlations between outcrops of diatomaceous deposits and in various types of biochronological studies that involve dating deposits in different areas. A continental diatom biochronologic scheme will rely upon evolution, such as the appearance of new genera within a family, in combination with regional environmental changes that are responsible for the wide distribution of distinctive diatom species. The increased use of the scanning electron microscope for the

  14. RADARSAT: The Antarctic Mapping Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jezek, Kenneth C.; Lindstrom, E. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The first Antarctic Imaging Campaign (AIC) occurred during the period September 9, 1997 through October 20, 1997. The AIC utilized the unique attributes of the Canadian RADARSAT-1 to acquire the first, high-resolution, synthetic aperture imagery covering the entire Antarctic Continent. Although the primary goal of the mission was the acquisition of image data, the nearly flawless execution of the mission enabled additional collections of exact repeat orbit data. These data, covering an extensive portion of the interior Antarctic, potentially are suitable for interferometric analysis of topography and surface velocity. This document summarizes the Project through completion with delivery of products to the NASA DAACs.

  15. Metazoan Parasites of Antarctic Fishes.

    PubMed

    Oğuz, Mehmet Cemal; Tepe, Yahya; Belk, Mark C; Heckmann, Richard A; Aslan, Burçak; Gürgen, Meryem; Bray, Rodney A; Akgül, Ülker

    2015-06-01

    To date, there have been nearly 100 papers published on metazoan parasites of Antarctic fishes, but there has not yet been any compilation of a species list of fish parasites for this large geographic area. Herein, we provide a list of all documented occurrences of monogenean, cestode, digenean, acanthocephalan, nematode, and hirudinean parasites of Antarctic fishes. The list includes nearly 250 parasite species found in 142 species of host fishes. It is likely that there are more species of fish parasites, which are yet to be documented from Antarctic waters.

  16. Following the trail of antarctic winds

    SciTech Connect

    Mroz, E.J.; Alei, M.; Cappis, J.H.; Guthals, P.R.; Mason, A.S.; Rokop, D.J.

    1986-01-01

    The transport of tropospheric air masses from the north to the south (longitudinal transport) is responsible for bringing aerosols and trace gases to Antarctica from the lower latitudes. The atmospheric materials and