Friday, November 11, 2005

Global warming as seen from fossils

Global warming dramatically changed ancient forests

The findings, which appear in this week's issue of the journal Science, provide the first evidence that land plants changed drastically during a period of sudden global warming 55 million years ago, said Jonathan Bloch, a University of Florida vertebrate paleontologist and member of the research team.

Tiny horse predecessors of the Eocene, as seen in BBC's Walking with Beast

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Palmettos in Pennsylvania? Magnolias in Minnesota? The migration of subtropical plants to northern climates may not be too far-fetched if future global warming patterns mirror a monumental shift that took place in the past, new research by an international team of scientists suggests.

An artist's illustration of the Eocene at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. © 2002 DMNS

"It indicates that should we have a period of rapid global warming on that scale today, we might expect very dramatic changes to the biota of the planet, not just the mammals and other vertebrates, but forests also completely changing," said Bloch, who is a curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus.

Read the rest of the press release

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