Navigation Links
Cantabrian cornice has experienced seven cooling and warming phases over past 41,000 years

In 1996, an international team of scientists led by the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR) started to carry out a paleontological survey in the cave of El Mirn. Since then they have focused on analysing the fossil remains of the bones and teeth of small vertebrates that lived in the Cantabrian region over the past 41,000 years, at the end of the Quaternary. The richness, great diversity and good conservation status of the fossils have enabled the researchers to carry out a paleoclimatic study, which has been published recently in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"We carried out every kind of statistical analysis over a six-month period at the University of New Mexico, analysing around 100,000 remains, of which 4,000 were specifically identified, and catalogued according to species and the number of individuals in each stratum", Gloria Cuenca-Bescs, lead author of the study and a researcher in the Paleontology Department of the UNIZAR's Institute for Scientific Research (IUCA), tells SINC.

The resulting study involves climatic inferences being drawn on the basis of the fossil associations of small mammals whose remains have been deposited in El Mirn over the past 41,000 years. The fossil associations of these mammals reveal the composition of fauna living around the cave at the time, and have made it possible to develop a paleoclimatological and paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the environment.

The research shows that there have been seven periods of cooling and warming in the Cantabrian cornice over the past 41,000 years. An analysis carried out by other authors on data relating to pollen, marine isotope stratigraphy, and materials deposited by glaciers backs this up this result.

The water rat was king of the Late Pleistocene

According to the study, there were four unstable cold periods, two more stable ones, and a temperate climatic period at the El Mirn cave. The scientists are unsure about dating the seventh and last period ended, as this "could correspond with the Bronze Age, the Ice Age, or the start of agricultural expansion by human beings, which certainly would have impacted on the wild animals living close to the caves.

However, the study shows that during earlier periods at the end of the Late Pleistocene, the species that predominated during cold periods were rodents and insectivores that were well-adapted to environments with only sparse vegetation. "When climatic conditions became more mild at the end of the last cold pulse of the Late Pleistocene, known as the Dryas III, forest-dwelling rodents and insectivores flourished and become more frequent in the associations", explains Cuenca-Bescs. We now know that the water vole (Arvicola terrestris) dominated in this period.

According to the researcher, this domination by woodland species started to decline in the area only at the end of the Holocene, when human activities began to change the landscape, and when deforestation resulting from permanent settlements and agriculture can be observed "even though the climate continued to be favourable to these kinds of organisms".

The study has also shown that the majority of the Pleistocene taxa became extinct around 10,000 years ago while "some cold-adapted species, which had managed to survive, moved to the north of Europe, leaving our warmer latitudes behind", the scientist concludes.


Contact: SINC
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

Related biology news :

1. Seventy-three scientists elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
2. Seven recommendations from Aarhus to COP15
3. AACR to host Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research
4. CO2 drop and global cooling caused Antarctic glacier to form
5. Decline of carbon-dioxide-gobbling plankton coincided with ancient global cooling
6. Green roofs differ in building cooling, water handling capabilities
7. From alarmed to dismissive: The six ways Americans view global warming
8. Wetlands likely source of methane from ancient warming event
9. Ma and Pa solutions to global warming
10. Fighting global warming offers growth and development opportunities
11. Crickets may predict human survivability during global warming
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed ... dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating ... the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the ... . Cell, pinpoints a protective ... the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... YORK , Nov. 10, 2015 ... to behavioral biometrics that helps to identify and ... fraud. Signature is considered as the secure and ... the identification of a particular individual because each ... more accurate results especially when dynamic signature of ...
(Date:10/29/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce that it has been ... one of only three finalists for a 2015 ... Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor Minnesota ... innovation and leadership. iMedNet™ eClinical ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... PUNE, India , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... The Global Biobanking Market 2016 - 2020 ... biobanks by maintaining integrity and quality in long-term ... and enabling long-term cost-effectiveness. Automation minimizes manual errors ... improves the technical efficiency. Further, it plays a ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2 nouvelles études permettent d , identifier ... souches bactériennes retrouvées dans la plaque dentaire des ... Ces recherches  ouvrent une nouvelle voie ... l,un des problèmes de santé les plus fréquemm ... --> 2 nouvelles études permettent d , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... HOLLISTON, Mass. , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... ), a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants for ... will present at the LD Micro "Main Event" ... p.m. PT. The presentation will be webcast live and ... will also be available at the conference for one-on-one ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS; TSX: ... prospects remain fundamentally strong and highlights the following ... received DSMB recommendation to continue the ZoptEC Phase ... the final interim efficacy and safety data ... men with heavily pretreated castration- and Taxane-resistant prostate ...
Breaking Biology Technology: