Navigation Links
New study reveals link between 'climate footprints' and mass mammal
Date:5/18/2010

An international team of scientists have discovered that climate change played a major role in causing mass extinction of mammals in the late quaternary era, 50,000 years ago. Their study, published in Evolution, takes a new approach to this hotly debated topic by using global data modelling to build continental 'climate footprints.'

"Between 50,000 and 3,000 years before present (BP) 65% of mammal species weighing over 44kg went extinct, together with a lower proportion of small mammals," said lead author Dr David Nogues-Bravo from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate in University of Copenhagen. "Why these species became extinct in such large numbers has been hotly debated for over a century."

During the last 50,000 years the global climate became colder and drier, reaching full glacial conditions 21,000 years before present time. Since then the climate has become warmer, and this changing climate created new opportunities for colonization of new regions by humans. While both of these global change actors played significant roles in species extinction this study reveals that changing climate was a significant force driving this mass extinction.

"Until now global evidence to support the climate change argument has been lacking, a large part of existing evidence was based on local or regional estimates between numbers of extinctions, dates of human arrivals and dates of climate change," said Dr Nogues-Bravo. "Our approach is completely different. By dealing with the issue at a global scale we add a new dimension to the debate by showing that the impact of climate change was not equal across all regions, and we quantify this to reveal each continent's "footprint of climate change."

The study shows that climate change had a global influence over extinctions throughout the late quaternary, but the level of extinction seems to be related to each continent's footprint of climate change. When comparing continents it can then be seen that in Africa, where the climate changed to a relatively lesser extent there were fewer extinctions. However, in North America, more species suffered extinction, as reflected by a greater degree of climate change.

A key piece of evidence in the humans versus climate debate is the size of the extinct mammals. It has always been assumed that humans mainly impacted on populations of large mammals, while if climate change played the key role there should be evidence of large impacts on small mammals as well as the larger animals.

The team's results show that continents which suffered larger climate change impacts suffered larger extinctions of small mammals and viceversa, further strengthening the idea that climate change was a key factor in controlling past extinctions on a global scale.

This research has important implications for the current study of climate change, not only in revealing the role of the climate in causing extinction in mammals, but also by demonstrating how the effect will be different across regions and continents.

"Our results show that continents with the highest 'climate footprints' witnessed more extinctions then continents with lower 'climate footprints'. These results are consistent across species with different body masses, reinforcing the view that past climate changes contributed to global extinctions."

"While climate change is not the only factor behind extinction, past, present or future, we cannot neglect in any way that climate change, directly or indirectly, is a crucial actor to understand past and future species extinctions.", said Miguel Arajo, a co-author of the paper from the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Spain.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ben Norman
Lifesciencenews@wiley.com
44-124-377-0375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Invasive kudzu is major factor in surface ozone pollution, study shows
2. Immune system compromised during spaceflight, study finds
3. Study raises new concerns about radiation and breast cancer
4. Opinion polls underestimate Americans concern about the environment, Stanford study finds
5. Study finds protein that plays key role in early embryonic development
6. Scripps Research study overturns decade-old findings in neurobiology
7. UC Davis study links obesity with lowest earnings
8. Montana State grad student to study unique soil around Yellowstone hot springs
9. U-M study achieves reduced side effects in head and neck cancer treatment
10. NTU and UNSW open joint center to study microorganisms for water and environment technologies
11. Study paves way for new biofuels models, technologies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 14, 2016 "Increase in mobile ... market" The mobile biometrics market is expected to grow ... billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 29.3% between ... such as the growing demand for smart devices, government ... "Software component is expected to grow at ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Dec. 8, 2016 Market Research Future published a half ... global Mobile Biometric Security and Service Market is expected to grow ... Market Highlights: ... , Mobile Biometric Security and ... the increasing need of authentication and security from unwanted cyber threats. ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... India , December 7, 2016 According to a ... Machine Learning), Software Tool (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition), Service, Application Area, End User, ... is estimated to grow from USD 6.72 Billion in 2016 to USD 36.07 ... Continue Reading ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/23/2017)... BATH, England , January 23, 2017 ... company, today announces completion of its Series D financing, raising ... and one new investor, Wondfo Biotech. ... Development of the Atlas Genetics ... of the Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) test announced in February 2016. ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... ... to the healthcare industry ( http://www.gandlscientific.com ), has announced the opening of new ... clinical and scientific consultants and contractors. This is the latest step in G&L’s ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... LEAWOOD, Kan. , Jan. 20, 2017 ... pet therapeutics company focused on the licensing, development and ... Animal Pharm,s Best Company in ... was granted the award based on the ... ® (grapiprant tablets), ENTYCE ® (capromorelin oral ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... January 20, 2017 http://www.Financialbuzz.com ... one of leading causes of death worldwide. There were ... number of cancer related deaths increased gradually over time, ... incidence rate of various cancers continues to drive demand ... report by Global Market Insights, Inc. cancer biological therapy ...
Breaking Biology Technology: