Eventos climáticos permitiram que os mamutes da Idade do Gelo fossem abaixo dos 40 graus de latitude norte

quarta-feira, outubro 28, 2009

Climate Events Let Ice Age Mammoths Pass Far Below 40 Degrees North Latitude

ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2009) — Europe’s southern-most skeletal remains of Mammuthus primigenius were unearthed in a moor on the 37°N latitude. This is considerably south of the inhospitable habitat than one usually imagines for mammoths, and for the characteristically dry and cold climate that prevailed during the ice ages in the north of Eurasia.

The remains of the ice age giants from Padul were examined in a joint scientific project of four research institutions, namely, the Quaternary Paleontology arm of the Senckenberg Research Institutes of Germany, the Universities of Madrid and Oviedo in Spain, and the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Almost complete lower jaw of a male woolly mammoth from Padul (Granada, southern Spain). (Credit: Copyright Senckenberg Research Institutes)

"These woolly mammoths finds do not belong to stray animals who only chanced to head south, but belonged to Granada's permanent inhabitants at this time”, says Diego Álvarez-Lao from the University of Oviedo. Dick Mol, ice age expert at the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam adds: “Nevertheless, the Spanish mammoths have not differed anatomically from their congeners in more northern regions.”

Climate- and environmental data show that it was not the longing for summery temperatures or the chirp of crickets that lured the ice age giants to the south, but a diet of grass, various herbs and shrubs. The expansion of the mammoth steppe with its typical vegetation allowed the wandering of the giants and other ice age animals below the 40° N latitude and far to the south.

Nuria García from the University Complutense de Madrid explains: "Fossil plants which have been found in drill cores from scientific drilling in Spain and the nearby Mediterranean Sea, as well as our investigations of the Padul sediments indicate that the animals lived on the plants of the mammoth steppe.”

Among the discoverers of Europe's southern-most finds is Senckenberg scientist Ralf-Dietrich Kahlke, who focused on the reasons that Mammuthus primigenius passed below the 40°N latitude. “A comparison with other sites between the 38°N and 36°N latitude shows that the animals pushed south 30 to 40 thousand years ago also in areas outside of Europe”, the ice age paleontologist explains and demonstrates with maps. Thus the southern-most sites of the ice age giants lie on a belt which stretches from Western Europe via Georgia, the Siberian Baikal region to eastern China and from Korea till the Midwest of America.

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Journal reference:

Álvarez-Lao et al. The Padul mammoth finds — On the southernmost record of Mammuthus primigenius in Europe and its southern spread during the Late Pleistocene.

Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 2009; 278 (1-4): 57 DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2009.04.011

Adapted from materials provided by Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, via AlphaGalileo.


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