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Contrasts between the climatic ranges of fossil and extant taxa: causes and consequences for palaeoclimatic estimates


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Jordan, GJ 1997 , 'Contrasts between the climatic ranges of fossil and extant taxa: causes and consequences for palaeoclimatic estimates' , Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 45, no. 3 , pp. 465-474 , doi: 10.1071/BT96038.

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Many palaoeclimate estimates are based on the climatic ranges of the nearest living relatives (NLRs) of fossils. If the climatic ranges of the true NLRs of the taxa in a fossil assemblage do not overlap, then the past climatic ranges of some of the fossil taxa are different to the ranges of their NLRs. Discrepancies between the climatic ranges of the inferred NLRs of co-occurring fossils are common, particularly in assemblages older than the Middle Pleistocene. Evidence from Early Pleistocene Tasmania indicates that many anomalies are caused by extinct species, or at least genotypes. It is likely that pre-Quaternary fossil deposits will contain more extinct taxa. Most of the extinct Early Pleistocene taxa have warm climate NLRs, but they appear to have occurred in climates no warmer than modern climates in western Tasmania. Sometimes nearest living relative approaches in climate reconstruction are appear to be biased by extinctions of ecotypes and species, especially ones caused by the Pleistocene glacial/interglacial cycles. Extinctions also mean that it is difficult to identify palaeoclimates which are different from any modern climate.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Jordan, GJ
Keywords: extinction, niche, climate change, quaternary, cainozoic, cenozoic, pollen, palynology
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Botany
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/BT96038
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