Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dinosaur-era climate change study suggests reasons for turtle disappearance

Date:
March 14, 2013
Source:
University of Calgary
Summary:
Dramatic climate change was previously proposed to be responsible for the disappearance of turtles 71-million-years ago, because they were considered to be "climate-sensitive" animals. Results of this research, however, show that the disappearance of turtles came before the climate cooled and instead closely corresponds to habitat disturbances, which was the disappearance of wetlands.

This shows Annie Quinney excavating ancient soils in 70 million-year-old rocks in the Drumheller badlands.
Credit: Credit: Kohei Tanaka, University of Calgary.

The dry, barren prairie around Alberta's Drumheller area was once a lush and subtropical forest on the shores of a large inland sea, with loads of wetlands inhabited by dinosaurs, turtles, crocodiles and small mammals.

But that changed about 71-million-years ago, according to a new study by researchers Annie Quinney and Darla Zelenitsky in paleontology at the University of Calgary. The researchers' calculations show that drastic climate change occurred during a five-million-year period in Alberta's badlands. At this time, the wetlands dried up and the warm humid climate was interrupted by a sudden cool, drying spell.

The study of ancient climate change is important as it helps researchers understand the impact sudden heating and cooling may have had on plants and animals.

"This was a time of change in Alberta, the wetlands disappeared as the inland sea retreated and the climate cooled," says Quinney, a former master's student in the Department of Geoscience. She led the study recently published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, which was part of her master's degree in the Department of Geoscience.

Dramatic climate change was previously proposed to be responsible for the disappearance of turtles 71-million-years ago, because they were considered to be "climate-sensitive" animals. Results of this research, however, show that the disappearance of turtles came before the climate cooled and instead closely corresponds to habitat disturbances, which was the disappearance of wetlands.

"The big surprise is that some animals, for example turtles, appeared to be more sensitive to habitat disturbances than to climate changes. Therefore, even if climatic conditions are 'ideal,' turtles may disappear or may not recover unless habitats are just right," says Quinney.

Quinney and supervisors Zelenitsky, assistant professor in the Department of Geoscience, and Franηois Therrien of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller studied ancient soils preserved in the rocks in the Red Deer River valley near Drumheller that were deposited 72 to 67 million years ago and record information about the past climate and environments.

Researchers calculated precipitation and temperature levels over a five-million year interval and during that time, temperature and precipitation dropped over a few thousand years, and that cooler interval lasted for 500,000 years.

"By studying the structure and chemistry of ancient soils, we were able to estimate the ancient temperature and rainfall that prevailed when those soils formed millions of years ago," says Quinney, who is now completing a PhD at Monash University in Australia on a full scholarship.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Calgary. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Annie Quinney, Franηois Therrien, Darla K. Zelenitsky, David A. Eberth. Palaeoenvironmental and Palaeoclimatic Reconstruction of the Upper Cretaceous (late Campanian - early Maastrichtian) Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Alberta, Canada. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.12.009

Cite This Page:

University of Calgary. "Dinosaur-era climate change study suggests reasons for turtle disappearance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314144354.htm>.
University of Calgary. (2013, March 14). Dinosaur-era climate change study suggests reasons for turtle disappearance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314144354.htm
University of Calgary. "Dinosaur-era climate change study suggests reasons for turtle disappearance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314144354.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) — Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) — Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins