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.

Related Articles


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 November 23, 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 November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) — The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

AP (Nov. 23, 2014) — First came the big storm. Now comes the big melt for residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo. New York's governor says officials are preparing for the worst as the temperature is expected to rise and potentially melt several feet of snow. (Nov. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) — For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) — Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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