Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



EARLY EARTH
Patagonian fossil leaves reveal rapid recovery from dinosaur extinction event
by Staff Writers
University Park PA (SPX) Nov 09, 2016


View of the Palacio de los Loros 2 fossil plant locality in Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina. The locality was deposited in the early Paleocene around 64 million years ago. Image courtesy Peter Wilf, Penn State. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Ancient feeding marks from hungry insects in South American leaf fossils are shedding new light on the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. Scientists analyzed insect feeding damage to thousands of leaf fossils from Patagonia, Argentina, over the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, and found evidence that ecosystems there recovered twice as fast as in the United States.

The findings, published Nov. 7 in the new journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, offer important evidence of how terrestrial ecosystems outside the U.S. responded after an asteroid struck Chicxulub, Mexico, some 66 million years ago, marking the end of the Cretaceous period.

"Most of what we know about terrestrial recovery comes from the western interior United States, relatively close to the Chicxulub crater, which has limited our knowledge of recovery in the rest of the world," said Michael Donovan, doctoral student in geosciences, Penn State and lead author on the paper. "We are giving another view of what was happening during that time, far away from the impact site."

Donovan and his international team found leaf-mining insects completely disappeared in Patagonia during the extinction event, as previous studies show happened in the U.S. But unlike the U.S., where it took 9 million years to return to pre-impact insect diversity, recovery happened in just 4 million years in Patagonia.

"Insects and plants are the most diverse multicellular organisms in the world, and they are known to respond to major environmental changes," Donovan said. "So they make a great resource to study our past."

The team analyzed 3,646 fossils from Patagonia searching for signs of leaf miners - insect larvae named for the type of damage they cause tunneling though leaves for food. These feeding paths, and the insects' droppings, both create distinctive patterns and can be compared among fossils at different sites.

"Michael developed this technique of very detailed examination of leaf miners, and new methods for looking at the critical differences among these feeding trails in fossil leaves," said Peter Wilf, professor of geosciences, Penn State and paper co-author. "He's teased apart this huge story from the tiny differences in how baby insects did their business in leaves that lived 66 million years ago."

The scientists found no evidence that individual leaf miner species from the Cretaceous survived the extinction event in Patagonia, indicating the far south did not offer a refuge for the insects as Donovan's team first hypothesized.

"There was no evidence of survival, which is similar to what I found when working on my master's research at the Mexican Hat site in Montana," Donovan said. "But what we do find in Patagonia is a pretty diverse group of novel leaf miners that appear much sooner than in the western U.S."

The researchers suggested Patagonia's further distance from the impact crater in Mexico and its ground zero effects could be responsible for insect diversity returning more rapidly to the southern location.

"The richness of plant-insect associations that we observed during the recovery may be a contributing factor to insect biodiversity in modern South America," Donovan said. "We can look far into the past and see these patterns that influence life on Earth as it is today."

Wilf said the study, the first of its kind outside the western U.S., can help scientists answer questions about modern global biodiversity.

"Our modern world is the legacy of this disaster," Wilf said.

"As we try to understand how today's biodiversity evolved and why Earth's millions of species live where they do, the global impact of this major catastrophe is a big sleeping elephant in a dark room - we can't see much of it and just don't know enough about it. As we turn on the lights, we see more of the elephant and understand our world better. This paper is a welcome step in that direction."

Other researchers on this project were Ari Iglesias, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina; Conrad C. Labandeira, National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution; and N. Ruben Cuneo, Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio, Trelew, Argentina.


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Penn State
Explore The Early Earth at TerraDaily.com






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
EARLY EARTH
Life took hold on land 300 million years earlier than thought
Potsdam, Germany (SPX) Nov 09, 2016
Life took hold on land at least as early as 3.2 billion years ago, suggests a study by scientists from Berlin, Potsdam and Jena (Germany). The team led by Sami Nabhan of the Freie Universitat Berlin studied ancient rock formations from South Africa's Barberton greenstone belt. These rocks are some of the oldest known on Earth, with their formation dating back to 3.5 billion years. In a lay ... read more


EARLY EARTH
China jails 49 over giant explosions

Iraqi investigators examine mass grave site near Mosul

Brazil mine gets safety gear -- too late

Haiti aid hard to come by one month after hurricane

EARLY EARTH
Nickel-78 is a doubly magic isotope supercomputer confirms

Smashing metallic cubes toughens them up

The quantum sniffer dog

Metamaterial device allows chameleon-like behavior in the infrared

EARLY EARTH
Experts call on climate change panel to better reflect ocean variability in their projections

Game theory shows how tragedies of the commons might be averted

Climate, human influence conspired in Lake Urmia's decline

India top court orders Punjab state to share river water

EARLY EARTH
Iceberg patrol gains faster updates from orbit

Kerry becomes first US top diplomat to visit Antarctica

Thawing ice makes the Alps grow

How much Arctic sea ice are you melting? Scientists have the answer

EARLY EARTH
Supermarket demands fuelling food waste crisis: UN

Study finds link between pesticide exposure and microbiome changes

Chile's 'green gold' under threat: agar-agar algae

Drought-hit Zimbabwe farmers look to science to save crops

EARLY EARTH
6.2 quake hits eastern Japan: USGS

Massive 'lake' discovered under volcano that could unlock why and how volcanoes erupt

Popcorn-rocks solve the mystery of the magma chambers

Sentinel satellites reveal east-west shift in Italian quake

EARLY EARTH
Mali coup leader readies for trial over massacre

Lesotho army chief, accused of 2014 coup attempt, resigns

President says UN 'scapegoating' Kenyan soldiers in S.Sudan

Deadly clashes in CAR as France ends military mission

EARLY EARTH
Neanderthal inheritance helped humans adapt to life outside of Africa

Traumatic stress shapes the brains of boys and girls in different ways

Evolution purged many Neanderthal genes from human genome

The fate of Neanderthal genes




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement