Palms reveal the significance of climate change for tropical biodiversity
|Palms in South America [Credit: Henrik Balslev/Aarhus University]|
|Palms in Africa [Credit: Henrik Balslev/Aarhus University]|
|Distribution of rainforest in the Eocene (60 - 50 million years ago) and today [Credit: Aarhus University]|
|Graph of temperature development in the last 65 million years [Credit: Aarhus University]|
Africa, on the other hand, has been hit by severe drying during the last 10 to 30 million years. The area of rainforest has thus diminished dramatically, until it reached a minimum during the cold, dry ice ages that have repeatedly affected the world over and over again during the last 3 million years. As a result of past climatic changes, many species have simply disappeared entirely from the continent. There are therefore far fewer palm species in Africa than in South America. The poor palm flora of Africa thus has a relict character, and consists of species that are often not closely related to each other.
Source: Aarhus University [April 24, 2012]
Labels Ancient Environment, Biodiversity, Breakingnews, Climate Change, Environment, Natural Heritage