Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Homo neanderthalensis, adult male. Image: John Gurche, artist / Chip Clark, photographer

Although the most drastic evolutionary changes occur over long spans of time, the effects of these changes can be seen relatively recently, argues Dr John Stewart, a Senior Lecturer in Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction & Environmental Change at Bournemouth University.

Reconstructing environmental effects on evolution

Dr Stewart has made important contributions to a growing body of work that shows how the evolution of ecosystems has to be taken into account when speculating between different geological eras. His work on the location of ice age refugia, the timings of species evolution and how palaeoecological data can be used as evidence of what may happen in the future has far reaching implications for own own species.
Looking back to the time of the dinosaurs or even the single-celled organisms at the very origins of life, it becomes obvious that ecosystems existing more than 65 million years ago and around four billion years ago cannot be deduced from the one that surrounds us today.
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