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Wed Feb 29, 2012, 10:37 PM

Extinct camel fossils unearthed in Panama

Extinct camel fossils unearthed in Panama
Published: Feb. 29, 2012 at 3:39 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Feb. 29 (UPI) -- Paleontologists have named two extinct camel species from a fossil dig in Panama they say shed new light on the history of the tropics.

Researchers from the University of Florida said the two species of ancient camels, dubbed Aguascalietia panamaensis and Aguascalientia minuta, are the oldest mammals found in Panama.

Their discovery extends the distribution of mammals to their southernmost point in the ancient tropics of Central America, a university release reported Wednesday.

"We're discovering this fabulous new diversity of animals that lived in Central America that we didn't even know about before," study co-author Bruce MacFadden, vertebrate paleontology curator at the Florida Museum on the UF campus, said.

More:
http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2012/02/29/Extinct-camel-fossils-unearthed-in-Panama/UPI-75611330547974/#ixzz1nph7OiyF

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Reply Extinct camel fossils unearthed in Panama (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2012 OP
Judi Lynn Feb 2012 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 29, 2012, 10:41 PM

1. UF scientists name new ancient camels from Panama Canal excavation

UF scientists name new ancient camels from Panama Canal excavation
Filed under Natural History, Research, Sciences on Wednesday, February 29, 2012.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The discovery of two new extinct camel species by University of Florida scientists sheds new light on the history of the tropics, a region containing more than half the world’s biodiversity and some of its most important ecosystems.

Appearing online this week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, the study is the first published description of a fossil mammal discovered as part of an international project in Panama. Funded with a grant from the National Science Foundation, UF paleontologists and geologists are working with the Panama Canal Authority and scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute to make the most of a five-year window of excavations during Panama Canal expansions that began in 2009.

The discovery by Florida Museum of Natural History researchers extends the distribution of mammals to their southernmost point in the ancient tropics of Central America. The tropics contain some of the world’s most important ecosystems, including rain forests that regulate climate systems and serve as a vital source of food and medicine, yet little is known of their history because lush vegetation prevents paleontological excavations.

“We’re discovering this fabulous new diversity of animals that lived in Central America that we didn’t even know about before,” said co-author Bruce MacFadden, vertebrate paleontology curator at the Florida Museum on the UF campus and co-principal investigator on the NSF grant funding the project. “The family originated about 30 million years ago and they’re found widespread throughout North America, but prior to this discovery, they were unknown south of Mexico.”

More:
http://news.ufl.edu/2012/02/29/ancient-camels/

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