“While many scientists focus on species’ extinction wherever there has been rapid and profound climate change, Ken Tankersley looks closely at why certain species survived.“ The answers to extinction, survival and evolution are right here in the dirt,” says University of Cincinnati Quaternary science researcher Ken Tankersley, associate professor of anthropology and geology. “And we are continually surprised by what we find.”
For many years he has invited students and faculty from archaeology and geology, and representatives from the Cincinnati Museum Center and Kentucky State Parks to participate in fieldwork at a rich palaeontological and archaeological site.Through scores of scientific data extracted from fossilised vegetation and the bones and teeth of animals and humans, Tankersley has been able to trace periods of dramatic climate change, what animals roamed the Earth during those epochs and how they survived.
His most recent evidence reveals when humans came on the scene and how they helped change the environment in Big Bone Lick, Kentucky.“What we found is that deforestation efforts over 5,000 years ago by humans significantly modified the environment to the degree that the erosion began filling in the Ohio River Valley, killing off much of the essential plant life,” says Tankersley. “At that point animals had to either move, evolve or they simply died off.” His recent paper on the findings is published in the journal Quaternary Research” (read more).
(Source: Past Horizons)