Browsing by Subject "FOSSIL"

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  • Kaasalainen, Ulla; Kukwa, Martin; Rikkinen, Jouko; Schmidt, Alexander R. (2019)
    Lichens, symbiotic consortia of lichen-forming fungi and their photosynthetic partners have long had an extremely poor fossil record. However, recently over 150 new lichens were identified from European Paleogene amber and here we analyse crustose lichens from the new material. Three fossil lichens belong to the extant genus Ochrolechia (Ochrolechiaceae, Lecanoromycetes) and one fossil has conidiomata similar to those produced by modern fungi of the order Arthoniales (Arthoniomycetes). Intriguingly, two fossil Ochrolechia specimens host lichenicolous fungi of the genus Lichenostigma (Lichenostigmatales, Arthoniomycetes). This confirms that both Ochrolechia and Lichenostigma already diversified in the Paleogene and demonstrates that also the specific association between the fungi had evolved by then. The new fossils provide a minimum age constraint for both genera at 34 million years (uppermost Eocene).
  • Saarinen, Juha; Oksanen, Otto; Zliobaite, Indre; Fortelius, Mikael; DeMiguel, Daniel; Azanza, Beatriz; Bocherens, Herve; Luzón, Carmen; Solano-Garcia, Jose; Yravedra, José; Courtenay, Lloyd A.; Blain, Hugues-Alexandre; Sanchez-Bandera, Christian; Serrano-Ramos, Alexia; Jose Rodriguez-Alba, Juan; Viranta-Kovanen, Suvi; Barsky, Deborah; Tallavaara, Miikka; Oms, Oriol; Agustí, Jordi; Ochando, Juan; Carrion, Jose S.; Jimenez-Arenas, Juan Manuel (2021)
    The Guadix-Baza Basin (GBB) in Andalucia, Spain, comprises palaeontological and archaeological sites dating from the Early Pliocene to the Middle Pleistocene, including some of the earliest sites with evidence for the presence of early humans (Homo sp.) in Europe. Thus, the history of climate and environments in this basin contributes significantly to our understanding of the conditions under which early humans spread into Europe during the Early Pleistocene. Here we present estimates of precipitation and primary productivity in the GBB from the Pliocene to the Middle Pleistocene based on dental ecometrics in fossil communities of large herbivorous mammals, and perform an ecometrics-based distribution modelling to analyse the environmental conditions of Early and Middle Pleistocene human sites in Europe. Our results show that Early Pleistocene humans generally occupied on average relatively diverse habitats with ecotones, such as woodlands and savannas, but avoided very open and harsh (cool or dry) environments. During the Middle Pleistocene in Europe, humans occupied a comparatively much broader range of environments than during the Early Pleistocene, but were on average more concentrated in environments where the dental ecometric of mammals indicate wooded palaeoenvironments. In the earliest human occupation sites of the GBB, Barranco Leon and Fuente Nueva 3, the mean annual precipitation and net primary production estimates indicate climatic conditions close to modern Mediterranean sclerophyllous woodland environments, but with slightly higher primary productivity, indicating some similarity with East African woodlands. On the other hand, the environments did not resemble African grassland savannas. The browse-dominated diets of ungulates from Barranco Leon and Fuente Nueva 3 further suggest palaeoenvironments where grasses were a minor component of the vegetation. In the slightly older site of Venta Micena that has no evidence for the presence of hominins, dental ecometric estimates indicate climate and environments similar to Mediterranean "forest steppe" environments existing in the surroundings of Baza today. Grasses were prevalent in the diet of some taxa, especially equids, in Venta Micena, but most of the species show browse-dominated diets even there. (C) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Chazot, Nicolas; Wahlberg, Niklas; Lucci Freitas, Andre Victor; Mitter, Charles; Labandeira, Conrad; Sohn, Jae-Cheon; Sahoo, Ranjit Kumar; Seraphim, Noemy; de Jong, Rienk; Heikkilä, Maria (2019)
    The need for robust estimates of times of divergence is essential for downstream analyses, yet assessing this robustness is still rare. We generated a time-calibrated genus-level phylogeny of butterflies (Papilionoidea), including 994 taxa, up to 10 gene fragments and an unprecedented set of 12 fossils and 10 host-plant node calibration points. We compared marginal priors and posterior distributions to assess the relative importance of the former on the latter. This approach revealed a strong influence of the set of priors on the root age but for most calibrated nodes posterior distributions shifted from the marginal prior, indicating significant information in the molecular data set. Using a very conservative approach we estimated an origin of butterflies at 107.6 Ma, approximately equivalent to the latest Early Cretaceous, with a credibility interval ranging from 89.5 Ma (mid Late Cretaceous) to 129.5 Ma (mid Early Cretaceous). In addition, we tested the effects of changing fossil calibration priors, tree prior, different sets of calibrations and different sampling fractions but our estimate remained robust to these alternative assumptions. With 994 genera, this tree provides a comprehensive source of secondary calibrations for studies on butterflies.