Paleogene Mountains, Rivers, Lakes,… and Isotopes – #365papers – 2017 – 46

#365papers for February 15, 2017

Davis, Mulch, Carroll, Horton, and chamberlain, 2009, Paleogene landscape evolution of the central North American Cordillera: Developing topography and hydrology in the Laramide foreland: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 121, p. 100-116.

What’s it about?

This paper uses isotopes of oxygen, carbon, and strontium from multiple areas along the east edge and middle of the Rocky Mountains to explore the timing of the uplift of the Rockies, and to understand how the new mountains affected climate locally. Continue reading

Doctoral Day! – Mammals of the Torrejonian-Tiffanian (Paleocene) Transition – #365papers – 2017 – 45

#365papers for February 14, 2017

Higgins, 2003, A Wyoming succession of Paleocene mammal-bearing localities bracketing the boundary between the Torrejonian and Tiffanian North American Land Mammal “Ages”: Rocky Mountain Geology, v. 38.

What’s it about?

This paper discusses the nature of the boundary between two adjacent North American Land Mammal “Ages” (NALMAs). NALMAs are defined by the presence or absence of certain mammal species and are usually quite different in species composition. The 136 localities studied here bracket the Torrejonian-Tiffanian boundary, so we can examine the transition more closely. Continue reading

The Last Glacial Maximum in Wyoming. A Story From Tooth Enamel – #365papers – 2017 – 44

#365papers for February 13, 2017

Kohn and McKay, 2012, Paleoecology of the late Pleistocene-Holocene faunas of eastern and central Wyoming, USA, with implications for LGM climate models: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 326-328, p. 42-53.

What’s it about?

This paper uses measurements of stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen from tooth enamel to interpret past mean annual precipitation and other climatic variables for two caves in Wyoming. Continue reading

Taxonomy, Nomenclature, Species, and the Endangered Species Act – #365papers – 2017 – 43

#365papers for February 12, 2017 – DARWIN DAY

Leslie, 2014, Impacts of phylogenetic nomenclature on the efficacy of the U.S. Endangered Species Act: Conservation Biology, v. 29, p. 69-77.

What’s it about?

The U.S. Endangered Species Act depends upon the definition of ‘species’ for it to work. However, ‘species’ is not a concept for which all biologists agree upon a definition, and there is plenty of debate about how traditional Linnaean taxonomy can fail. This paper focuses on the impact of using a different classification scheme called PhyloCode, and its definition of species. Continue reading

Brewing with Hybrid Yeast – #365papers – 2017 – 42

#365papers for February 11, 2017

Krogerus, Magalhaes, Vidgren, and Gibson, 2017, Novel brewing yeast hybrids: creation and application: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, v. 101, p. 65-78.

What’s it about?

This paper discusses the state of knowledge about yeasts used in brewing. It focuses especially on yeasts used for brewing lagers (bottom-fermentation at low temperature). Continue reading

How Do the Early Processes of Fossilization Affect the Chemistry of Bones and Teeth? – #365papers – 2017 – 41

#365papers for February 10, 2017

Tutken, Vennemann, and Pfretzschner, 2008, Early diagenesis of bone and tooth apatite in fluvial and marine settings: Constraints from combined oxygen isotope, nitrogen and REE analysis: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 266, p. 254-268.

What’s it about?

This paper discusses how we can determine how altered a geochemical signal in a fossil bone or tooth might be, comparing bones and teeth that fossilized in both freshwater (river) and marine (ocean) environments. The authors used collagen content, nitrogen content, and the abundance of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) to attempt to estimate alteration. Continue reading

How Can Paleobiology Help Conservation Efforts? – #365papers – 2017 – 40

#365papers for February 9, 2017

Barnosky et al, 2017, Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems: Science, v. 355, eaah4787.

What’s it about?

This paper discusses the kinds of decisions that must be made by conservation biologists when trying to save species and ecosystems. These decisions depend on the overall goals of conservation: the maintain and restore current ecosystems, to save species, or to maximize biodiversity for example. These decisions can be informed by paleobiology. Continue reading

Fresh water and marine snails from 55 million years ago – #365papers – 2017 – 39

#365papers for February 8, 2017

Schmitz and Andreasson, 2001, Air humidity and lake δ18O during the latest Paleocene-earliest Eocene in France from recent and fossil fresh-water and marine gastropod δ18O, δ13C, and 87Sr/86Sr: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 113, p. 774-789.

What’s it about?

This paper describes oxygen isotope ratios from modern freshwater snails and how the values and patterns of intra-shell analyses relate to the overall climate of a region. These patterns are then compared with Paleocene-Eocene aged gastropods to get at ancient climate. Some marine snails were also studied to see how they compare with freshwater snails. Strontium was also used to help get at the amount and timing of precipitation and weathering  in a region. Continue reading

Echo Chambers and Misinformation – #365papers – 2017 – 38

#365papers for February 7, 2017

Del Vicario, Bessi, Zollo, Petroni, Scala, Caldarelli, Stanley, and Quattrociocchi, 2016, The spreading of misinformation online: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, v. 113, p. 554-559.

What’s it about?

This study discusses how information is spread online, specifically on Facebook. It divides groups into the ‘scientifically minded’ and the ‘conspiracy theory’ types, using publicly available data from Facebook. In these two groups, the authors examine how new ideas cascade from first appearance to spreading to everyone. Continue reading

The Effects of Fossilization on Bones – #365papers – 2017 – 37

#365papers for February 6, 2017

Keenan, Engel, Roy, and Bovenkamp-Langlois, 2015, Evaluating the consequences of diagenesis and fossilization on bioapatite lattice structure and composition: Chemical Geology, v. 413, p. 18-27.

What’s it about?

Translating the title into English explains what the paper is about:

When bones and teeth fossilize, their mineral component (bioapatite) changes its crystal shape and size as well as undergoes some chemical changes. How big of a problem is that if you are trying to use the chemistry of the fossil to understand the life and environment of the animal? Continue reading