By Alan Graham
The paleoecological historical past of the Americas is as complicated because the area is extensive: stretching from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, the hot international good points probably the most awesome plants in the world. yet earlier it has lacked an entire normal heritage. Alan Graham treatments that with A normal background of the hot global. With vegetation as his clinical muse, Graham lines the evolution of ecosystems, starting within the overdue Cretaceous interval (about a hundred million years in the past) and finishing within the current, charting their responses to adjustments in geology and weather. by way of highlighting plant groups’ roles within the environmental heritage of the Americas, Graham bargains an past due stability to traditional histories that attention solely on animals. crops are vital in evolution’s wonderful drama. not just are they conspicuous and comfortably desk bound elements of the Earth’s ecosystems, yet their broad fossil list makes it possible for a radical reconstruction of the planet’s paleoenvironments. What’s extra, crops supply oxygen, functionality as foodstuff and gasoline, and supply habitat and preserve; briefly, theirs is a background which may converse to many different components of evolution. A average heritage of the hot international is an formidable and unheard of synthesis written through one of many world’s top students of botany and geology.
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Extra resources for A Natural History of the New World: The Ecology and Evolution of Plants in the Americas
J. Keeling, H. A. Ross, and S. D. Wright. 2009. Latitude, elevation and the tempo of molecular evolution in mammals. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. full. Graham, A. 1999. Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic history of North American vegetation. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ———. 2010. Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic history of Latin American vegetation and terrestrial environments. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis. Gröcke, D. R. and U. G. Wortmann, eds. 2008. Investigating climates, environments and biology using stable isotopes.
The Cretaceous-Tertiary contact (K/T boundary) is marked by what John McPhee (1981) calls “an unearthly concentration of iridium”—an element rare in Earth deposits, but common in meteorites and widespread in K/T boundary sediments at concentrations up to 160 times that in strata above and below. Immediately after the impact, abundant organic material became available for saprophytic fungi. Early colonizers and recovery vegetation followed and included numerous ferns. These events are recorded in the Raton Basin of New Mexico and Colorado (ﬁg.
The actual distance is about four inches. Photograph courtesy of Vance Haynes. There is less agreement about older sites, such as Meadowcroft Rockshelter near Pittsburgh, 11,900–12,550 BCE to possibly as old as 16 kyr. 5 kyr, although in all these calculations there is the possibility that early people arrived in Latin America from southeastern Asia by boat as well as by overland crossings. The Vikings were the second group to see the New World, some of them forced to leave Scandinavia because of obnoxious and downright dangerous behavior even by Viking standards.
A Natural History of the New World: The Ecology and Evolution of Plants in the Americas by Alan Graham