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The bioclimatic model: a method of palaeoclimatic qualitative inference based on mammal associations

Hernández Fernández, Manuel and Peláez-Campomanes de Labra, Pablo (2003) The bioclimatic model: a method of palaeoclimatic qualitative inference based on mammal associations. Global ecology and biogeography (Print) , 12 . pp. 507-517. ISSN 1466-822X

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Abstract

Aim The bioclimatic model is a new method for palaeoclimatic
reconstruction built on the assumption of a significant
correlation between climate and mammal community composition.
The goal of this approach is to infer past climatic
conditions using mammal fossil associations as source data.
Location The study used mammal faunas from all over the
world to develop the bioclimatic model. As an example of the
potential of the model, we have applied it to Quaternary
faunas from Eurasia.
Methods The proposed model was constructed by applying
multivariate discriminant analysis to modern mammal faunas
and climates from throughout the world. The model was validated
with a different set of modern faunas than those used
in the discriminant analysis, including some from transitional
zones between different climates (ecotones). To test the reliability
of the method in the Pleistocene, the results have been
compared to those obtained with data from other disciplines,
such as palaeobotany.
Results The results obtained in the validation of the
model show that more than 90% of the localities have
been classified correctly. Comparisons of results in the late
Pleistocene-Holocene of Barová between a palaeobotanical
study and the bioclimatic analysis show the latter to be
highly accurate. The results for early Pleistocene faunas show
somewhat drier and more open climatic conditions for
Europe than the present day, with larger areas of steppe
environments.
Main Conclusions The bioclimatic model could be used to
infer climatic conditions from mammal faunas. The results
presented in this work provide a preliminary example of
the potential that bioclimatic analysis has as a tool for
palaeoclimatic inference. Finally, this method offers the
opportunity to standardize data coming from vertebrate
palaeontology for use in the construction and evaluation
of climatic models.


Item Type:Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords:Bioclimatology, discriminant analysis, Europe, Mammalia, Mammalian communities, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecological method, Pleistocene, Rodentia
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:15649
Deposited On:15 Jun 2012 09:22
Last Modified:15 Jun 2012 09:22

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