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Thread: Late Pleistocene climate effects on fauna

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    Late Pleistocene climate effects on fauna
    Baca et al discuss changes in 4 species


    Climate changes that occurred during the Late Pleistocene have profound effects on the distribution of many plant and animal species and influenced the formation of contemporary faunas and floras of Europe. The course and mechanisms of responses of species to the past climate changes are now being intensively studied by the use of direct radiocarbon dating and genetic analyses of fossil remains. Here, we review the advances in understanding these processes by the example of four mammal species: woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), cave bear (Ursus spelaeus s. l.), saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica) and collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx ssp.). The cases discussed here as well as others show that the migrations, range shifts and local extinctions were the main responses to climate changes and that the dynamics of these climate driven processes were much more profound than it was previously thought. Each species reacted by its individual manner, which depended on its biology and adaptation abilities to the changing environment and climate conditions. The most severe changes in European ecosystems that affected the largest number of species took place around 33-31 ka BP, during the Last Glacial Maximum 22-19 ka BP and the Late Glacial warming 15-13 ka BP.

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