Department of Biology
King's College
London, U.K.

  • Analyses of lake sediments in Panama have provided evidence of the earliest recorded human impact on the forest environment of Central America. In layers dating to 11,000 years ago, there is a sudden appearance of carbon, together with phytoliths of weed species, such as Heliconia. These features indicate the onset of disturbed conditions that may well have been caused by human management of the contemporaneous low biomass forest.

    D.R. Piperno, M.B. Bush, P.A. Colinvaux, "Paleoenvironments and human occupation in late-glacial Panama," Quaternary Research, 33, 108-16, January 1990. (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panama; Ohio State University, Columbus)

  • The anatomy and morphology of fossil plant leaves provide a valuable guide to the climatic conditions under which they grew. Multivariate analysis has now been applied to assemblages of leaf fossils from rocks above and below the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. The...

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