This 26,000 year old brown bear fossil recently found near Edmonton, Alberta, is rewriting the history of brown bears in North America. The discovery by a UAF researcher and his colleagues are reported in Nov. 12 issue of "Science". Photo by Paul Matheus
While nosing around the Quaternary mammal collection at the Provincial Museum of Alberta two years ago, Paul Matheus, a paleontologist with the Alaska Quaternary Center, came across a brown bear fossil that seemed out of place. The fossil had been collected by Jim Burns, curator of Quaternary mammals at the PMA a few years earlier near Edmonton, Alberta, in gravels that date to before the last ice age (older than 24,000 years). If this was true, Matheus thought, it could be a very important find. Burns loaned the specimen to Matheus so he could take it back to the University of Alaska Fairbanks to confirm its age using radiocarbon dating methods. Results showed the bear was indeed about 26,000 years old, and the two researchers realized the fossil’s signficance-the history of brown bears in North America would have to be rewritten.
The ancestors of modern brown bears in North America are believed to have migrated from Asia to Alaska and Yukon (then a part of Beringia) between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, and old brown bear fossils are not particularly uncommon in Beringia. Between roughly 13,000-23,000 years ago, the route from Beringia to areas of the continent further south was blocked by continental glaciers, so brown bears were more or less bottled up in Beringia. The oldest brown bear fossils south of Beringia, in areas like southern Canada and the northern U.S., are about 12,000-13,000 years old, so paleontologists concluded that’s when they first arrived.
"It’s always been a mystery, though, why brown bears didn’t migrate farther south if they were in Beringia as early as 100,000 years ago and the passage south wasn’t blocked by glaciers until about 23,000 years ago," said Matheus. "The discovery of the Edmonton specimen indicates that brown bears migrated south much earlier than previously thought."
Paul Matheus | EurekAlert!
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences