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Late Pleistocene Temperature Depression and Vegetation Change in Ecuadorian Amazonia

  • Mark B. Bush (a1), Paul A. Colinvaux (a1), Michael C. Wiemann (a2), Dolores R. Piperno (a3) and Kam-biu Liu (a2) (a4)...

Paleoecological (pollen, phytolith, and wood) analyses of sediments, radiocarbon dated 33,000 to 26,000 yr B.P., from two sites in Ecuadorian Amazonia provide data that suggest a cooling of ca. 7.5°C below present in equatorial lowlands from 33,000 to 30,000 yr B.P. A period of warning followed in which novel species assemblages, a blend of montane and lowland floral components, persisted for at least 4000 years. These data of forest community change, from sites lying within the postulated glacial rain forest Napo refugium, provide the strongest paleoecological refutation of the refugial hypothesis yet obtained. The large temperature depression at ca. 30,000 yr B.P. allows the possibility that if maximum cooling at the equator was synchronous with the last glacial maximum (LGM) of the northern hemisphere, freezing temperatures would have been experienced in parts of lowland Amazonia between 25,000 and 18,000 B.P.

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
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