beetle analysis

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A technique for reconstructing past temperatures, using beetle remains that have been identified and radiocarbon dated. Beetles respond more rapidly than plants to climatic change and many species occur only where the temperature lies within a well defined though rather broad range. Where a number of species occur together, the temperature tolerable for all of them is defined by the overlap of the tolerable ranges for each separate species, giving a much narrower range (the Mutual Climatic Range, MCR), which can be calculated for groups of coexisting fossil species from the known (or measurable) ranges for living beetles. The technique has been used (e.g. by T. C. Atkinson, K. R. Briffa, and G. R. Coope, reported in 1987) to reconstruct temperature changes in Britain since 22 000 years bp.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation.

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