Saturday, February 16, 2013

urine dry African and Asian mammals help reveal key marker of past global environment

Scientists have developed an unusual method

to study past climate change -. Dig into the old layers of dried urine leaving the rock hyrax

The hyrax (

Procavia capensis

) is a gay, noisy creature the size of a Guinea pig that is common in Africa and Asia . He homes in the cracks of rocks occupied continuously for long periods. In South Africa, a nest was found to have a layer of urine that had accumulated over the last 55,000 years.

"Daman use the same place to pee all day," said project manager Brian Chase University of Montpellier in France. "The crucial point is that the hyrax urine - which is thick viscous and dries quickly - contains pollen, leaf litter, herbs and gas bubbles that provide a clear picture of climate over time

"Once we found a good layer of solid urine, extract and collect samples for the study are crazy, literally -. Y turns out to be a very effective way to study how climate change impacts on the local environment. "

Chase project, based in South Africa showed that the climate of the region has been heavily affected by the events that have occurred in remote areas, including the Arctic and Antarctic .

"They had a big impact locally in northern Europe, but did not know how the world was hit. Due to the rock hyrax urine of the day, we response. There was a significant cooling of South Africa, and probably the rest of the world at the time. "

Chase spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston, and was one of many scientists supported by the European Research Council, who presented the details on new techniques to study past climate of the planet. This work has important practical implications. As carbon emissions accelerate climate change today, scientists need to know more about the events of the past to understand how climate change may affect the planet in the future.

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