• search hit 71 of 819
Back to Result List

A 17-My-old whale constrains onset of uplift and climate change in east Africa

  • Timing and magnitude of surface uplift are key to understanding the impact of crustal deformation and topographic growth on atmospheric circulation, environmental conditions, and surface processes. Uplift of the East African Plateau is linked to mantle processes, but paleoaltimetry data are too scarce to constrain plateau evolution and subsequent vertical motions associated with rifting. Here, we assess the paleotopographic implications of a beaked whale fossil (Ziphiidae) from the Turkana region of Kenya found 740 km inland from the present-day coastline of the Indian Ocean at an elevation of 620 m. The specimen is similar to 17 My old and represents the oldest derived beaked whale known, consistent with molecular estimates of the emergence of modern straptoothed whales (Mesoplodon). The whale traveled from the Indian Ocean inland along an eastward-directed drainage system controlled by the Cretaceous Anza Graben and was stranded slightly above sea level. Surface uplift from near sea level coincides with paleoclimatic change from aTiming and magnitude of surface uplift are key to understanding the impact of crustal deformation and topographic growth on atmospheric circulation, environmental conditions, and surface processes. Uplift of the East African Plateau is linked to mantle processes, but paleoaltimetry data are too scarce to constrain plateau evolution and subsequent vertical motions associated with rifting. Here, we assess the paleotopographic implications of a beaked whale fossil (Ziphiidae) from the Turkana region of Kenya found 740 km inland from the present-day coastline of the Indian Ocean at an elevation of 620 m. The specimen is similar to 17 My old and represents the oldest derived beaked whale known, consistent with molecular estimates of the emergence of modern straptoothed whales (Mesoplodon). The whale traveled from the Indian Ocean inland along an eastward-directed drainage system controlled by the Cretaceous Anza Graben and was stranded slightly above sea level. Surface uplift from near sea level coincides with paleoclimatic change from a humid environment to highly variable and much drier conditions, which altered biotic communities and drove evolution in east Africa, including that of primates.show moreshow less

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar Statistics
Metadaten
Author:Henry Wichura, Louis L. Jacobs, Andrew Lin, Michael J. Polcyn, Fredrick K. Manthi, Dale A. Winkler, Manfred R. StreckerORCiDGND, Matthew Clemens
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1421502112
ISSN:0027-8424 (print)
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=25775586
Parent Title (English):Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publisher:National Acad. of Sciences
Place of publication:Washington
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Ziphiidae; drainage; east Africa; paleoenvironment; uplift
Volume:112
Issue:13
Pagenumber:6
First Page:3910
Last Page:3915
Funder:Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at Southern Methodist University (SMU); SMU Engaged Learning; German Research Foundation (DFG) [GRK1364]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert