Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments

2009 Edition
| Editors: Vivien Gornitz

Beetles as Quaternary and Late Tertiary Climate Indicators

  • G. Russell Coope
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4411-3_22

Insect remains are particularly abundant in freshwater sediments that have remained waterlogged since their deposition. Most of the remains are of beetles (Coleoptera) because of their robust exoskeletons, but many other orders of insect are also preserved. Beetle species from the Quaternary and late Tertiary can be shown to be identical to their present day representatives. Most past assemblages of beetles can be shown to resemble modern communities closely. It can therefore be safely assumed that physiological stability accompanied their demonstrable morphological constancy. Thus, paleoecological and paleoclimatic inferences can be made on the basis of the past presence of particular beetle species. Many beetle species have changed their geographical ranges by thousands of kilometers even within the limited timespan of the last glacial/interglacial cycle. For instance the most abundant dung beetle in the British Isles during the middle Weichselian (Wisconsin) glaciation is now...

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© Springer-Verlag 2009

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  • G. Russell Coope

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