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Unsere Highlights (Publikationen)

Just out of the press - The Treatise on Invertebrate Palaeontology Part V, Hemichordata, Second Revision

This second revision of the Graptolite Treatise was necessitated by an explosion of new research linking extant and fossil Hemichordata, as well as substantial increase in newly identified genera. Discussions to produce a new Graptolite Treatise began more than 20 years ago, with Charles E. Mitchell (Buffalo, N.Y, USA) and Michael J. Melchin (Antigonish, N.S., Canada) initiating the first steps with then Treatise Editor Roger Kaessler. In 2010, Jörg Maletz became the coordinating author of this volume, which was finally published in 2023, more than fifty years after the publication of the last version (Bulman, 1970).

Paleo-ENSO influence on African environments and early modern humans

Our results identify the prime driver of climate variation in Africa’s low latitudes over the past 620 ky—the key time frame for the evolution of our species. Warming and cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean paced by insolation changes modulated the tropical Walker circulation, driving opposing wet–dry states in eastern and western Africa. We show that the effects of glacial/interglacial cycles were not the predominant source of environmental change in most of the continent. Africa’s environmental patchwork driven by low-latitude climate processes should therefore be a critical component in conceptual models of human evolution and early demography over the past 620 ky.

Das Hokkaido Universum

Hokkaido ist nicht der Ort, an dem der beliebte, kleine orange Kürbis wächst, sondern die japanische Insel im Nordpazifik, deren Bewohner vor etwa 12.000 Jahren von der Großwildjagd zu Lande auf die Nutzung der reichen Ressourcen des Meeres umstiegen. Und zu töpfern begannen. Das Japanische Meer, das Meer von Ochotsk und der Pazifik umgeben die Insel seit dem Ende der Eiszeit. Fisch, Robben und Wale, Algen, Muscheln und Seeigel – seit Jahrtausenden sind sie die Lebensgrundlage der Menschen.

Die Vermessung der Erde - Von der Nebra-Scheibe bis zum GPS

Seit jeher versuchen die Menschen, sich auf der Erde zu orientieren. Anfangs dienten ihnen dazu markante Punkte in der Natur oder die Sterne. Heute vermessen Satelliten die Erde millimetergenau. Metergenau führt das ständig verfügbare GPS heute ans Ziel. Es ist so sehr Teil des Alltags geworden, dass ein Zurechtfinden ohne es kaum möglich scheint. Was heute wie selbstverständlich genutzt wird, ist die Erfüllung eines Menschheitstraums.

Die Erfindung der Hose

Jeder trägt sie heute: Männer und Frauen, Alte und Junge, fast überall – die Hose. Aber wer erfand die Hose, wann, wo und warum? Ein internationales Team versucht, diese Fragen zu beantworten und kommt im trockensten Ort Eurasiens dem Ursprung der Hose und dem Geheimnis ihrer Konstruktion auf die Spur. Dieses Buch und der gleichnamige Film dokumentieren die Forschung von Archäologen, Mode- und Textildesignern sowie Naturwissenschaftlern als Arbeit, die Bedeutung hat für das Leben jedes Menschen in der Gegenwart; die verlorenes Wissen wiederbringt, ohne das unserem Leben ein Stück Bewusstsein fehlt. Die Suche führt auf unbekannte Wege, mit klarem Ziel aber ungewissem Ausgang, mit Rückschlägen, die nur die Gemeinschaft des Forscherteams überwinden kann.

Der Klimawandel begann schon vor 180 Jahren! Studie in der Fachzeitschrift Nature erschienen.

The evolution of industrial-era warming across the continents and oceans provides a context for future climate change and is important for determining climate sensitivity and the processes that control regional warming. Here we use post-ad 1500 palaeoclimate records to show that sustained industrial-era warming of the tropical oceans first developed during the mid-nineteenth century and was nearly synchronous with Northern Hemisphere continental warming. The early onset of sustained, significant warming in palaeoclimate records and model simulations suggests that greenhouse forcing of industrial-era warming commenced as early as the mid-nineteenth century and included an enhanced equatorial ocean response mechanism. The development of Southern Hemisphere warming is delayed in reconstructions, but this apparent delay is not reproduced in climate simulations. Our findings imply that instrumental records are too short to comprehensively assess anthropogenic climate change and that, in some regions, about 180 years of industrial-era warming has already caused surface temperatures to emerge above pre-industrial values, even when taking natural variability into account.

The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene

Human activity is leaving a pervasive and persistent signature on Earth. Vigorous debate continues about whether this warrants recognition as a new geologic time unit known as the Anthropocene. We review anthropogenic markers of functional changes in the Earth system through the stratigraphic record. The appearance of manufactured materials in sediments, including aluminum, plastics, and concrete, coincides with global spikes in fallout radionuclides and particulates from fossil fuel combustion. Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles have been substantially modified over the past century. Rates of sea-level rise and the extent of human perturbation of the climate system exceed Late Holocene changes. Biotic changes include species invasions worldwide and accelerating rates of extinction. These combined signals render the Anthropocene stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene and earlier epochs.

Pliocene Warmth, Polar Amplification, and Stepped Pleistocene Cooling Recorded in NE Arctic Russia

Understanding the evolution of Arctic polar climate from the protracted warmth of the middle Pliocene into the earliest glacial cycles in the Northern Hemisphere has been hindered by the lack of continuous, highly resolved Arctic time series. Evidence from Lake El’gygytgyn, in northeast (NE) Arctic Russia, shows that 3.6 to 3.4 million years ago, summer temperatures were ~8°C warmer than today, when the partial pressure of CO2 was ~400 parts per million. Multiproxy evidence suggests extreme warmth and polar amplification during the middle Pliocene, sudden stepped cooling events during the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition, and warmer than present Arctic summers until ~2.2 million years ago, after the onset of Northern Hemispheric glaciation. Our data are consistent with sea-level records and other proxies indicating that Arctic cooling was insufficient to support large-scale ice sheets until the early Pleistocene.

Atlas zur Paläopathologie der Cephalopoden

Pathological phenomena affect only single specimens of a population and represent morphological deviations from the normal genetic bauplan. Palaeopathological phenomena are restricted to fossilizable hard parts of cephalopods and are common features in all endo- and ectocochliate groups. The most important phenomena are described here. On the basis of their aetiology, it is possible to distinguish between endogenic and exogenic reasons for pathological growth disturbances. The forma aegra terms of open nomenclature, introduced by Hölder (1956), are used for characteristic and repeatedly found anomalous phenomena of ammonoids and nautiloids. In addition, some new forma aegra terms are introduced here for "standardized“ pathological phenomena of belemnoid rostra.

A Complete Terrestrial Radiocarbon Record for 11.2 to 52.8 kyr B.P.

Radiocarbon (14C) provides a way to date material that contains carbon with an age up to ~50,000 years and is also an important tracer of the global carbon cycle. However, the lack of a comprehensive record reflecting atmospheric 14C prior to 12.5 thousand years before the present (kyr B.P.) has limited the application of radiocarbon dating of samples from the Last Glacial period. Here, we report 14C results from Lake Suigetsu, Japan (35°35′N, 135°53′E), which provide a comprehensive record of terrestrial radiocarbon to the present limit of the 14C method. The time scale we present in this work allows direct comparison of Lake Suigetsu paleoclimatic data with other terrestrial climatic records and gives information on the connection between global atmospheric and regional marine radiocarbon levels.

2.8 Million Years of Arctic Climate Change from Lake El’gygytgyn, NE Russia

The reliability of Arctic climate predictions is currently hampered by insufficient knowledge of natural climate variability in the past. A sediment core from Lake El’gygytgyn in northeastern (NE) Russia provides a continuous, high-resolution record from the Arctic, spanning the past 2.8 million years. This core reveals numerous “super interglacials” during the Quaternary; for marine benthic isotope stages (MIS) 11c and 31, maximum summer temperatures and annual precipitation values are ~4° to 5°C and ~300 millimeters higher than those of MIS 1 and 5e. Climate simulations show that these extreme warm conditions are difficult to explain with greenhouse gas and astronomical forcing alone, implying the importance of amplifying feedbacks and far field influences. The timing of Arctic warming relative to West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreats implies strong interhemispheric climate connectivity.

Radiocarbon-dated archaeological record of early first millennium B.C. mounted pastoralists in the Kunlun Mountains, China

Pastoral nomadism, as a successful economic and social system drawing on mobile herding, long-distance trade, and cavalry warfare, affected all polities of the Eurasian continent. The role that arid Inner Asia, particularly the areas of northwestern China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, played in the emergence of this phenomenon remains a fundamental and still challenging question in prehistoric archaeology of the Eurasian steppes. The cemetery of Liushiu (Xinjiang, China) reveals burial features, bronze bridle bits, weaponry, adornment, horse skulls, and sheep/goat bones, which, together with paleopathological changes in human skeletons, indicate the presence of mobile pastoralists and their flocks at summer pastures in the Kunlun Mountains, ∼2,850 m above sea level. Radiocarbon dates place the onset of the burial activity between 1108 and 893 B.C. (95% probability range) or most likely between 1017 and 926 B.C. (68%). These data from the Kunlun Mountains show a wider frontier within the diversity of mobile pastoral economies of Inner Asia and support the concept of multiregional transitions toward Iron Age complex pastoralism and mounted warfare.

An armoured Cambrian lobopodian from China with arthropod-like appendages

Jointed limbs in arthropods are a key innovation that facilitated the evolution of the world's most species-rich animal group. Their ancestors may lie among a group of extinct animals called lobopodians, which looked rather like worms with legs. A newly discovered 520-million-year-old fossil lobopodian from China may be the closest known fossil relative of modern arthropods. A thin worm-like animal, Diania cactiformis is named to reflect its 'walking cactus' appearance. The possession of what seem to be the beginnings of robust, jointed and spiny legs suggest that this bizarre animal might be very close to the origins of the arthropods.


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