Friday, 8 March 2013

Woolly rhino site reveals ancient British temperature

By Michelle Warwicker, BBC Nature

Scientists studying an exceptionally well-preserved woolly rhinoceros have revealed details of what Britain's environment was like 42,000 years ago.

The beast's remains were discovered in Staffordshire in 2002, buried alongside other preserved organisms such as beetles and non-biting midges.

The research team used these climate-sensitive insects to calculate that summer temperatures in Britain would have averaged just 10C, and dropped to -22C in winter.

The results are published in the Journal of Quaternary Science.

The discovery of the preserved woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) skeleton in a quarry at Whitemoor Haye was "the most significant fossil find of a large mammal in Britain for over 100 years," said team leader Professor Danielle Schreve from Royal Holloway, University of London.

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