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Press Release 11-084

Fossil Sirenians Give Scientists New Look at Ancient Climate

Change view of water temperature during time when first modern mammals emerged

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Photo of geologist Mark Clementz sampling tooth enamel from molars in a Florida manatee.

Geologist Mark Clementz samples tooth enamel from molars in the lower jaw of a Florida manatee.

Credit: University of Wyoming


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Photo of a fossil sirenian at the Paris National Museum of Natural History.

A fossil sirenian named Halitherium schinzi, shown at the Paris National Museum of Natural History.

Credit: Mark Clementz


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Photo of manatees swimming in Florida waters.

Manatees swim in Florida waters; their ancient relatives tell a story of climate change.

Credit: Elizabeth Murdoch


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Photo of a dugong at the Sydney, Australia, aquarium.

A modern-day member of the Sirenia--a dugong--at the Sydney, Australia, aquarium.

Credit: Mark Clementz


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Photo of scientists Jacob Sewall and Elizabeth Heness analyzing climate change simulations.

Scientists Jacob Sewall and Elizabeth Heness analyze climate change simulations.

Credit: Jacob Sewall


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Graph of precipitation rate versus latitude showing precipitation for the Eocene and modern times.

A comparison of zonally-averaged precipitation for the Eocene (red) and modern times (blue-dashed).

Credit: Mark Clementz


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Cover of the April 22, 2011 issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' work is described in the April 22, 2011 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2011


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