Speaker Series: “Back to the Future: Paleoclimate, Paleoenvironment and the Gray Fossil Site”

April 5, 2014
Event By: ETSU and GSB Natural History Museum and Gray Fossil Site Address: 1212 Suncrest Drive Gray, TN 37615 Email: barberj@etsu.edu Phone: (423) 439-3642 Toll-free: (186) 620-2622

The talk will be given by Aly Baumgartner, who has studied fossil plants from Neogene eastern North America to reconstruct the paleoclimate. Her presentation will focus on the Neogene era, which lasted from about 23 million years ago until about 2.5 million years ago. Although much is known of the global climate, little is understood about eastern North America at that time. During the Neogene, the global climate was transitioning from the warm temperatures and higher levels of precipitation of the Paleogene (66 million-23 million years ago) to the cooler temperatures and lower levels of precipitation during the Pleistocene (2.5 million -11,000 years ago). “The Gray Fossil Site is an exceptional site,” said Baumgartner. “It is useful for paleoclimate reconstructions because, unlike most fossil sites from the Neogene, it has both floral and faunal remains. Also, it differs from most other fossil sites in eastern North America because it does not lie along the Atlantic or Gulf Coasts. This makes it crucial to our understanding of the paleoclimate of eastern North America.” Climate change is currently a hot topic, and studying paleoclimate could be beneficial to predicting the future climate. Changes in paleoclimate and paleoenvironment can offer insight on future changes in climate and environment. Baumgartner received her B.S. in Program in the Environment with a specialization in paleoecology from the University of Michigan in 2008. She then went on to study paleoclimate at East Tennessee State University, where she will receive her M.S. in Biology in May. Baumgartner has worked on many sides of paleontology, from public outreach as a docent, to excavating fossils in the field, to preparing fossils in the lab, as well as her own research. Baumgartner’s “Back to the Future: Paleoclimate, Paleoenvironment and the Gray Fossil Site” presentation is part of the speaker series hosted by the museum and is sponsored by the ETSU Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology. Interested persons should visit www.etsu.edu/naturalhistorymuseum for dates and times of future lectures. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, or to arrange special assistance for persons with disabilities, call (866) 202-6223. #ETSUFossil

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City: Gray, TN
Region: East Tennessee
Subregion: Northeast

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