Fifty-six million years ago the Earth underwent a dramatic warming event, with temperatures increasing by as much as 7º Celsius over a span of just 100 000 years. Many mammals responded to this temperature increase by becoming much smaller. How these changes happened, however, is poorly understood. Identifying and measuring the mechanisms that drove these changes was the focus of a new study by University of California Museum of Paleontology researchers Brian Rankin and Pat Holroyd, and colleagues from University of Calgary and Western University of Health Sciences.
During Spring Break, Assistant Professors Seth Finnegan and Cindy Looy took a group of UCMP grad students and staff on a geological and paleontological trip to see select southern California localities.