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Jeffery Donaldson

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BIO 1M03 - MIDTERM 2 : Chapter 9: Continental Drift and Climate Change - 200 mya all of the land making up today’s continent were joined together by a huge landmass called Pangaea - continental drift important because 1) oceans serve as barriers that isolate certain species from others, so the position of the continents plays an important role in the evolution of species, and 2) continental drift is one of the engines of climate change which has influenced human evolution - very large continents have severe weather because when it restricts the circulation of water from the tropics to the poles, world climates seem to become cooler The Methods of Paleontology - fossils tell us how big hominins were, what they ate, where they lived, how they moved, and even something about how they lived - radiometric methods: • potassium-argon dating (or argon-argon dating): to date volcanic rocks; all argon is boiled out of a volcano, any argon leftover after must be from decay of potassium. This occurs at known and constant rate, so volcanic rocks can be dated ; (work for >500 000 yrs old) • carbon-14 dating: carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio stable in living things; once they die, carbon-14 decays to nitrogen-14 ; (work for <40 000 yrs old) • thermoluminescence: high-energy particles hit rocks and shift electrons in lattice; by heating up the flints burned by ancient people and observing the amount of light released, + by knowing the density of high energy particles at the site = one can estimate the length of time elapsed since the flint was burned; (work in the middle times) • electron-spin-resonance dating: to determine the age of apatite crystal
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