An international team, including members from Imperial College London and the Zoological Society of London, has constructed a complete evolutionary tree tracing the history of all 4,500 mammals on Earth that puts the major diversification 10-15 million years after asteroid strike, casting into doubt the role the dinosaur die-off played in the success of our present day mammals.
Around 55 million years ago, the mid-latitude mean annual temperatures went up by up to 5 deg C over about 20,000 years. “It was a much bigger increase in temperature than we’ve had so far, but within the range that we might get within the next century (never mind 20,000 years),” said Prof Andy Purvis from Imperial College London.
It looks like a later bout of ‘global warming’ may have kick-started today’s diversity – not the death of the dinosaurs.
The Telegraph (UK), 29 Mar 2007