Archaeologists: 13 million years ago the Andes mountains were high hills
In southern Bolivia, on the arid plateau in the Andes, researchers have discovered the fossilized remains of a turtle nearly six feet in length. This finding indicates that the present highlands of the Andes – was located no higher than 1 mile above sea level, 13 million years ago, that is, they represented the high hills.
Fossilized pieces of shell found near small water turtles, confirmed the assessment of the height, and also indicated that the climate in this area was much wetter than today. Thus, fossils provide glimpse into climate change caused by rising mountains.
The study results were published in the magazine “Science about Earth”.
“We are trying to understand how the activity of tectonic plates and climate change influenced species diversity in the past,” said anatomy Professor Darin Croft. “All this diversity that we see today in the South American tropics, was generated by elevation. The mountains create many different microclimates and ecosystems in a small area that stimulates speciation”.
Croft sent some Pictures and three-dimensional computer image of the remains of turtles Edwin Cadena, an expert on turtles from University of technology in Ecuador.
Caden took a large tortoise in the genus Chelonoidis Galapagos tortoises and a small freshwater— to the genus Acanthochelys whose current relatives live in most parts of tropical South America.
Turtle is cold-blooded animals. Their dependence on temperature of external air, can be used to determine the temperature at which they lived and, consequently, altitude.
Fossilized leaves of Miocene age very rarely comes across in Bolivia, but one that was found, generally, supports the findings of higher temperature, lower altitude and more abundant rainfall than today.
The Andes formed as a result of subduction — the process in which one tectonic plate is thrust under another. As the highest geological formation in South America, a mountain chain affects the global air circulation and plays an important role in the global climate.