BU Researcher Finds Ancient Earth More Bio-Diverse

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BRANDON, MB – A Brandon University (BU) biology professor is part of a research team that has confirmed an influential ecological theory that seeks to explain the diversity of life in the modern world.

Dr David Greenwood (lab) for webDr. David Greenwood, with Simon Fraser University evolutionary biologists Drs Bruce Archibald and Rolf Mathewes, discovered that parts of Canada some 50 million years ago enjoyed tropical weather and a wider range of living organisms. Their findings have been published in the international scientific journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

“This is new proof,” says Dr. Greenwood, “on an important hypothesis that fewer species live on temperate mountain tops because of the wide swing in seasonal temperature, whereas tropical mountains are highly diverse because migration between mountains is more difficult than in temperate areas.”

The team studied fossil beds from British Columbia and Washington state, which provided a unique view into the warmer, less seasonal weather which previously enveloped much of the earth.

“These fossil beds were laid down during a time when little to no ice was present on the earth,” says Dr. Greenwood. “We found great diversity amongst fossil insects across a wide range of sites, meaning the climate at the time was less seasonal – more like the tropics today – enabling more species to flourish.”

Dr. Greenwood’s research is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, creation and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.


For more information, please contact:


Dr. David Greenwood
Professor of Environmental Science
Glen Kirby
Communications Officer


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