Fossilized specimens in Labrador provide intelligence over climate during Cretaceous period

Discovery of fossilized plants in Canada’s Labrador has provided quantitative insights into the area’s climate during the Cretaceous period, when the earth was taken over by the dinosaurs.

Based on the study published in Palaeontology, the specimens were discovered in Redmond no.1 mine, which is a remote area of the Labrador near Schefferville. According to experts, some of the specimen are the first of the kind to be found in the area. Based on the samples collected, the paleontologist team of McGill University came to the conclusion that Eastern Canada would have experienced warm temperatures and completely humid climate during the period of Cretaceous.

The study revealed fossilized leaves and insects in Redmon No. 1 mine in the late 1950s. These are known to be similar to those that live today further south. The team also used the Climate Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program to examine the climate statistics for a particular fossil flora.  This is gauged based on temperature and precipitation variables with regards to the size and shape of tree leaves.

The results concluded that the area experienced mean annual temperature around 15°C, with the summers being hot and the year-round precipitation being very high.

“The fossils from the Redmond mine show that an area that is now covered by boreal forest and tundra used to be covered in warm temperate forests in the middle of the Cretaceous, one of our planet’s ‘hothouse’ episodes,” commented Alexandre Demers-Potvin, the first author of the study. “These are new pieces of evidence that can help improve projections of the global average temperature against global CO2 levels throughout the Earth’s history.”

According to reports, the scientists are currently examining the description of new fossilized insects which were discovered at the Redmond site. The team hopes to discover more insect specimens, in addition to fossilized vertebrates which could possibly be hidden in the rubble of abandoned mines.