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Book Chapter

Movements of Insect Populations in the British Pleistocene

By
F. W. Shotton
F. W. Shotton
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Published:
January 01, 1965

Factors that control abundances of different kinds of insect and different skeletal parts in Pleistocene deposits include original abundance, habitat, mode of life, and nature of the exoskeleton. Coleoptera tend to be dominant. Most of these beetles may be identified with living species and seem to have experienced little or no evolutionary change during the Pleistocene.

Fossil populations frequently differ from those found at the same locality today. Although often “northern” or “southern,” a few species usually disrupt any simple pattern of geographical distribution and now appear incompatible for coexistence.

British Pleistocene beetles include a few that seem to be genuinely extinct and many that now occur only outside of Britain. A majority of these are northerners, but this may only mean that “cold” faunas have been better studied than “warm” ones. Colonization and depopulation are discussed in relation to the position of the ice fronts. An important factor in the history of Britain may have been an unbroken land connection with the continent throughout the Pleistocene. The rate of colonization movement is estimated to be about 10–20 m a year. The question of land connection between northern Scotland, Iceland, and Greenland is discussed, but the conflict of evidence between geologist and biologist is unresolved.

Possible use of insects for stratigraphic dating is discussed and an example given. This method, however, is still in its infancy.

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GSA Special Papers

International Studies on the Quaternary: Papers Prepared on the Occasion of the VII Congress of the International Association for Quaternary Research Boulder, Colorado, 1965

H. E. Wright, Jr.
H. E. Wright, Jr.
Editors
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David G. Frey
David G. Frey
Editors
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Geological Society of America
Volume
84
ISBN print:
9780813720845
Publication date:
January 01, 1965

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