The expansion of C4 grasses and global change in the late Miocene: Stable isotope evidence from the Americas

Claudio Latorre, Jay Quade, William C. McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

189 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

δ13C values in paleosols and fossil teeth have been used to document the expansion of C4 plants in South Asia, Africa, and North America during the late Miocene. However, the exact timing and rate of expansion of C4 vegetation is unclear outside the Old World because of a lack of high-resolution records. We present a high-resolution record from northwest Argentina in which the δ13C values of soil carbonate rise above a threshold of -8‰, suggesting the presence of C4 plants, starting at 7.3-6.7 Ma. δ13C values of fossil teeth from well dated sections in South and North America display a concomitant increase of C4 plants in the diets of large herbivores. These results show that the late Miocene expansion of C4 plants was global, but occurred at different rates in each region. While it is has been suggested that declining pCO2 levels during the late Neogene caused C4 plant expansion, climate change, such as an increase in summer-dominated rainfall regimes globally, is an alternative explanation. The δ18O soil carbonate records from South Asia, East Africa and now also northwest Argentina all show an increase of at least 3-4‰ in the late Neogene, either the result of climate change or of greater evaporation in average grassland soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-96
Number of pages14
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume146
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1997

Fingerprint

grasses
C4 plant
Isotopes
global change
stable isotope
isotopes
Carbonates
Miocene
grass
Soils
Climate change
soils
Argentina
expansion
fossils
climate change
teeth
Plant expansion
carbonates
Neogene

Keywords

  • C-13/C-12
  • Miocene
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Paleosols
  • Teeth
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics

Cite this

The expansion of C4 grasses and global change in the late Miocene : Stable isotope evidence from the Americas. / Latorre, Claudio; Quade, Jay; McIntosh, William C.

In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 146, No. 1-2, 01.1997, p. 83-96.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{ba4a57aa5ebd4f918ff75d271b5cc9ba,
title = "The expansion of C4 grasses and global change in the late Miocene: Stable isotope evidence from the Americas",
abstract = "δ13C values in paleosols and fossil teeth have been used to document the expansion of C4 plants in South Asia, Africa, and North America during the late Miocene. However, the exact timing and rate of expansion of C4 vegetation is unclear outside the Old World because of a lack of high-resolution records. We present a high-resolution record from northwest Argentina in which the δ13C values of soil carbonate rise above a threshold of -8‰, suggesting the presence of C4 plants, starting at 7.3-6.7 Ma. δ13C values of fossil teeth from well dated sections in South and North America display a concomitant increase of C4 plants in the diets of large herbivores. These results show that the late Miocene expansion of C4 plants was global, but occurred at different rates in each region. While it is has been suggested that declining pCO2 levels during the late Neogene caused C4 plant expansion, climate change, such as an increase in summer-dominated rainfall regimes globally, is an alternative explanation. The δ18O soil carbonate records from South Asia, East Africa and now also northwest Argentina all show an increase of at least 3-4‰ in the late Neogene, either the result of climate change or of greater evaporation in average grassland soils.",
keywords = "C-13/C-12, Miocene, Paleoclimatology, Paleosols, Teeth, Vegetation",
author = "Claudio Latorre and Jay Quade and McIntosh, {William C.}",
year = "1997",
month = "1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "146",
pages = "83--96",
journal = "Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters",
issn = "0012-821X",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "1-2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The expansion of C4 grasses and global change in the late Miocene

T2 - Stable isotope evidence from the Americas

AU - Latorre, Claudio

AU - Quade, Jay

AU - McIntosh, William C.

PY - 1997/1

Y1 - 1997/1

N2 - δ13C values in paleosols and fossil teeth have been used to document the expansion of C4 plants in South Asia, Africa, and North America during the late Miocene. However, the exact timing and rate of expansion of C4 vegetation is unclear outside the Old World because of a lack of high-resolution records. We present a high-resolution record from northwest Argentina in which the δ13C values of soil carbonate rise above a threshold of -8‰, suggesting the presence of C4 plants, starting at 7.3-6.7 Ma. δ13C values of fossil teeth from well dated sections in South and North America display a concomitant increase of C4 plants in the diets of large herbivores. These results show that the late Miocene expansion of C4 plants was global, but occurred at different rates in each region. While it is has been suggested that declining pCO2 levels during the late Neogene caused C4 plant expansion, climate change, such as an increase in summer-dominated rainfall regimes globally, is an alternative explanation. The δ18O soil carbonate records from South Asia, East Africa and now also northwest Argentina all show an increase of at least 3-4‰ in the late Neogene, either the result of climate change or of greater evaporation in average grassland soils.

AB - δ13C values in paleosols and fossil teeth have been used to document the expansion of C4 plants in South Asia, Africa, and North America during the late Miocene. However, the exact timing and rate of expansion of C4 vegetation is unclear outside the Old World because of a lack of high-resolution records. We present a high-resolution record from northwest Argentina in which the δ13C values of soil carbonate rise above a threshold of -8‰, suggesting the presence of C4 plants, starting at 7.3-6.7 Ma. δ13C values of fossil teeth from well dated sections in South and North America display a concomitant increase of C4 plants in the diets of large herbivores. These results show that the late Miocene expansion of C4 plants was global, but occurred at different rates in each region. While it is has been suggested that declining pCO2 levels during the late Neogene caused C4 plant expansion, climate change, such as an increase in summer-dominated rainfall regimes globally, is an alternative explanation. The δ18O soil carbonate records from South Asia, East Africa and now also northwest Argentina all show an increase of at least 3-4‰ in the late Neogene, either the result of climate change or of greater evaporation in average grassland soils.

KW - C-13/C-12

KW - Miocene

KW - Paleoclimatology

KW - Paleosols

KW - Teeth

KW - Vegetation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0002200077&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0002200077&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0002200077

VL - 146

SP - 83

EP - 96

JO - Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters

JF - Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters

SN - 0012-821X

IS - 1-2

ER -