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Title: Palaeoentomological investigations at seven sites of late Pliocene/Lower Pleistocene to Eemian age from western Europe, Britain and Ireland
Author: Dixon, A. T.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2003
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New palaeoentomological studies, based primarily on the Coleoptera are presented from Abington Hall, England (pre-Eemian glacial and early Eemian), Histon Road, England (Eemian or late Middle Pleistocene), Derrynadivva, Ireland (Gortian), Burren Townland, Ireland (Gortian), Ardleigh, England (early Middle Pleistocene), Öbel, Germany (Lower Pleistocene), and Bernasso, France (Plio-Pleistocene). Chapter 1: provides an introduction to studies in Quaternary Entomology and reviews the assumption of species stasis throughout the Quaternary upon which many conclusions rest. Chapter 2: provides a general methodology for the palaeoentomological studies of this thesis, and examines taphonomic effects on fossil assemblages. Chapter 3: evaluates the major factors that influence the composition of fossil interglacial assemblages of early Middle Pleistocene to Holocene age from this thesis and the literature. Stratigraphic age, local environmental conditions, trap type and sample size are considered using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis, methods of multivariate analyses. Chapters 4 to 9: present palaeoentomological studies at the sites investigated for this work. The implications of the insect fauna regarding evolutionary biology, biogeography, biostratigraphy and palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstruction, are discussed. Chapter 10: reviews major conclusions resulting from this work. A summary of conclusions and observations are as follows: The taxonomic composition of fossil assemblages are markedly unlike the catches of modern entomological trapping techniques investigated, despite apparently similar natural environments. Great caution is therefore required when drawing conclusions from the relative importance of ecological groupings, or other (semi-) quantitative data in the fossil record. Faunas from Bernasso and Öbel indicate morphological stasis of middle-latitude European beetle faunas since the Plio-Pleistocene and Lower Pleistocene respectively. Previously, comparative faunas from sediments older that the early Middle Pleistocene have been recovered only from high-latitude sites in the Greenland, Canadian and Alaskan arctic.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available