families Smithsonian Education
IdeaLabs: Prehistoric Climate Change
Getting Started

A period of sudden global warming 55 million years ago radically changed life on Earth. Animals and even plants went on the move in search of cooler places. A Smithsonian paleontologist named Scott Wing has found a way of telling the temperatures of this time. He examines fossils of tree leaves and uses his findings in a mathematical equation. In the interactive Prehistoric Climate Change, you too can “read the tree leaves” and tell how high the temperatures rose. You’ll also meet Scott in a video.


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