German scientists have made a spectacular find. Near the Bavarian city of Augsburg they found a 14-million year old fossil of a python.
What’s interesting is that pythons like very warm, tropical weather, and not the cool, crappy stuff Germany has to offer. That means Germany (Central Europe) had to have been a balmy place 15 million years ago. In fact it was about 10°C warmer than it is today, the fossil indicates. German scientists published a paper in the journal Geodiversitas (DOI: 10.5252/g2011n3a2), which the online Frankfurter Rundschau here reports on. The FR writes:
Never before has such a find been discovered this far north. The remains give us clues on the climate back then.
Because pythons prefer warmer temperatures, today they live in the tropical regions of Asia and Africa. About 15 million years ago the predecessors of the today’s giant snakes also felt at home in Germany.”
How warm was it 15 million years ago in Germany? The Frankfurter Rundschau quotes the leader of the study, Madeleine Böhme of the University of Tübingen:
We gather that temperatures had an average of 19°C, otherwise the snakes would not have felt comfortable here.“
Currently the average annual temperature for Augsburg is about 8°C. So why did the pythons disappear? Climate change, says the Frankfurter Rundschau.
Climate change did the pythons’ ancestors in.
In any case the giant snakes found optimum living conditions in Germany for only a very short time, the scientists write. After the warm-subtropical temperatures of 14 million years ago, it got cooler and drier.”
So much for the claim the planet only changes when man lives on it.