Dolphins in the Arctic Sea: There’s Your Sign!

Tonight, I attended the Café Scientifique, held once a month at the Wynkoop Brewery. The speaker Prof. Jaelyn Eberle, from University of Colorado Boulder, spends her summers at nearly 80 degrees north, on Ellsmere Island, looking for fossils.  She specializes in the mammal fossils, among them hippo-like creatures called Coryphodon (said Core RIFF uh Don). The talk was engaging and Prof. Eberle passed around a few fossils as well as some muskox fur, which was cool.

The time period that Prof. Eberle studies is the hottest time period we know of, about 53 million years ago,  so hot that it had forests and liquid water way up north. Hard to believe, but holding mummified wood makes it a lot easier.

Interesting factoids:

  • Somehow, I didn’t know there had been a land bridge in the Atlantic – presumably,  from modern-day Canada to Greenland, Greenland to Iceland, Iceland to the Faroe Islands, and so on.
  • They have experienced 20 degree C weather – about 70 degrees – on their trips.  This is way warmer than usual, even for summer.
  • Last and certainly not least, one of Prof. Eberle’s Inuit contacts said they had seen dolphins.  This is nearly 80 degrees north. Wow.
  • The reason they know the island wasn’t much further south is because of paleomagnetism.  (It was only 2-3 degrees further south, if I recall correctly.)

Disclaimer: this is my recollection (and understanding) of what was said. If there’s anything wrong, it’s my fault. 🙂