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Leafs Leave Million Year Old Imprints

Posted on Jun 24, 2019 by in The OFI Blog |

Paleobiologist Dr. Mónica Carvalho studies flower fossils estimated to be more than 50 million years old as a Tupper postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).

Dr. Carvalho on the first day of fieldwork.

Doing research with STRI periodically during her undergraduate studies, she has spent multiple years investigating million-year-old tropical rainforests. Studying the environmental conditions that led to the evolution of neotropical forests, Mónica looks into the past to study the potential of the world’s environmental future. She says that these ancient forests have many similarities between the tropical rainforests that we have today.

Her research is focused on fossils from the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia from before and after a South American global warming event 60 million years ago. Studying the environmental conditions that led to the evolution of neotropical forests, Mónica aims to understand how vegetation survived the extreme climates of the much hotter and less oxygen-rich atmosphere.

Here is more information from the STRI blog explaining more about Mónica’s research as a paleobiologist.