PETM: Unearthing Ancient Climate Change

In this video, a team of paleontologists, paleobotanists, soil scientists, and other researchers take to the field in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin to document how the climate, plants, and animals there changed during the Paleocene- Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) when a sudden, enormous influx of carbon flooded the ocean and atmosphere for reasons that are still unclear to scientists. The PTEM is used as an analog to the current warming occurring. The scientists' research may help inform our understanding of current increases in carbon in the atmosphere and ocean and the resulting impact on ecosystems. Supporting materials include essay and interactive overview of animals that existed in the Basin after the PETM event.

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American Museum Natural History

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Having students read the essay would increase students' awareness of the science content on the importance of scientists studying the PETM.

It may be helpful to provide students with the questions from the classroom discussion activity pdf (http://www.amnh.org/sciencebulletins/content/e.f.PETM.20081126/resources...) prior to watching the video to guide their note-taking.

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