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Museum lectures explore impact of climate change

Speakers Dr Clive and Stewart Finlayson will talk about climate change in Gibraltar with particular reference to birds and the information that they can give us at the next series of Museum Lectures, to be held this Thursday January 26 at 7pm at the John Mackintosh Hall.

The long palaeontological sequences at Gorham’s and Vanguard Caves, supplemented by others such as Devil’s Tower Rock Shelter, give us a window into the past. Covering the last 125,000 years they take us from an interglacial, when global climate was actually warmer than today, through an erratic sequence of climatic changes.

For most of this time global climate was cooler than at present and sea levels dropped significantly, by as much as 120 metres, creating dramatic changes in the landscape. With the remains of 151 bird species now identified in the caves, they are the most important in Eurasia.

The speakers aim to take the audience on a journey back in time and show what birds can tell humans about climate.

Was it really that cold in Gibraltar when much of the United Kingdom was under a kilometre of ice? Do we find birds in Gibraltar then that are not found here today and, if so, what do they tell us about climate change? Did it ever get warm enough for African species to arrive from the south? These are among the questions that will be

Finally, some examples of recent changes to bird distribution patterns will be used to look at the speed with which birds can respond to environmental perturbations.

The lecture will be illustrated with photographs taken by the speakers and is open to the public and is free of charge.

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