Trans-Amazon Drilling Project

History of the Neotropical Rain Forest

Sedimentary basins of the Brazilian Amazon region.

The overarching goals of the proposed research are (1) to document the evolution of biodiversity of the Amazon forest across most of its entire reach throughout its entire history, and (2) to determine how the evolution of the physical environment (e.g. tectonics, climate, geomorphology) has shaped the generation, distribution, and preservation of neotropical biodiversity. The origin of the great biodiversity observed in tropical South America has spurred debate for well over a hundred years. Some historical explanations posit that low tropical extinction rates, resulting from a supposed stable tropical climate, enabled the progressive accumulation of species over time. More recent evolutionary hypotheses include consideration of factors that affect species origination rates, including climate, tectonic, and geomorphic history.

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