In DepthPALEOCLIMATE

Project traces 500 million years of roller-coaster climate

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Science  24 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6442, pp. 716-717
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6442.716

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Summary

When it opens in June, the revamped fossil hall of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., will be more than a vault of dinosaur bones. It will show how Earth's climate has shifted over the eons, driving radical changes in life, and how, in the modern age, one form of life—humans—is in turn transforming the climate. To tell this story, several Smithsonian scientists initiated an effort to chart Earth's average surface temperature over the past 500 million years or so. But making the chart was unexpectedly challenging, and it has triggered a major research effort to reconstruct the record.