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Reconstitution des variations saisonnières de paléotempérature par l’étude du δ18O des dents de vertébrés actuels et fossiles

Abstract : The oxygen isotopic composition of the vertebrate tooth enamel is a reliable proxy toreconstruct paleotemperatures based on the dependence of the δ18O of the tooth apatite onthe δ18O of body fluids, on the δ18O of the drinking water, and on the environmentaltemperature. The improvement and the miniaturization of the analytical procedures allowedincreasing the resolution of the reconstructed signal, from paleotemperature variations overgeological times to seasonal variations during the tooth growth. However seasonal variationsof the enamel δ18O do not only depend on temperature variations but can also be influencedby other climatic parameters such as rainfall distribution over the year, or by biological andecological parameters such as tooth mineralization process, diet, physiology or migratorypatterns.Biological parameters can be estimated based on the study of extant relatives inmodern faunas. For example, data on tooth formation and mineralization processes inmodern bovids allow a better understanding of the oxygen isotopic signal recorded in fossilbovid teeth. Thus reconstruction of seasonal variations of temperature during the penultimateglacial episode (MIS 6) has been made possible from the analysis of Bison priscus teethfrom the aven of Coudoulous (Lot, France). Climate was 4°C colder during the middlePleistocene when Europe was still Homo neanderthalensis hunting ground, and seasonswere more contrasted than today. Summer temperatures were similar to modern values, butwinter temperatures were 6-7°C colder.In marine environments, seasonal variations of temperature only affect surfacewaters. Myliobatids are pelagic rays living mostly between 0 and 100 m depth, thus theoxygen isotopic composition of myliobatid dental plates is a potential proxy to reconstruct thepaleoseasonality. The isotopic analysis of modern Myliobatis and Rhinoptera samplesconfirmed that variations of the sea-surface temperature (SST) and the δ18O of seawater arerecorded in the δ18O of myliobatid teeth. Thus it is possible to reconstruct the variations ofseawater temperature during a part of the animal’s life, but it also allows pointing outmigratory patterns in some myliobatid species. Reconstructions of seasonal variations ofSST during the middle Pliocene in Montpellier (Hérault, France) from the δ18O of myliobatiddental plates yielded paleotemperatures 5°C higher than modern values.
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Aurélien Bernard. Reconstitution des variations saisonnières de paléotempérature par l’étude du δ18O des dents de vertébrés actuels et fossiles. Sciences de la Terre. Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I, 2010. Français. ⟨NNT : 2010LYO10011⟩. ⟨tel-00840100⟩

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