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Why More Species Live in the Amazon Rainforests

Posted by Lindy on May 4, 2011


Released: 5/3/2011 9:00 AM EDT

http://www.newswise.com/articles/new-research-explains-why-more-species-live-in-the-amazon-rainforests

For more than two hundred years, the question of why there are more species in the tropical rainforest than anywhere else has been a biological enigma. A particularly perplexing aspect is why so many species live together in a small area in the tropics, especially at some sites in the rainforests of the Amazon Basin in South America.

Treefrogs may hold the answer (yes those treeforgs Margays!).  Treefrogs are really important because they can make up nearly half of all amphibian species in some rainforest sites. At some sites in the Amazon rainforest, there are more treefrog species in a small area than there are across all of North America or Europe.”

What they found was that it was NOT the  wet, tropical climatic conditions alone. In fact in some other tropical rainforest areas, there were no more different species than anywhere in Europe. It was just in the Amazon where there were so many.

Instead, the researchers realized that the difference between the Amazon and other places, was that it had been more or less in the same part of the earth for more than 60 millions years, since before most dinosaurs became extinct.

In contrast, those sites in tropical rainforests that have relatively few treefrog species are in areas that were colonized by treefrogs much more recently.

This would explain why there are more species of other animals but plants as well in the Amazon than anywhere else.

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