TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2015, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (2): 179-185.

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Paleontological Evidence of the Changes of the North Boundary of Southern Mid-Subtropical Zone in Eastern China during Holocene

LI Zhiwen1,2,3,LI Baosheng2,4,SUN Li3,WANG Fengnian5   

  1. (1.State Key Laboratory Breeding Base of Nuclear Resources and Environment,East China University of Technology,Nanchang 330013,China; 2.State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology,Institute of Earth Environment,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Xi’an 710061,China; 3.School of Earth Science,East China University of Techology,Nanchang 330013,China;4.School of Geography,South China Normal University,Guangzhou 510631,China;5.Department of Tourism, Huizhou University,Huizhou 516007,China)
  • Online:2015-03-31 Published:2015-03-31


The climate changed frequently in eastern China during Holocene, that caused significant migration of the mammals for several times. The common species of the mammalian fauna mainly lived in subtropical zone, only a few tropical species such as Hylobates, Elephas maximus, Megatapirus augustus and Rhinoceros sinensis, were mainly distributed in tropical zone and south-subtropical zone, indicating a forest environment with tropical climate features in the south of mid-subtropical zone. Studying the faunal composition and geographic distribution characteristics in different phases of Holocene in South China, this paper inferred the climate variation in different phases of Holocene according to the distribution of the tropical species and their far-north living boundary. The results were as follows: the climate gradually turned warmer after the last glacial epoch in Holocene, the north boundary of the southern mid-subtropical zone moved southwards by nearly 2 latitude degrees during 14 000- 12 000 a BP, the mean temperature of January in this period was about 3-5℃ lower than that today. The transitionally warm period was 12 000-8 500 a BP, when the climate was approaximately similar to that of today. The Megathermal period was from 8 500-5 000 a BP. With the north boundary at Qinling-Huaihe, and the mean temperature was about 7-9℃ higher than today’s in January. The transitionally cold period was 5 000-3 000 a BP, the north boundary reached the Yangtze River Basin, and the temperature was about 5-6℃ higher than today’s in January. Then from 3 000 a BP, the climate was getting colder, and the north boundary of the zone retreated southwards. Those phenomena suggested the significant changes of the climatic zone and the bio-climate variations in Holocene.

Key words: Holocene, subtropical zone of eastern China, the north boundary of the tropical species, climatic changes, mammal fossils