Cold-adapted beetles colonized the lowlands of the Lake Region of south-central Chile following the retreat of glaciers from their maximum extent at about 19,500 yr B.P. The beetle fauna from 18,000 to 14,000 yr B.P. was characterized by species of moorland habitats. This fauna was species-poor compared to later faunas of the postglacial interval. By 14,000 yr B.P. arboreal species were replacing species of open habitats, reflecting a change toward a warmer climate. By about 12,500 yr B.P. fossil beetle assemblages consisted entirely of rain forest species. The fauna of the postglacial interval was about five times as species-rich as that of the glacial interval. The change in species composition and greater diversity of the beetle fauna was produced by an increase in mean annual temperature estimated to be about 4??-5??C. This was the last major climatic change to affect profoundly the biota of the middle latitudes of South America. The fossil beetle assemblages do not imply a reversal to a colder climate at the time of the European Younger Dryas interval between 11,000 and 10,000 yr B.P. ?? 1992.
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Fossil beetle evidence for climatic change 18,000-10,000 years B.P. in south-central Chile