Latest volley in Panama land bridge debate pegs age at 3 million years
A debate over when the gap between North and South America closed has opened a rift in the scientific community.
Analyzing existing data from ancient rocks, fossils and genetic studies, a group of researchers has assembled a defense of the conventional view that the Isthmus of Panama formed around 3 million years ago. That work rebuts papers published last year that concluded that the continental connection started millions of years earlier (SN: 5/2/15, p. 10). The authors of the new paper, published August 17 in Science Advances, caution against the “uncritical acceptance” of the older formation date.
“Those of us who are advocating the traditional view are in danger of being seen as old fuddy-duddy conservatives,” says study coauthor Harilaos Lessios, a molecular