Larry Flynn

Research Interests

Paleobiology of past ecosystems, especially the Neogene of South Asia and China. I specialize in small mammals which, collectively, account for half of modern community diversity. For the fossil record, small mammals are dominantly Rodentia (other orders being less diverse and under-represented). The terrestrial sequence of Indo-Pakistan includes a  long, rich record of rodent evolution.  It records significant change from the bottom (many archaic elements) to the top (precursors to the modern  biota), a span in excess of 20 million years. A long term goal is dense sampling (on the order of a sample for most 100,000 year intervals) through the middle to early late Miocene. Such dense sampling reveals trends and details concerning turnover, and reveals high diversity in the middle Miocene, as well as direct estimates of species longevity.

A similar record could be constructed in China. I have worked in a late Neogene basin in Yushe, Shanxi Province, and in an early to middle Miocene  sequence in Gansu. Work there is at an earlier descriptive stage, but can  be developed to be directly comparable to the Siwalik sequence through the  medium of palemag. There are many taxonomic differences between the faunas north and south of the Qinghai/ Tibet Plateau. The significance of  past-to-present biogeographic differences is still being deciphered. It will be extremely exciting and fruitful to see these two data sets merge and integrate.