Scientists say that wooly mammoths were driven to extinction by climate change, rather than by human intervention. This also happened in the case of short-faced bears, cave lions, and other megafauna which roamed the Earth around 60.000 to 12.000 years ago.
Researchers said that large animals, such as the wooly mammoth, would find it difficult to survive in those hot conditions, whereas it wasn’t necessarily the hand of man who would have killed them.
Alan Cooper, the director for the Australian Center for ancient DNA, the study’s first author, said that interstadials (abrupt climate changes) were the cause for shifts of dramatic proportions in vegetation and rainfall patterns.
Also, mammoths were herbivores, whereas the climate warming would’ve made it difficult for them to find food.
Researchers acknowledged the humans’ intervention in the killing of mammoths and other furry, megafauna creatures as well, Cooper also stating that human societies would have made it more difficult for the creatures to migrate.
Whereas, the study is one from a long list of examining procedures, this one is the latest where animals weighing more than 45 kilograms (99 pounds) are believed to have died off during the Late Pleistocene.
Another professor, Chris Turney, from the University of New South Wales, also reported that humans were the ones to determine the extinction for a population that already was under stress.
Unlike George Cuvier, the French-born paleontologist recognizing the giant-ground sloth, and the wooly mammoth, who had blamed the biblical floods for the animals’ extinction, the new study shows that ice-age humans and temperature off-shoots are responsible for their extinction.
The examined DNA of mammoths and other megafaunal species told scientists of global-extinction events but also of the replacement of animals once they are dead.
Cooper also reported that nowadays’ Earth climate is more stable than it used to be in the Pleistocene Era, nevertheless, this causes global warming a
Eline Lorenzen, assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen, said that people will be better prepared to face global warming, by understanding the past climate events.
Lorenzen also said that the study is like
“a wake-up call”
which has impacted thoroughly, but negatively, the megafauna communities for the past 50.000 years.
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