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Palaeontology

Did climate change wipe out the mammoths ?

September 11, 2013 | Comment icon 18 comments



Some mammoths were believed to have survived until 1650 BC. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Flying Puffin
New evidence suggests that climate change, not human hunting, was responsible for wiping out mammoths.
Scientists have long speculated that mammoths were driven to extinction along with several other species thanks to excessive human hunting, with evidence pointing to a large and stable population up until the time when early humans would have first encountered them.
New DNA evidence obtained through the study of frozen mammoth remains however has cast doubt on this theory by showing that mammoth populations waxed and waned over multiple ice ages and that climate change was the most significant factor in the lead up to their eventual demise.

"The picture that seems to be emerging is that they were a fairly dynamic species that went through local extinctions, expansions and migrations," said lead researcher Dr Love Dalen. "It is quite exciting that so much was going on."

Source: Independent | Comments (18)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by mumanster 8 years ago
Dont forget about bacterial and viral contaminants. Single biggest cause for mass deaths of any species following human explorations... Ooops, already posted above by Sundew...soz....
Comment icon #10 Posted by spacecowboy342 8 years ago
Human hunting may not have been the ultimate cause of extinction but I believe Pleistocene overkill definitely contributed to them being endangered as it seems the most effective way to hunt mammoths was to wait until the wind was right and set fires behind them to stampede them off cliffs
Comment icon #11 Posted by Essan 8 years ago
The last known refugia of the woolly mammoth was Wrangel Island. Despite all the climate change in the preceding millenia, they were quite happily chomping away on grasses there, in the Arctic Circle, whilst silly humans were building pyramids in Egypt and stone circles in England. Around the same time, Siberian hunters reached Wrangel Island for the first time. And then all the mammoths disappeared. This means one of 3 things must happened: either they were killed by orgone energy transmitted by the Giza pyramid death star; they were transported back into the ice age by a time vortex emanatin... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by onereaderone 8 years ago
in the game musical chairs... the last person standing is out. in european politics , the last person blaimed is responcible . among little girls , they turn on the target untill death takes her. among eco - crazy's .... humans are in some way ... the reason all is wrong . the funny part is... in musical chairs... the first person out gets to watch , and enjoy the game the most . in european politics , the people who are most responcible play the players , and are never caught . among the little girls , the targets become the stylish, graceful, tasteful, sophisticated, classic, smart, fashiona... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by spacecowboy342 8 years ago
Well not to sound like a tree hugger but we are destroying this planet.Google great pacific garbage heap for evidence of this
Comment icon #14 Posted by docyabut2 8 years ago
I believe the extinctions of the mammoths were from over kill, humans migrating all over and killing off whole herds never thinking of leaving a few off springs to breed future food.If it were just climate change there would have beem more animals that went extint, a specie goes extint because the off springs don`nt survive.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Setton 8 years ago
I love it when the news reports long standing theories as if they're new...
Comment icon #16 Posted by cerberusxp 8 years ago
So quit dumping your garbage. There was definitely a climate change, however humans had absolutely NOTHING to do with it except many millions died. These Mammoths died abruptly, frozen.
Comment icon #17 Posted by bulveye 8 years ago
Just out of interest, how many people do you think a Woolly Mammoth would feed? Cos I think humans back then were small tightly knit wandering groups. When they found a heard of Mammoths they would only kill one and I would assume it would feed them all for many days.
Comment icon #18 Posted by spacecowboy342 8 years ago
Just out of interest, how many people do you think a Woolly Mammoth would feed? Cos I think humans back then were small tightly knit wandering groups. When they found a heard of Mammoths they would only kill one and I would assume it would feed them all for many days. This ignores evidence in the fossil record of pleistocene overkill. Often these hunters would not merely kill one to eat but would stampede whole herds off cliffs by lighting fires behind them. They would then eat one or two leaving the rest to rot, repeating the process the next time. I don't think overkill and climate change ar... [More]


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