Skip to comments.Woolly mammoth extinction 'not linked to humans'
Posted on 08/18/2010 11:32:29 AM PDT by decimon
Woolly mammoths died out because of dwindling grasslands - rather than being hunted to extinction by humans, according to a Durham University study.
After the coldest phase of the last ice age 21,000 years ago, the research revealed, there was a dramatic decline in pasture on which the mammoths fed.
The woolly mammoth was once commonplace across many parts of Europe.
It retreated to northern Siberia about 14,000 years ago, where it finally died out approximately 4,000 years ago.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
Sallie told Hallie ping.
Wow, it only took 4,000 years to clear these guys.
So it was climate change?
That means that humans definitely caused their demise; only humans cause climate change.
Why did I just think of Michelle Zero????
Yeah, when they invented fire, poof! There went the mammoth. All those caves, ya know and the smoke. It all comes back to not wanting to freeze and convenience for humans. The creeps.
Ruminant herbivores survived, non-ruminants were wiped out.
Try proposing a theory explaining that.
I mean, the mammoth lived in North America for thousands of years, then Clovis man shows up, we see Clovis points stuck in the butt of mammoths, then we don't seem to find any more mammoths.
Now I am not saying that such evidence CONCLUSIVELY shows anything! But the extinction of much of the mega-fauna coinciding so clearly with human habitation seems to paint a compelling picture.
Well hell and here I thought it was due to neandrethals driving Ford Explorers and not worrying about their "carbon footprint." Next some one is going to say that global warming is the result of solar cycles and not our current standard of living.
The WalMart parking lot is just full of mammoths.
Scientific Name: Hugeasseous Doordingerus
I have always proclaimed my innocence.
Their regrettable habit of sticking Clovis Points into the gluteal region of Mammoths is exactly why there are no more Clovis People.
We be lookin’ for tuskers, not hippos.
These researchers have allowed their politics to damage their brains.
The large mammals survived multiple ice ages and end of ice ages for multiple millions of years. Man shows up - and they are gone in a few thousand years.
And not just in North America - in multiple locations planet wide.
And the theory is “climate change and grassland”.
Stuck on stupid.
An absolute truth. I personally think that most of these people do not have a clue.
While man and mammoth were in the same neighborhood, it’s highly unlikely that a group of humans could have put the final hurt into the population with stone tipped weapons.
If it were true that primitive technology was sufficient to wipe-out swaths of mega-fauna, by that reasoning, elephants, rhinos and other similar mega-fauna should have become extinct by the time the first puff of gun powder reached the shores of africa.
Man didn’t become dominant by shooting from the hip or acting like tarzan.
The mere evidence of clovis points stuck in bones doesn’t demonstrate cause of death.
Our ancestors were pragmatic scavengers and not the foolhardy type to risk their lives (or the life of a hunting party member) to take down a mammoth when the abundance of smaller (less harmful) game was bountiful.
My 2 cents... or 2 clams as Fred Flintstone would insist.
Mammoth, baby! It’s what’s for dinner.
The Atlanteans had a green-tech society powered by lithium-based batteries. They carelessly discarded their lithium batteries on the steppes which poisoned non-ruminants. They got theirs in the end though.
What do you do with a thousand pounds of left overs?
As a big fan of ERB, I have to tell you that we should all be so lucky as to have mankind “act like Tarzan”; i.e. as a responsible steward of the wild.
Whatever the logistics of extermination of megafauna with stone tipped weapons, the disappearance of many different species of mega-fauna over many different lands- that just happen to coincide with human habitation - seems to indicate that it really might not have been so difficult as you imagine.
Well, according to 'Clan of the Cave Bear,' that infallible guide to Cro-Magnon Life, Love and Cuisine, one might try grinding it, mixing it with Hamburger Helper, and freezing patties for bar-B-qs later in the summer when all of the Clans gather on the steppes for a little flea market and make-out action.
The famous Beresovka mammoth, excavated by Otto Herz and E. W. Pfizenmayer and shipped back to St. Petersburg, Russia in 1902, first drew attention to the preserving properties of being quick-frozen when buttercups were found in its mouth and undigested food in its stomach. (Pfizenmayer, 1939) This was no gradual shift in temperatureit had to be both sudden and drastic!
Perhaps they were on the way down when we decided to make tools?
Early man didn’t focus on mega fauna other than to scavenge what remained.
Again I’ll pose: if the lethality of sticks and stone were not in question, how then did mega fauna survive the human onslought in other continents?
I can’t blame Bush-men ;) :p
I was a big fan of ERB and my favorite series was the Moon Men etc... Julian I-9
(mostly) From Science News. Dec 19, 2009.
North American Megafauna: 14,000 to 11,000 years ago.giant sloths; short faced bears; giant polar bears; California tapirs; peccaries; the American lion; giant condors; Miracinonyx ; saber-toothed cats like Xenosmilus, Smilodon and the scimitar cat; Homotherium; dire wolves; saiga; camelids such as two species of now extinct llamas and Camelops; at least two species of bison; stag-moose; the shrub-ox and Harlan's muskox; horses; mammoths and mastodons; and giant beavers as well as birds like teratorns.
Giant Kangaroo: 45,000 years ago: Australia. Within 5,000 years of human settlement, 90% of mammal species larger than a house cat, including the giant kangaroo, had gone extinct.
Large Caribbean Sloths: 4,400 years ago: Caribbean. By 800 years after human settlement, serval species of sloths died out.
Elephant Bird: 1,000 years ago. Madagascar. Within a millennium of humans’ arrival, the island's elephant birds, and other magafauna, were largely gone.
Moa: 500 years ago. New Zealand. Within two centuries of human settlement.
Dodo: 350 years ago. Mauritius. Within five or six decades of the island's first permanent settlement, the dodo was done.
I don't deny that humans were responsible for eliminating some species. The moa's extinction happened in historical times and humans were the cause. I don't dispute that humans hunted some of the larger animals but I have a real problem imagining that small bands of hunters could wipe out the entire range of megafauna. The matter remains a totally open question in my mind.
Many animals not used to humans show no fear of them, and thus were easy to eliminate before they could adapt.
As we have seen from the spread of invasive species (in Australia and elsewhere) a new species tends to throw things out of whack, and they make a huge impact within a short time.
Of course it isn't the sole explanation, and the data is far from conclusive. But the data seems to show that when humans showed up, a lot of mega-fauna soon disappeared.
And it doesn't take “bloodthirsty” or “short-sighted”; it just takes an easily exploited resource and hungry people.
“The spear points stuck into them seems to argue that they did focus on them other than to scavenge their remains.”
I’ll agree to disagree at this point.
The dual purpose use of a spear on large game: flensing.
It’s a fairy tale that either individual hunters or bands of hunters decided to sacrafice themselves or the safety of the hunting party to pursue dangerous game. I am often confronted by the anti-hunting community with similar presentations of “data”.
I imagine that (as tribes in africa had) they learned their lessons early and passed it on to generations: “if you mess with the mammoth, you’ll become a stain on the forest floor”
As far as the “list” provided, focusing on the mega-fauna and giant carnivores, they were on a decline without the help of man. I do believe that whatever the animals were feeding on, started to become scarce for a myriad of reasons.
Like Ruarke says: Use enough gun! our ancestors probably saw their buddy ‘Ogg’ get pummeled by a mammoth after a foolhardy assault.
My point: if large dangerous game was so easy to “take-out”, then why the heck did african and asian mega fauna survive when human population and technological advance was equal to or greater than the North American counterparts?
Maybe our North American ancstors were better at it?
A spear point that is stuck in and broken off might remain in the carcass.
A band of experienced humans with spears can take out any contemporaneous mega-fauna without much danger at all, even a mammoth.
Mega-fauna that developed alongside humans developed a fear of them. It is likely that much of the mega-fauna that went extinct at the same time humans showed up never developed that fear. We have seen the impact of an invasive species can take place rapidly, before any local animals have time to adapt.
Much of the mega-fauna on the list seemed to be doing just fine until humans showed up, then they were gone. Have any citations for them being in a long term decline BEFORE humans made the scene?
The numbers simply don't add up for me. I take your points but I doubt mammoths were ever "easily exploited" -- ditto dire wolves, sabre-toothed cats, cave bears etc. Ground sloths maybe. I like your Larson cartoon BTW.
While Occam's Razor might indicate your conclusion, in this case there's simply not enough real evidence either way to convince me. I need a whole lot more data about how many hunters there were etc.
But mammoths existed for thousands of years, the Clovis people showed up, We have found Clovis points in mammoth butts, then we find no more mammoths.
Did the Clovis people cause or contribute to the extinction of the mammoth?
We will never know.
But there is an obvious pattern of humans showing up, and lots of mega-fauna going extinct.
The evidence of that is hard to deny.
According to those who worship Mother Gaia in the O-So-Green-Movements. this was a great tragedy. They will make it go the other way 'round, next time.
But on that note I find it interesting that perhaps the greatest mass extinction of mega-fauna to accompany human habitation was in North America, where the indigenous inhabitants are usually credited with being ‘at one with nature’, and other such happy horse sh*t.
We learn more and more about the past every year. New ways of interpreting old evidence are continually being developed. Consider the plate tectonics revolution. Geological processes we now take for granted were laughed at prior to the 1960s. We now have a whole new and insightful way of looking at the Earth's past.
I think the megafauna extinction mystery will eventually be solved. My hunch is catastrophism of some sort or climate change or both, but my evidence is as sketchy as yours. I sincerely doubt small roving bands of stone-age hunters could push so many species into total extinction unless they were already hanging by a thread for some other reason. It's just as logical to consider that climate conditions that made human expansion into new areas possible were also somehow responsible for the extinctions.
Those were some really busy hunters. Sorry, not buying it. Did they hunt mammoths from time to time? I'm sure they did, but there's no way they were responsible for that butcher's bill you listed.
I would also point out that some of the other examples you listed were wiped out as a result of other non-indigenous animals that the people brought along with them. It turns out that flightless birds stuck on an island can't deal with dogs, rats and pigs eating them and their eggs.
I have no reason to doubt this but it's the first time I've seen it. Odd that. Do you have any theories of your own? Type of diet or the way the diet was handled by the digestive system???
North American indians were known to “hunt” buffalo by driving whole herds off cliffs. Not the most stewardly approach, certainly, but still quite effective. It may well have worked with many of the megafauna. They didn’t necessarily have to go speart-to-tusk, mano a mano with a brute weighing some few tons.
I would submit that it’s mainly a numbers game. There simply were never enough humans around to be a serious threat to any particular species ~even~ if their hunting techniques were wasteful.
All this “living in harmony with nature” BS... is just that. They didn’t have any special sense of “balance” with nature... they just didn’t have enough numbers to do much harm, nomatter what they did. They could hunt out one area and move along to new grounds pretty much perpetually.
I’ve got a beautiful Benchmade Gold-class knife with a woolly mammoth ivory handle.
It’s breathtaking. :-)
It's stag horn, Ram. ;-)
heh... Nope, not mine. It’s mammoth ivory, and a particularly nice, creamy white example. Lots of mammoth ivory is darker, and commonly filled with tiny cracks. The flawless white stuff is harder to find.
but it’s out there.
From the looks of things Clovis people chased the North American megafauna all the way to the North Slope of Alaska where miles of bones are stuck in the muck. Maybe worse, they apparently formed a fire line over much of Siberia and drove the megafauna all the way into the Arctic Ocean where there are complete islands made of nothing but carcasses. Fact is they must have followed them into the ocean themselves because Clovis culture disappeared about the same time. Mass suicide???
The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes:
Flood, Fire, and Famine
in the History of Civilization
by Richard Firestone,
Allen West, and
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They were excellent executive time managers, too. They somehow managed to fit in this idyllic outlook with a busy schedule of bashing each other's brains, kidnapping, massacres, and other quaint and colorful war rituals.
South of the now non-existent border, other Native Americans were working on advanced open heart surgical techniques, which they doubtless would have mastered had their research not been stopped by the arrival of gold-crazy Spaniards and evil Christian Missionaries.
But I never understood this “one with nature” Iron eyes Cody the crying Sicilian Indian crap either.
History is what it was. As Teddy Roosevelt said ‘it was ridiculous to think that North America could remain the last great preserve of nomadic and horticultural society’.
They were going to be supplanted by a more productive agricultural society, as has been the history of mankind from the dawn of agriculture - and they were damn lucky it was by us. Because we are so damn good at killing that we had the power and inclination to have that most blessed of human qualities, mercy.
In the light of history we can also have understanding. Of both peoples, both on a collision course that would shape the world we live in today.
But no need to get all propaganda good guy bad buy with it. It was what it was.
Bush did it.
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