Skip to comments.How Mammoths Lost The Extinction Lottery
Posted on 11/04/2011 7:25:31 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Woolly mammoths, woolly rhinos and other large animals driven to extinction since the last ice age each succumbed to a different lethal mix of circumstances...
Researchers who studied the fate of six species of 'megafauna' over the past 50,000 years found that climate change and habitat loss were involved in many of the extinctions, with humans playing a part in some cases but not others. But there was no clear pattern to explain why the animals died off, and it proved impossible to predict from habitat or genetic diversity which species would go extinct and which would survive.
"It almost seems like it's a random process," says Eske Willerslev, a palaeo-geneticist at the University of Copenhagen who led the study published online today in Nature1. "If you ran the whole experiment again, we would have woolly mammoths and no reindeer, so Santa would drag his sleigh with woolly mammoths."
...Some scientists, noting that modern humans were spreading throughout the world around this time, envisaged a blitzkrieg in which technologically savvy people hunted these animals to extinction. The end of an ice age and the habitat changes it wrought led other researchers to lay the blame on climate...
The researchers created a series of snapshots of the European, Asian and North American ranges of these animals (drawn from climate records and hundreds of fossils) and a rough approximation of their population size (based on ancient mitochondrial DNA sequences) between 42,000 and 6,000 thousand years ago...
The team found no way to predict the future extinction of a species, based on either an animal's genetic diversity or the size of its range.
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Space crud embedded in the tusks of mammoths?
That’s my boys! Fighting to the end against the alien crud from outer space while all the little wussies were hiding in caves and under rocks.
;’) If the remains had been a little more durable, we’d see the same thing with the Clovis folks. :’)
Paleothithic man ‘not the main cause of deaths at vast mammoth graveyard’
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