A research conducted at the University of New South Wales and the University of Adelaide in Australia found that woolly mammoths were killed by abrupt warming due to climate change.
Previous analysis concluded that “intense cold snaps” during the glacial maximum were to be blamed, but it was found that it was actual sudden heat waves that led to the extinction of animals 11,000 years ago.
Interstadials, otherwise known as quick warming occurrences within the weather, were recorded during the last ice age, between 60,000 and 12,000 years ago during the Pleistocene period. Alan Cooper, lead author of the study observed that the sudden climate change also coincided with the mass extinction of mammoths and giant sloths before humans were even involved.
By analyzing DNA patterns in ancient samples a decade ago, researchers were able to determine the rapid disappearance of the larger species and related it to sudden lowering of global temperatures. However, through improvements in carbon dating and records that explained accurate temperatures in time, they were able to prove the exact opposite.
During the last ice age, neither woolly mammoths nor giant sloths were killed by the intense cold, but by sudden heat waves that caused a drastic change in climate. The effects on the land, both fauna and animal had led to the extinction of species around 11,000 years ago.
Which means that even without the presence of humans, the world saw disappearance in mass of species roaming the Earth due to climate change. The abrupt warming of temperatures only set the wheels in motions during the “glacial maximum”.
Researchers have also stated that humans were certainly the “coup de grace”, or the last nail in the coffin to put it more bluntly, on a population of creatures and animals that were already under stress due to climate change. It’s impossible not to hear the familiar ring it has to it.
It was said that the abrupt changes had a severe impact on the animal population and adding the human factor, which was detrimental to the environment by tearing down and building up, saw the quick extinction of a high number of animals.
The findings raise questions and concerns about the future of our environment, with clear change in climates felt everywhere and more animals becoming endangered each year. It’s the tragic tendency of human existence to repeat its mistakes, but perhaps with enough alarm bells, we could avoid the harsher consequences of our actions.
Image source: umaincertaantropologia.org