Large-scale genetic analysis of the DNA of extinct animals showed that mammoths and other ice age megafauna representatives disappeared because of abrupt climate change, rather than the appearance of man.
A series of abrupt climate changes during the last 60 thousand years was the main reason for the disappearance of mammoths and other ice age megafauna representatives, as scientists tell deposits of ice in Greenland and the DNA of ancient animals, according to a paper published in science.
Even in the days when there were no people in these regions, in their territory all the same there were mass extinctions. Adding the current fragmentation of the human factors and the environment posed by global warming, have raised serious questions about what we expect world in the future from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at Adelaide.
Cooper and his colleagues found that the appearance of a man in the northern regions of the Earth and the New World are unlikely to become the major cause of extinction of mammoths, woolly rhinos, giant sloths and other representatives of megafauna, comparing it looked like the DNA of different kinds of ancient animals with the way changed the planet’s climate over the last 50-60 thousand years. This comparison has shown that many species of megafauna died out in some parts of the world or completely disappeared from the face of the earth during episodes of abrupt climate warming – the so-called inter steady that separated one from another ice age.
For example, American short face cave bears and giant sloths disappeared during one of the last interglacial periods before a person has entered the United States. On the other hand, many species Eurasian megafauna like mammoths and bison co-existed with the ancient people for tens of thousands of years before their disappearance or drastic reduction in population. In favor of the mammoths and other megafauna became extinct representatives of climatic reasons, and says DNA analysis of plants that existed at the time. How do I find Eske Willerslev and his colleagues back in 2014, one of the reasons for the disappearance of mammoths may have been the fact that their favorite food – clovers and other herbaceous plants – have disappeared from the glacial regions shortly before their extinction.
As pointed out by Cooper, unexpectedly high the role of climate in the extinction of megafauna in any case does not mean that human hands were completely clean in this matter. It is possible that the ancient hunter-gatherers finished those species that are not able to completely destroy the climate, concludes the geneticist.