New Study Shows Climate Change Wiped Out Woolly Mammoths
A 10-year research that analyzed plant and animal remains shows that ancient Woolly Mammoths became extinct due to melting icebergs.
A team of scientists found that ancient Woolly Mammoths became extinct due to rapid climate change and not due to humans.
Professor Eske Willerslev, a Fellow of St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, University of Copenhagen, explained that the Woolly Mammoth, which appeared in Siberia and Alaska 450,000 years ago, was not wiped out by humans.
The 10-year research project, published in Nature suggests that as the icebergs melted some 12,000 years ago and lakes, rivers, and marshes formed, the environment became too wet to support the grassland vegetation eaten by the giant mammals, who were not able to adapt to their rapidly changing environment.
Willerslev explained that as the Arctic's icebergs melted about 12,000 years ago, high humidity, lakes, rivers, and swamps were formed, and led to the disappearance of grassland vegetation that the mammoths used to feed on. Hence, the animals, that lived on Earth for 5 million years, could not adapt to these changes in the environment.
In addition, the scientists analyzed plant and animal remains, including urine, feces, and skin cells taken from soil samples collected over a period of 20 years from sites in the Arctic where Mammoths used to live.
The scientists were able to map out the population spread of mammoths and showed the dynamics of the decline in their number.
They were also able to estimate that the mammoths' number had greatly diminished after the last Ice Age, which ended 12 thousand years ago. But, some of them managed to survive in some areas until the advent of the Quaternary geological age 4000 years ago before the species going completely extinct.