Years of scientific debate over the extinction of ancient species in North America have led to many theories. There's one thing all researchers agree on, however: A mass extinction occurred here in a geological instant. And other scientists have discovered that WE almost went extinct 1.2 million years ago. Will it happen again?
When our ancestors were spreading through Africa, Europe and Asia, there were probably only between 18,500 and 26,000 couples producing children. That's a smaller breeding population than today's endangered gorillas!
In Phys.Org.com, Lin Edwards reports on new research which reveals that there was more genetic diversity in our early ancestors than there is in modern humans today. They conclude that there must have been a catastrophic event around one million years ago, such as a huge volcanic eruption, that almost wiped us out.
We survived, but plenty of creatures didn't: During the late Pleistocene, 40,000 to 10,000 years ago, North America lost over 50% of its large mammal species. These species include mammoths, mastodons, giant ground sloths, among many others, all with different habitat and feeding preferences. What event or factor could cause such a mass extinction? There are many theories, including abrupt climate change, the result of comet impact, human overkill and disease.
Researcher J. Tyler Faith says, "The massive extinction coincides precisely with human arrival on the continent, abrupt climate change, and a possible extraterrestrialimpact event. It remains possible that any one of these or all, contributed to the sudden extinctions. We now have a better understanding of when the extinctions took place and the next step is to figure out why."
One problem is that the existing fossil record is incomplete, making it more difficult to tell whether or not the extinctions occurred in a gradual process, or took place all at once. However, scientist DO have mammoth dung, which is a great source of prehistoric information.
What we humans REALLY want to know is if extinction is in OUR future. For instance, you hear so many conflicting theories about what's going to happen on December 21, 2012, but now Whitley Strieber has FIGURED IT OUT and he explains it all in our subscriber section, so if you want to know what's going to happen tomorrow, be sure to subscribe today! To access this information, enter the Subscriber section, click on the Audio Section then click on Special Interviews and scroll down until you see Special Interviews Archive, then click on that. The entire archive will open and you can scroll or do a browser search for the programming you are looking for. It's our special present just for you.
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