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Past Climate Change Extremely Sudden

Something that happened to the dinosaurs 137 million years ago is right out of Whitley Strieber's Superstorm, and it could be about to happen again. In Superstorm, the Earth experiences dramatic cooling when the Gulf Stream stops. Scientists now have evidence that this exact scenario happened 137 million years ago, when the earth experienced dramatic heating due to a massive methane spike, then suddenly cycled to icy conditions when the heat-trapping methane dissipated. The changes appears to have been extremely sudden, and similar changes that have taken place more recently suggest that Europe went from being a temperate zone to entering the last ice age in just 30 days.

In the April 24th edition of the Telegraph, Andrew Hough quotes climatologist Gregory Price as saying that his team's research showed the drop in temperature happened when the Earth was in a ''greenhouse'' climate, which was very similar to now. Hough quotes Price as saying, ''We believe dinosaurs were most likely to be cold-blooded creatures and would have needed the warmth to keep them alive. If they were unable to migrate south they could have been wiped out. Climate change is now very much on the agenda in trying to determine how the dinosaurs became extinct. We now believe that they died out gradually and it is very possible that this could have been caused by a series of climatic changes.''

Climate change may have affected the dinosaurs (or maybe it was something else?), but the extinction of the gigantic elephant-like mammoths is still a mystery. However, the weather probably didn't cause their demise, because scientists have now learned that they had a kind of "anti-freeze" in their blood. In BBC News, Paul Rincon reports that when researchers recently got DNA from 3 mammoths, each of them tens of thousands of years old and preserved in the permafrost of Siberia, they discovered that mammoth blood could deliver oxygen to body cells even at very low temperatures.

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