The book theComing Global Superstorm was criticized for making the casethat mass extinctions of various types of bison, mammoths,horses in the Americas and many other large animals aroundthe world, were due to sudden climate change.
The conventional wisdom was that these extinctions were dueto mass slaughter by human beings. Now it seems that climatechange might indeed have been the primary factor in theextinctions.
Recent geneticstudies confirm that the disappearance of millions ofmammoths, wooly rhinos and other creatures were not due tohunting at all, but rather appear to be related to a suddenchange in climate.
Beth Shapiro, a Research Fellow at Oxford, writes in thelatest issue of the journal Science, that the populations ofthese animals were already signficantly depleted by the timehuman being arrived.
The scientific team involved tracked the population changesin bison using DNA evidence from 442 fossils from the US,Canada and Siberia. It was discovered that, as the weatherchanged 14,000 years ago, the animals became stressed. Thenthere was a sudden, dramatic event and the bison populationdropped by four fifths. Other species, such as theflat-faced bear, the North American lion, the mastodon andthe mammoth, disappeared altogether in a matter of a fewshort years.
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