We now know that prehistoric man did not hunt the mammoth into extinction. The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park 10 years ago has been blamed for the 40% decline in the elk population there?but it turns out that the wolves are not responsible either.

Global warming was what actually made mammoths become extinct, and it turns out that in a way, it has led to the decline in the elk as well, since years of drought have contributed to it. Another extinction pressure comes from human hunters. Also, there is evidence that elks have been dying off from a form of mad cow disease.

Researcher John Vucetich says, “You don’t need wolves in the picture at all to explain the population drop?our work shows that the timing of the elk decline is coincidental with wolf reintroduction and that other factors are to blame. Whether or not wolves had been introduced, you’d have seen fewer elk anyway.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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