2021-10-24

The extinction of woolly mammoths is due to climate change rather than human hunting

By yqqlm yqqlm

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but in addition to understanding the mystery of the disappearance of mammoths, if our current climate crisis is not controlled, these findings may let people see the fate of other species

The extinction of woolly mammoths is due to climate change rather than human hunting

Wang Yucheng, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge and the first author of a paper published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, said in a statement: “we have shown that climate change, especially precipitation, directly promotes the change of vegetation – according to our model, human beings to [mammoths] There is no impact at all. ”

Eske willerslev, co-author, researcher at Cambridge University and director of the geographic genetics center of the lundbeck foundation at the University of Copenhagen, added:” this is a clear historical lesson that shows how unpredictable climate change is — once something is lost, there is no turning back“

these gentle creatures that feed on grass and flowers live with Neanderthals. Although many contacts may be peaceful, these animals are a popular commodity in making fur coats, music and artistic instruments and rich food because they have thick chocolate fur, strong huge tusks and huge body size. They weigh about 6 tons and stand about 13 feet (4 meters) – as Wang said, mammoths can “grow to the height of a double decker bus”

The extinction of woolly mammoths is due to climate change rather than human hunting(1)

“scientists have debated the cause of the extinction of mammoths for 100 years,” willerslev said. “Humans have always been blamed because these animals lived for millions of years without climate change, but when they lived with humans, they didn’t last long. Humans are accused of hunting them and causing their extinction.”

prehistoric people are suspected to be the cause of the final extinction of woolly mammoths, not climate change, This seems to make sense. These animals somehow survived the ice age about 12000 years ago. The imaginative animated film ice age has some views on this, but the researchers of the new research decided to dig deeper

in 10 years, willerslev led a team to analyze DNA fragments collected from Arctic soil where mammoths are known to exist widely. These samples took more than 20 years to collect and analyzed using a method called DNA shotgun sequencing

DNA gun sequencing is an indirect method, which can establish gene archives without human or animal visit. Instead of collecting genetic information from bones or teeth, the method sequenced DNA from traces of urine or waste cells. In recent years, scientists have also used this tool to track the movement of covid-19 by creating DNA files from sewage residues

researchers studying ancient mammoths found by sequencing that the population depletion rate of this giant animal was consistent with the rapid rate of climate change at that time. This is because “as the climate warms, trees and wetland plants take over and replace the grassland habitat of mammoths,” willerslev said

“when the climate became wetter and the ice began to melt, it triggered the formation of lakes, rivers and swamps,” he said. “The ecosystem has changed and the biomass of vegetation has decreased, which could not maintain the mammoth herd.” prehistoric humans may spend most of their time hunting animals that are much smaller and easier to capture than the giant mammoth, indicating that their impact on animal extinction is smaller than intuitively thought

The extinction of woolly mammoths is due to climate change rather than human hunting(2)

another important aspect of this discovery is that “we can finally prove that not only climate change is the problem, but also its development speed is the last nail in the coffin. When the landscape changes sharply and their food becomes scarce, they can’t adapt quickly.” This speed is why researchers naturally compare what happened then to what seems to be happening now