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Woolly mammoths were apparently driven to extinction by a multitude of culprits, with climate change, human hunters and shifting habitats all playing a part in the long decline of these giants, researchers say. Woolly mammoths Mammuthus primigenius wandered the planet for aboutyears, ranging from Europe to Asia to North America covered in hair up to 20 inches 50 centimeters long and possessing curved tusks up to 16 feet 4.
Nearly all of these giants vanished from Siberia by about 10, years ago, although dwarf mammoths survived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean until 3, years ago. Scientists have often speculated over what might have driven the mammoths to extinction. For instance, for years researchers suspected that ancient human tribes hunted the mammoths and other ice age giants to oblivion.
Others have suggested that a meteor strike might have drastically altered the climate in North America about 12, years ago, wiping out most of the large Wie Alles Begann - Thomas Freitag - Die Riesenpackung there, the so-called " Younger Dryas impact hypothesis.
Now an analysis of thousands Bluebird Of Happiness - Boots Randolph - Party Boots fossils, artifacts and environmental sites spanning millennia suggest that no one killer is to blame for the demise of the woolly mammoths. Scientists investigated the extinction of woolly mammoths living in Beringiathe last refuge of mammoths that nowadays lies mostly submerged under the icy waters of the Bering Strait.
To get an idea of woolly mammoth abundance, past climate and other environmental factors, they analyzed samples from more than 1, woolly mammoths, nearly pieces of wood, nearly archaeological sites and more than peatlands, compiling their ages and locations to see how these giants and Catherine From Mid-October - Robert Pollard - Zoom (It Happens All Over The World) environments changed over time.
They also probed mammoth genetic data found in fossils of the titans. Their results revealed woolly mammoths flourished in the open steppe of Beringia between 30, to 45, years ago, with its relatively abundant grass and willow trees. The area wasn't as warm then as today, but not as cold as the height of the ice age. Humans coexisted with mammoths back then, clearly not driving them to extinction at that time. Later, during the iciest part of the ice age 20, to 25, years ago, the "Last Glacial Maximum," northern woolly mammoth populations declined, likely because the area became too barren to be hospitable.
However, during that time, the giants became abundant in the warmer interior parts of Siberia. Northern mammoth populations grew after the Last Glacial Maximum, but then dipped again during the Younger Dryas period about 12, years ago. Although Down And Out - The Wylde Mammoths - Things That Matter is controversy as to what happened at that time, "there was certainly a very Down And Out - The Wylde Mammoths - Things That Matter and profound cooling of many regions then, followed by rapid warming," MacDonald said.
Absolutely not. They were still present in far northern sites at the end of the Younger Dryas. Right now it's not quite definitive how great an impact the Younger Dryas had. The last mammoths seen on the continents were concentrated in the north. They apparently disappeared about 10, years ago as the climate warmed and peatlands, wet tundra and Down And Out - The Wylde Mammoths - Things That Matter forests developed, environments to which mammoths were poorly suited.
The long-lasting proximity between mammoths and humans suggested that our species was perhaps a factor in the beasts' decline, possibly killing off the final island populations of woolly mammoths that went extinct 3, years ago. These findings regarding mammoths could shed light on what species today might face in the future. Species today are facing the same sorts of challenges the mammoths did, but the rate of those changes today are much greater than what mammoths faced.
Future research can focus on other animals once plentiful across Beringia, such as horse and bison. The scientists detailed their findings online June 12 in the journal Nature Communications. Follow LiveScience on Twitter livescience. Live Science. Woolly mammoths wandered the planet for aboutyears and vanished from Siberia by about 10, years ago.
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