GENERICO.ruInterestingPeople are not to blame: scientists have found out why mammoths became extinct

People are not to blame: scientists have found out why mammoths became extinct

Hunger caused by climate change is a killer.

Mammoths are giant elephants. They lived on Earth for more than 5 million years until they completely disappeared about 4 thousand years ago. People ate their meat, built houses and tools from bones, and used their skin to make clothes and other things. So why did these giants disappear? It seems that scientists have found an exhaustive answer.

In one of the most widespread versions of the extinction of giant mamut, it is argued that the hunt of ancient people led to this. Our ancestors literally ate most of the animals. But recent studies say that this is not the case, and people have become far from the main reason for the extinction of mammoths. Hunger caused by climate change is a killer.

The starvation of majestic animals

It would seem that mammoths have existed for millions of years and have survived several ice ages. That is, climate change did not critically affect them. But as soon as they encountered people, they began to die out.

Finally, we were able to prove that the problem was not only climate change, but also the speed of these changes. This was the last nail in the coffin – mammoths could not adapt quickly enough when the landscape changed dramatically and food began to be scarce,
– says study author Eske Villerslev, professor at the University of Cambridge and director of the Center for Geogenetics of the Lundbeck Foundation at the University of Copenhagen.

A team led by Professor Willerslev sequenced the DNA of the remains of plants, animals and their fossilized excrement – coprolites. The selection of these samples lasted about 20 years and made it possible to fully understand why the majestic animals became extinct.

After the end of the last cold snap, the glaciers began to melt. The environment quickly became quite humid, which led to a chain change in flora. The habitats and pastures typical of the Mamut became more and more waterlogged and the vegetation changed accordingly. As a result, there is simply no food typical for animals.

The giants did not have time to adapt to rapid changes, so the total number of mammoths was constantly decreasing. Because of this, isolated and partially isolated animal populations arose, which already caused a low genetic diversity. It is clear that all this did not positively affect the chances of survival.

Scientists note that climate change is critical. When such changes destroyed the mammoths and probably another megafauna. Today, we live in a time when the average temperature on the planet is rising again, so this “harsh lesson” must be taken seriously.


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