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Mammoth Disappearance

23 October 2021

At https://phys.org/news/2021-10-humans-woolly-mammoths-extinctclimate.html … humans have long been one of the mainstream's explanations for the disappearance of the mammoths, and the various other large fauna species around the world. Humans hunting. How people armed solely with spears and bows and arrows were able to kill off large herds of oversized herbivores, together with major carnivores for afters, has long been a mystery. This had not deterred those that blame early humans for the extinction as to admit it is unlikely as the moon being made of cheese would open the floodgates – to all kinds of unpopular ideas, incompatible with uniformitarian thinking. More recently, the blame has shifted to climate change, which also has a uniformitarian ring to it. Another point of view to stiffen the alarmist hyperbole in the modern world. However, the elephant in the room remains – what was the vector that caused sudden and rapid climate change on several occasions in the Late Pleistocene.

In the new study at the link above we are told mammoths were on the menu of Palaeolithic people and the Neanderthals, and this led to diminishing numbers. No, the diminishing numbers came about by successive rapid climate change events. Not because the few humans around had a bigger appetite. What they discovered, by looking at the DNA of the herbivores, as found in sediments, was that mammoths appeared to have survived into the Holocene, but on a reduced scale. They next say the diminished numbers involved were due to a sudden switch in climate, to cool and wet, and vegetation change. Instead of a herb rich grassland, or steppe environment, in Siberia and Alaska, it changed to a boreal forest, and herbs not favoured by mammoths. However, modern elephants eat tree branches and leaves, so this is somewhat surprising. Are they making it up? No doubt, the 'humans did it' group will be back in a month or so to deny the climate change explanation. Or maybe not.

Soil samples were collected over a 20 year period, so this is long term research. What is now the arctic zone was once a thriving plant rich landscape in which huge herds of animals lived and found sustenance. Professor Eske Willerslev said 'we have finally been able to prove that it was not just the climate changing that was the problem, but the speed of it that was the final nail in the coffin. They were not able to adapt quickly enough when the landscape dramatically transformed and their food became scarce.' The steppe zone was replaced by wetland plants and boreal trees etc, even tundra in the far north. In spite of that the mammoths and other herbivores did survive into the Holocene, as relic populations – and not just on Wrangel Island. These groups gradually became smaller and smaller until they disappeared altogether. See www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04016-x

At https://phys.org/news/2021-10-dinosaur-era-crab-fully-amber.html … fossils from a much earlier catastrophic event now include a crab trapped in amber [tree resin]. The preservation is stunning, we are told, and includes soft tissue and delicate parts. The crab is said to superficially resemble some shore crabs which still live in the modern world. Note the use of superficial, as it looks like modern crabs but on the evolutionary scale, crabs had not evolved to live in marine environments 100 million years ago. Is theory dictating fact? The authors go on to ponder how it could have been trapped in amber and do somersaults to explain this by hopefully suggesting the first crabs may have lived in trees – even though the example in question had gills and was adapted to water. In the end, they compromised. It must have been a freshwater crab that had climbed a tree on a river bank. However, if the tree and crab had been swept up in a tsunami wave, causing an outflow of tree resin as trees were tossed and broken in a watery catastrophic event, one might be getting closer to the explanation that seems more likely. Subsequently, the trees, amber, and fossil animals caught in the amber, were buried – in a heap.

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