Scientists reveal man's role in demise of woolly mammoth
Climate change and the impact of hunting by humans caused the extinction of the endangered animal.1 April 2008
MADRID - Climate change and the impact of hunting by humans caused the extinction of the woolly mammoth, a team of Spanish scientists has revealed.
As part of a report published in the latest edition of Public Library of Science (PLoS Biology), scientists David Nogues-Bravo, Jesús Rodríguez Méndez and Joaquín Hortal have reached new conclusions about the extinction of the animal, based on the distribution of fossils found and models of the climate 126,000 years ago.
The team has concluded that the primary cause of the woolly mammoth's extinction was a rise in temperatures, which caused them to lose their habitat. Increased hunting by homo-sapiens served to finish off the species.
According to the scientists, studies such as this allow more accurate predictions of the current climate change being experienced throughout the planet.
In order to reach these conclusions, the scientists examined the climatic conditions of several time periods - 126,000, 42,000, 30,000, 21,000 and 6,000 years ago.
The results revealed that 6,000 years ago the woolly mammoth had just 10 percent of the habitat it had enjoyed 42,000 years ago, when the glaciers were at their biggest.
[Copyright El Pais / Malan Ruiz de Elvira 2008]