Humans responsible for extinction of Ice Age mammals

22 January 2015

Locations of the examined Syrian archaeological sites where silicious scoria were found

Research involving the Institute's Dorian Fuller appears to suggest that human intervention contributed to the extinction of Ice Age mammals.

It has previously been suggested that woolly mammoths and other ice age giants may have died out following an asteroid or comet impact. 

In a study published recently in the Journal of Archaeological Science, Dorian and his collaborative partners from the University of California, Davis, the University of Aarhus and the University of Lyon have described their analysis of siliceous scoria, granules of porous material associated with melting, from four northern Syrian sites.  

They presented analyses on archaeological scoria droplets from pre-ceramic sites dating to the terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene of the Near East, and suggested that they derived from on-site fires, and not from an extraterrestrial impact. This led them to propose that human population growth, the modification of environments and the changing of foodwebs were in fact the catalysts for megafaunal extinctions.

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