Ice Age: New Findings & Theories

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Ice Age Horses May Have Been Killed Off by Humans, Study Finds
Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News

May 1, 2006
Some 12,000 years ago, North American mammoths, ancient horses, and many other large mammals vanished within the short span of perhaps 400 years.

Scientists cannot be sure what killed them, but a new study suggests that humans aren't off the hook just yet.




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The large animals' disappearance at the end of the Pleistocene era (50,000 to 10,000 years ago) happened at about the same time that many large animals, or megafauna, went extinct around the globe.

Victims included species such as the saber-toothed cat and the diprotodon—a rhinolike beast that was the world's largest marsupial.

Now a new study of the fossil record fuels the debate about the cause of the creatures' fate.

In North America two major events occurred at about the same time as the megafaunal extinctions: The planet cooled, and early humans arrived from Asia to populate the continent.

For decades scientists have debated which of these factors was responsible for widespread megafaunal extinctions.

Was the climate change simply too much for the animals to withstand? Or did the ancient mammals succumb to human hunting pressure?

Many experts suggest a combination of these factors and perhaps others, such as disease.

"It's hard to see this as one of those things where a single piece of evidence will make it obvious what happened," said Scott Wing, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

"The phenomenon that people are trying to explain is not something that happened in one place at one time. It happened across the globe, at different times on different continents. I think that there are clearly multiple factors involved."

Humans Not Exonerated

Previous research had suggested that Alaska's caballoid horse species became extinct some 500 years before the first humans arrived.

Those dates would mean that overhunting could not have contributed to the extinction of Alaska's ancient horses—though humans could have contributed to the demise of North American mammoths, which stayed on the scene for perhaps another thousand years.




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But Andrew Solow, a geostatistician at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, and colleagues have published a statistical evaluation of the fossil record that suggests that humans shouldn't be exonerated just yet.

Their data, to be published in tomorrow's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal that horses did disappear before mammoths, though only by perhaps 200 years.

Their findings also suggest that both species may not have gone extinct until after human arrival—so human hunting may well have played a role in their demise.

"You can't just take the latest fossil remains [and assign their date] as the time of extinction," Solow said. "There's a sampling issue.

"We constructed a confidence region—that's the set of dates that you can't rule out with confidence as the extinction times."

Those dates suggested the possibility that both caballoid horses and mammoths survived well past the generally accepted arrival dates for humans.

The results don't identify the cause of the extinctions, and experts say a fossilized "smoking gun" seems unlikely.

"Even if a fossil told you that [species] survived past the arrival of humans, it's still the case that there was climate change going on as well as hunting pressure," Solow said.

"I think the notion that there was a single cause is probably not right. It's probably more complicated than that."

The Smithsonian's Wing believes that the complicated circumstances leave paleobiologists and others with their work cut out for them to determine just why so many of the world's large animals vanished.

"I think that leaves everyone with a big job to do to investigate new sites, date remains, date human occupations, and try to do the best that they can," he said.

"It may take a long time to accumulate enough evidence. But this is the kind of thing that has to happen."

Ice Age
Edit to amend title.
 

PeniG

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Okay, as stupid and misleading headlines go, that one's more annoying than amusing. And I'm afraid the reportage is of the sort that gives people an entirely wrong impression of the field.

Since we don't know when humans arrived in North America; since we don't understand the mechanisms of mass extinction; and since we don't have more than the vaguest notion of the timing of the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions - of course we can't rule humans out as a factor. But we can't exactly find ourselves guilty, either!

This sort of slow, incremental work to gather the data that will eventually make hypotheses such as Overkill testable (though in its original form Overkill has already been falsified and I wish people'd get over it) isn't dramatic, but it's very important, and I wish reporters would discuss that angle instead of pretending there's a revelation hidden in here somewhere. Actually I don't suppose the reporter wrote the headline, so maybe I shouldn't be too hard on him.

Okay, rant over; now to look at the bright side.

It encourages me that someone is focusing on horses, because from the point of view of understanding megafaunal extinction they are extremely interesting. Item: Horses evolved in North America. Item: When horses were reintroduced to North America in historic times, they succeeded very well indeed, establishing a large and viable feral popularion so fast it makes your head spin. Item: At the time of megafaunal extinction, mammoths went extinct in Eurasia and horses did not. Item: At the time of megafaunal extinction, the grassland habitat which horses love so well was (so far as current data indicates) expanding at the expense of less horse-friendly habitats like forest and tundra. Item: As megafauna go, horses are more comparable to more species than charismatic mondomegafauna like the mammoth and the ground sloth.

Put it all together and, if we can figure out what happened to horses, we've got a good chance of figuring out what happened to the others, too. Camelids are another interesting species - they went extinct only in North America, and an attempted historic reintroduction did not pan out.
 
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i guess i could have changed the headline, but it was NGs. they usually are more careful about these things. an interesting article and certainly food for thought (puts on nosebag).
 
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V. interesting. PeniG's reply took most of my rant...so, if you'll excuse me...me too (lazy)...hmm, perhaps other megafauna were lazy...damn, written my own extinction obit :lol:
 
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Ice Age remains found during A46 widening work
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-no ... e-11094111

A46 dig Ice Age artefacts along with Roman remains have been uncovered

Archaeological remains from the Ice Age have been uncovered by workmen widening the A46 in Nottinghamshire.

Flint tools dating back to 11,000BC were discovered at Farndon during work to turn the road into a dual carriageway.

The stretch from Newark to Widmerpool has already revealed a Roman road and fragments of Roman pottery.

More than 100 archaeologists have worked to ensure important remains have been properly recorded and recovered.

Geoff Bethel, A46 Highways Agency project manager, said: "As the A46 follows the route of the old Roman road, we expected to uncover a number of artefacts from Roman Britain and we were not disappointed; but to uncover such rare flint tools dating back to the end of the Ice Age was very exciting."

The Department for Transport is spending more than £340m improving the A46 between Newark and Widmerpool.

The 17-mile (28km) stretch is designed provide a new, fast link between the A1 and M1.
 
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Creswell Crags cave art site gets cash boost
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-12938363

Creswell Crags The caves are in cliffs which run for hundreds of metres along a gorge
y
Related Stories

* Caves on world heritage shortlist
* Bid to preserve prehistoric site
* Ice Age cave art site preserved

Ice Age cave art site Creswell Crags is to be given a £38,000 boost from Derbyshire County Council.

The prehistoric attraction on the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire has also been nominated as a World Heritage Site.

Creswell Crags, a series of limestone caves occupied between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, has produced numerous tools and unique rock art.

A site spokesman said the money will be used to help run its visitor centre.

The site is recognised as an important European place of cultural, archaeological and scientific interest.
 
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A ground-breaking new study on DNA recovered from a fossil of one of the earliest known Europeans - a man who lived 36,000 years ago in Kostenki, western Russia - has shown that the earliest European humans' genetic ancestry survived the Last Glacial Maximum: the peak point of the last ice age.

The study also uncovers a more accurate timescale for when humans and Neanderthals interbred, and finds evidence for an early contact between the European hunter-gatherers and those in the Middle East – who would later develop agriculture and disperse into Europe about 8,000 years ago, transforming the European gene pool.

Scientists now believe Eurasians separated into at least three populations earlier than 36,000 years ago: Western Eurasians, East Asians and a mystery third lineage, all of whose descendants would develop the unique features of most non-African peoples - but not before some interbreeding with Neanderthals took place. ...

http://phys.org/news/2014-11-ancient-dn ... nomes.html
 

hunck

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Oldest needle found in cave is 50,000 years old

The needle, crafted from the bone an an ancient bird, was made not by Homo sapiens or even Neanderthals , but by a long extinct species of humans called Denisovans, according to Russian experts.

It was found in Denisova Cave - after which the grouping was named - during annual summer excavations which have been in progress here for more than three decades.

Scientists "found the sewing implement - complete with a hole for thread - during the annual summer archaeological dig at an Altai Mountains

The cave - used by Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans - was used by early man for at least 288,000 years.
Can this be right or is it a misprint? There's a few others in the Mirror article.

In recent years it has provided a succession of revelations about our origins, notably a discovery by DNA analysis that our ancestors crossbred with both Neanderthals and Denisovans.

A bracelet found in the cave in 2008 is also seen as being made by Denisovans. It has been dated to around 40,000 years ago.

Scientists found that a hole had been drilled in part of the bracelet with such precision that it could only have been made with a high-rotation drill similar to those used today.
 

kamalktk

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"New evidence suggests human presence in a Yukon cave during the last ice age 24,000 years ago."


https://www.hakaimagazine.com/artic...ans-north-america-10000-years-earlier-thought
https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-short/archaeological-find-puts-humans-north-america-10000-years-earlier-thought
more at link above
---------------------------
The bones came from excavations led by archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars between 1977 and 1987 and have been in storage at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. At the time, Cinq-Mars and his team concluded that the Bluefish Caves showed evidence of occasional human use as much as 30,000 years ago. That is so much older than anything else found in the Americas that Cinq-Mars’s conclusions were widely disputed, and the three small caves were largely left out of discussions about the peopling of the Americas.

The idea of researching such a controversial site appealed to Bourgeon: “Alaska, Yukon, bone accumulations, caves, the first peopling. … That was it. That was the Spell of the Yukon!” she said by email.

Bourgeon sent six pieces of bone that showed evidence of stone-tool cuts to a lab in Oxford, England, for radiocarbon dating. The youngest, it turned out, was a 12,000-year-old caribou bone. The most ancient: the 24,000-year-old horse jaw bone.

The finding—published in the journal PLOS One—makes the Bluefish Caves the oldest known archaeological site in North America by a margin of almost 10,000 years—and confirms much of Cinq-Mars’s work.

Previously, the oldest accepted human occupations were at three sites in Alaska and one just over the border in Yukon, all dating to about 14,000 years ago.
 

maximus otter

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"New evidence suggests human presence in a Yukon cave during the last ice age 24,000 years ago."
A tiny, mischievous part of me would love the archaeologists to find human bones of obviously African origin that were contemporaneous with the worked bones. I'd just love to see all of the noisy, militant First Nations/Original People activists reduced to embarrassed toe-scuffling, tuneless whistling and "Look over there! A bunny!"-ing.

:rolleyes:

maximus otter
 
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Frozen Foal.

This is the first picture of an ancient foal dug out of the permafrost in the Batagai depression - also known as the ‘Mouth of Hell’ - in the Yakutia region of Siberia.

Head of the world famous Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, Semyon Grigoryev, said: ‘The foal was approximately three months old (when it died).

‘The unique find was made in the permafrost of Batagai depression. The foal was completely preserved by permafrost.

‘The extra value of the unique find is that we obtained samples of soil layers where it was preserved, which means we will be able to restore a picture of the foal’s environment.’



The Ice Age foal lived up to 40,000 years ago, it is understood.

It was buried at a level of around 30 metres in the tadpole-shaped depression, which is a ‘megaslump’ one kilometre long and around 800 metres wide.

‘We will report the exact time when it lived after studying the soil samples,’ said the scientist.

‘The foal has completely preserved dark-brown hair, its tail and mane, as well as all internal organs.

‘There are no visible wounds on its body.

‘This is the first find in the world find of a pre-historic horse of such a young age and with such an amazing level of preservation.’

https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/the-foal-that-came-in-from-the-cold-after-40000-years/
 

hunck

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Ice age wolf cub & caribou dug up in Yukon

Two mummified ice age mammals – a wolf pup and a caribou calf – were discovered by gold miners in the area in 2016 and unveiled on Thursday at a ceremony in Dawson in Yukon territory.

It is extremely rare for fur, skin and muscle tissues to be preserved in the fossil record, but all three are present on these specimens, which have been radiocarbon-dated to more than 50,000 years old.

The wolf pup is preserved in its entirety, including exceptional details of the head, tail, paws, skin and hair. The caribou calf is partially preserved, with head, torso and two front limbs intact.

“To our knowledge, this is the only mummified ice age wolf ever found in the world,” said Grant Zazula, a local palaeontologist working with the Yukon government

“Hopefully further research on this ‘pup-sicle’ might yield some ancient DNA” that could provide new information about the wolf populations that lived in the Yukon at this time. “For example, where did they come from, and how are they related to modern wolves?”


 
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