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Study Suggests Weather and Not Hunting Killed Off Wooly Mammoths 150

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mother-nature-wants-you-to-die dept.
Big Hairy Ian writes, quoting the BBC: "A DNA analysis shows that the number of creatures began to decrease much earlier than previously thought as the world's climate changed. It also shows that there was a distinct population of mammoth in Europe that died out around 30,000 years ago. ... Dr Dalen worked with researchers in London to analyse DNA samples from 300 specimens from woolly mammoths collected by themselves and other groups in earlier studies ... [The researchers] speculate that it was so cold that the grass on which they fed became scarce. The decline was spurred on as the Ice Age ended, possibly because the grassland on which the creatures thrived was replaced by forests in the south and tundra in the north."
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Study Suggests Weather and Not Hunting Killed Off Wooly Mammoths

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  • Mammoth burgers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby AT comcast DOT net> on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @10:11AM (#44819399)

    Look, who's the bigger villain, humans with their penchant for turning anything that moves or doesn't move into a ___burger or climate change that is the current boogeyman?

    Who knows? Let's face it, any number of factors from volcanoes to natural predators to climate change to caveman barbeques all likely shared guilt. The world isn't black and white and people need to stop thinking of everything as having a singular one dimensional true answer.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @10:19AM (#44819499)
    Good parody up until the last line. I don't think anyone who actually uses "Scientists are always changing their minds" are confused about anything ever. It takes like a microsecond for cognitive dissonance to kick in. Have you ever confronted someone with data that runs contrary to their established worldview? Usually not even a flicker of doubt crosses their face. Any "deep in thought" processes that go on are searching for a reason to throw out the new, unwelcome bit of data rather than considering it.

    It's not specific to climate change deniers or conservatives obviously. I had a similar reaction last night to a deeply catholic friend's saying that natural family planning was the most effective form of birth control. I caught myself immediately going to wiki, which backed up his statement, and then I immediately decided no, they were both definitely wrong, I just needed to dig deeper to establish the truth, that NPF was a catholic conspiracy to make more catholic babies. So, we all suffer from it, or at least I do and so do other closed minded idiots. Don't try to prove me wrong on this point!
  • by Misagon (1135) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:32AM (#44820343)

    Mammoth-type animals have actually appeared and gone extinct not once, but at about once every ice-age cycle.
    That blew my mind when I heard it the first time.

    That the last type the mammoths would have gone extinct because of climate change does not seem very far-fetched then, now does it.

  • by PRMan (959735) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:14PM (#44820771)

    Funny that you think the scientific method was used in relation to explaining ice ages and global warming/cooling... Historical sciences are guesses at best and typically have very little to do with the scientific method. This is why they are overturned often and in massive ways. The "faith" that people have put into global warming based on only history and computer models is staggering. And the zeal with which they have attacked anyone who disagrees smacks of burning people at the stake for believing in a round earth. It's closer to politics or religion than science, because a true scientist doesn't care if other people agree with his "side". In a true science, the facts will do that for them.

    Of course, now we know that instead of their being no ice in 2013 (as predicted), there is actually so much ice that 20 ships are trapped in the arctic and most of the shipping lines are completely blocked. On the past 2 seasons of Deadliest Catch, they had to go home and take a break for a few weeks because the entire sea was full of ice, the most in 30-40 years.

    This stuff is way more complicated than most people think and we are in the early stages of understanding it. To treat anyone as an idiot for having a difference of opinion at this early stage is just mind-blowing. And as for "unprecedented rate of change of temperature"? I don't think .5 degrees over 100 years is that big of a deal, especially when I question the accuracy being good enough to catch half a degree 100 years ago.

    Climate changes. With or without man. We see a "fertile crescent" in Iraq that now looks like a massive desert (because they cut down all the trees). We see a California which was a desert which is now Mediterranean (because of man planting lots of trees). We see flash frozen mammoths (and don't know why). We know the earth has recovered from an ice age in the past, so it's pretty darn resilient.

    The bottom line is you are right. We should do our best to keep learning because we really don't understand this stuff yet. But vilifying people that disagree and trying to stifle their funding and ruin their careers hampers that effort significantly. And that's what the GP was lamenting.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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