Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Study Suggests Weather and Not Hunting Killed Off Wooly Mammoths

Comments Filter:
  • Scientist keep changing their mind on things! It's big science that's supporting research that shows that AGW is not the root of all evil! Wait, no.... it's liberal academics who are polluting our childrens's minds with nonsense like wholly mammoths not being hunted to extinction by savage humans!

    I'm confused. Someone please point me to the right meme I'm supposed to employ against evil scientists here. Help me, Bill O'Reilly!

    • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:05AM (#44819289) Homepage Journal

      >> point me to the right meme I'm supposed to employ against evil scientists

      Try this: Those dumb scientists are blaming climate change for everything, including killing the Mammoths.

      • by dreamchaser (49529) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:08AM (#44819353) Homepage Journal

        >> point me to the right meme I'm supposed to employ against evil scientists

        Try this: Those dumb scientists are blaming climate change for everything, including killing the Mammoths.

        It was obviously all the SUV's that Cro Magnons were driving.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          My guess was....

          They were ALL on the Paleo/Primal diet thing...and found that wooly mammoth tasted really GOOD!!!!

          • "They were ALL on the Paleo/Primal diet thing..."

            Speaking of diet... TFA has me puzzled.

            Elephants -- close relatives of the mammoth -- are not grass grazers. They eat trees.

            A mammoth sure doesn't seem to be constructed in a way that is conducive to grazing.

            • by RockDoctor (15477)

              Elephants -- close relatives of the mammoth -- are not grass grazers. They eat trees.

              Not all elephants eat trees. In fact, not all elephants eat the same type of food all year round. They have behaviorial plasticity, and a relatively broad range of dietary possibilities. This helps them survive once-in-a-decade dry years (or wet years), which would occur in most elephant's lifetimes once between birth and sexual maturity.

              Also, as you say, elephants are "close relatives" of mammoths ; not identical twins. S

              • "A significant number of modern elephants get routine nutrition by pulling up grasses with their trunk, dusting off the soil against their feet, then eating it."

                Good point. I hadn't considered that. I was thinking only that their necks and heads do not appear to be conducive to grazing; I hadn't considered their trunks.

                • Not considering their trunks, when talking about elephants, is a pretty major omission. All that brain needs something to supply it with sensation and to demand it's attention. Not being a proboscidian biologist by trade, I don't know how much of an elephant's brain power goes to it's trunk ; but I bet it's a lot.
        • Actually, had our ancestors been driving all of those SUVs, the mammoths might still be with us---assuming they aren't too tasty.

        • >> point me to the right meme I'm supposed to employ against evil scientists

          Try this: Those dumb scientists are blaming climate change for everything, including killing the Mammoths.

          It was obviously all the SUV's that Cro Magnons were driving.

          I think we should be blaming the cooking process. You know how much wood you have to burn to cook a freaking Mammoth? Not only is that carelessly discharging green house gases, at the same time it is destroying the best carbon sequestration system ever... trees! And don't forget that the Mammoths themselves released massive amounts of green house gases with each thunderous fart!
          All of this could have been avoided if the species in question simply evolved a less tasty flavor profile!

          I have to go take my me

      • by PRMan (959735)
        I don't know. I thought the flash-frozen mammoths with their last meal still in their belly was a dead giveaway. (No pun intended.)
    • Weather kills all that lives there.
      • That's what caffeine is for. Ennnouuggghh vibbbrrrrattingg aaaannndd yooouuuu ccccaaannn staaayyyy wwwaarrrmmmm.

        Too bad Starbucks wasn't around then. A woolly on a 50 shot latte would be an entertaining sight.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:19AM (#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 dywolf (2673597)

      I thought they all peacefully coexisted and everyone ate plants, not each other?

  • "Don't worry about the mammoth numbers, I'm sure they'll adapt to the changing weather. Mammoths have been around a very long time you know."

  • Mammoth burgers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:11AM (#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 Anonymous Coward

      Being delicious to humans ensures your success as a species as long as humans exist.

      Chickens, cows, pigs... millions of 'em

      Tigers, lions, elephants? Not so much

      • by PhilHibbs (4537)

        Being delicious to humans ensures your success as a species as long as humans exist.

        It didn't help the Galapagos tortoises or the Passenger Pigeon.

        • by Piata (927858) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:52AM (#44819865)

          It didn't help the Galapagos tortoises or the Passenger Pigeon.

          Well obviously. They were not delicious.

          • by PhilHibbs (4537)

            The galapagos tortoises were indescribably delicious. They all got eaten on the way back to Britain, where they were being taken for the purpose of scientific study and preservation. Not sure about the PP, but it was hunted for food. Being delicious is only an evolutionary advantage if the species is also domesticable.

            • Re:Mammoth burgers (Score:4, Interesting)

              by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:23PM (#44820219) Homepage Journal

              From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:
              Captain James Colnett of the British Navy wrote of "the land tortoise which in whatever way it was dressed, was considered by all of us as the most delicious food we had ever tasted."[108] US Navy captain David Porter declared that, "after once tasting the Gallipagos tortoises, every other animal food fell off greatly in our estimation ... The meat of this animal is the easiest of digestion, and a quantity of it, exceeding that of any other food, can be eaten without experiencing the slightest of inconvenience."[81] Darwin was less enthusiastic about the meat, writing "the breast-plate roasted (as the Gauchos do "carne con cuero"), with the flesh on it, is very good; and the young tortoises make excellent soup; but otherwise the meat to my taste is indifferent."

              • If you look up what the Royal Navy typically ate in Darwin's day (rats, weevil infested everything else), Tortoise might well have been really high up on the delight list. Today, not so much.

        • No, it didn't. The OP was correct but incomplete: Being delicious to humans *and being able to be efficiently domesticated by humans* ensures your success as a species as long as humans exist.

          • by cellocgw (617879)

            Being delicious to humans *and being able to be efficiently domesticated by humans* ensures your success as a species as long as humans exist.

            Ok, let's see.
            Species: human
            Delicious to humans: check
            Efficiently domesticated by humans: check.

            I see a giant upside to this emerging market. excuse me while I assassinate my competition, Mr. Soy Lent.

      • by jabuzz (182671)

        Wrong, allowing your self to become domesticated is the key to genetic success. So for example horses which are not widely eaten are doing well. On the other hand zebra's which are virtually undomesticatable not so much.

      • Being delicious to humans ensures your success as a species as long as humans exist.

        Chickens, cows, pigs... millions of 'em

        Tigers, lions, elephants? Not so much

        People do eat elephants, you know.

        Tastes kind of like mammoth, I hear.

  • It was all them blasted cavemen with their fancy fires that caused it!

  • Have you seen the size of those things? They must have driven *HUGE* SUVs. No wonder climate change wiped them out.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:26AM (#44819583)

    Their insatiable drive for 24/7 dishwashers eliminated the mammoth's ability to reproduce.

  • Wasn't the BBC the one who said we'd be ice-free by 2013?

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      A BBC story reported that one croyologist said in late 2007 or early 2008 "At the rate it's going the Arctic could be ice free by 2013." In 2007 the Arctic sea ice extent minimum was 4,140,000 km^2, 22% or 1,190,000 km^2 less than the previous record low.so yes, at that rate it could have been gone by 2013. No one asked him if he thought that would actually happen though and most of his colleagues would have called it ridiculous. Latching on to that is really just a case of quote mining and ignoring the

  • Global Humidification

    Seriously, ever wear a sweater on a hot, humid day? It'll kill ya!

    or make you wish you was dead

  • by SoupGuru (723634) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:38AM (#44819715)

    Can we not contribute to the confusion between climate and weather, please? I mean, we're mostly technically literate people here and can appreciate the need to stick to agreed-upon definitions of words, right?

    Words have meaning.

  • The BBC News version is pretty damn confusing.

    ""The picture that seems to be emerging is that they were a fairly dynamic species that went through local extinctions, expansions and migrations. It is quite exciting that so much was going on," he told BBC News."

    The idea that they were a dynamic and occasionally migratory species, yet died out because they couldn't find GRASS seems a little odd. I mean, it's not like the last Ice Age ENTIRELY covered the planet with glaciers.

    "They found that the species nearl

  • by Misagon (1135) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @12:32PM (#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.

  • Global warming is the source of all problems according to the BBC. Our selfish behavior today can be directly linked back to killing the Wooly Mammoths 30,000 years ago, dontcha know.

  • I submit that populations dying out LONG ago have damn all to do with populations dying out NOT so long ago.

    Unless the newer ones tripped over the bones of the older ones and broke their necks.

    North America still had plenty of mammoths running around, healthy as clams, 4500, 3000, even 1500 years ago. The continent was warming up then, not chilling down.

  • Interestingly enough, I read an article about human lifespans and how it changed drastically about 30,000 years ago, giving us grandparents who were able to help spread knowledge across generations. Maybe if people were living twice as long, then humans were eating twice as many mammoths.

Help me, I'm a prisoner in a Fortune cookie file!

Working...