The Late Extinction of the Pribiloff Island Mammoths

The Pribiloff Islands are located above the Arctic Circle between Russia and Alaska.  Some are owned by the former and a few are American owned.  Russia owns Wrangel Island, the largest of the Pribiloffs, encompassing 2900 square miles of dry land.

Map of Pribiloff Islands located between Siberia and Alaska above the Arctic Circle.

Despite its location above the Arctic Circle, Wrangel Island is home to a diverse flora and fauna.  Most of the Pleistocene fossils were found in the rivers.

During the last Ice Age a landbridge known as Beringia connected Asia with North America.  Sea level rose following the end of the Ice Age, isolating the Pribiloff Islands from the rest of the mainlands.  Although the growing season averages 25 days, Wrangel Island hosts a remarkable diversity of plant species and communities.  There are 449 species of vascular plants, 330 species of moss, and over 300 species of lichen.  This is roughly double the number of species found on the mainland of Alaska.  Many of these unique species are found nowhere else in the world.  The high number of endemic species is evidence Wrangel Island was never glaciated.  Glaciers wipe out all plant species from any location they expand over.  Steppe grasses, dwarf willows, and low growing saxifragas cover much of the island.  Common plant communities include meadow grass-low shrub, sedge and rush marshes, steppe sedges similar to those found in Mongolia, willow shrub and xeric herb, and rocky saxifragas zones.  Amazingly, several species of endemic poppy flowers grow in the low meadow communities.

Arthropod diversity is also higher on the island than the nearby mainlands.  There are 31 species of spiders, 58 species of beetles, and 42 species of butterflies; again roughly double to what’s found on mainland Alaska.    But unlike in Alaska (and the Apure River–the subject of last week’s blog entry) there is not a single species of mosquito.

Wrangel Island has been a protected nature reserve since 1976.  Over 80,000 walruses live on this island–the largest population of walruses in the world.  Ringed seals and bearded seals also live on the island and gray whales feed offshore.  The concentration of pinnipeds and the occasional whale carcass attract hundreds of polar bears.  Caribou and musk-oxen have been re-introduced,  and wolves and wolverines roam the island.  Arctic foxes and snowy owls prey on lemmings.

Polar bears on Wrangel Island.

Arctic foxes and snowy owls control lemming numbers.  Thousands of empty and half-full fuel barrels litter Wrangel island from failed attempts at human settlement.  Some naturalists want these barrels removed, but I think there is a beauty in forlorn evidence of  abandoned human habitation.

Snow geese are year round residents while Brant geese nest on the island during summer.  Hundreds of thousands of sea birds, including thick-billed guillemots, kittiwakes, several species of sea gulls, and gray plovers nest on the island.  Arctic and peregrine falcons prey on the sea birds.  Lapland longspurs and arctic willow warblers are common inland birds.

Wrangel Island is famous for being the last known place on earth where woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) lived.  S.L Vartanyan shocked the scientific community in 1995 when his radio-carbon dates on mammoth tusks found in the Neozhydomaya River were found to be just 4000 calender years old.  This is 9,000 years later than the most recent woolly mammoth fossil found on the mainland, though recent studies of mammoth DNA in permafrost suggest mammoths still occurred in Alaska until about 10,500 years ago.  Wrangel island has been isolated from the mainland by sea level rise for approximately 10,000 years.  Apparently, this isolation protected the mammoths from human hunters for 6,000 years until Inuit hunters discovered the island and shortly thereafter rubbed out the world’s last mammoths along with the woolly rhinos (easternmost known occurrence), bison, musk-oxen, horses, and caribou that also lived on the island then.  All the large land herbivores disappeared from the island about 4000 years ago.  Not coincidentally, archaeological evidence of man has been found on the island dating to 3700 BP–roughly the same time all the large ungulates vanish from the fossil record.  No direct evidence of human hunting megafauna on Wrangel Island has been found, but I believe it can be safely assumed.

It didn’t take long for Inuit Indians to wipe out all the large land ungulates on Wrangel Island.

The late extinction of the woolly mammoth on Wrangel Island blows a big gaping hole in climate change models of  Pleistocene extinctions.  No discernible change in climate and plant composition occurred 4000 years ago.  However, man does show up in the archaeological record here at this time.  Proponents of climate change models of extinction in boreal regions believe the increase in precipitation at the end of the Ice Age changed the environment in this part of the world from dry grassy steppe to spruce forest and wet tundra.  Supposedly, these environments were unsuitable for grass-eating species such as woolly mammoths, woolly rhinos, bison, and horses.  However, these species survived the Sangamonian Interglacial which was an even warmer and wetter phase of climate than the one that allegedly caused the extinction of the above-mentioned species.  I doubt these species all of a sudden lost their ability to adapt to fluctuating climate. 

A recent study of woolly mammoth DNA determined that mammoth populations fluctuated with climate fluctuations, and the authors of the study concluded climate change caused the extinction of woolly mammoths.  This conclusion is an overreach–fluctuating populations does not equal extinction.  I’m sure there were refuges for grass-eating megafauna in boreal regions–none of the plants they ate ever became rare.  There seems to be a compromise consensus among many scientists who believe it was a combination of climate change and human hunting that caused the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna.  While it’s true that climate change may have affected the geographical distributions and populations of Pleistocene megafauna in a way that made them more vulnerable to human hunting, if man could have been theoretically removed from this equation, most, if not all, of these species would still exist on earth.  Therefore, man, not climate change, is the single cause of most end Pleistocene extinctions.

There is a misconception that the Wrangel Island mammoth was a dwarf species, but a Russian study determined they were full-sized woolly mammoths.  I don’t think this study has ever been translated into English, perhaps explaining the persistence of this misconception.  Scientists estimate Wrangel Island was big enough to host a population of 500-1000 mammoths.  Dwarf elephants are known to have occurred on Malta Island in the Mediterranean, and dwarf Columbian mammoths (Mammuthus colombi) lived on the Channel Islands off the coast of California.  There were dwarf woolly mammoths living on another Pribiloff Island.  St. Paul’s Island, property of the U.S., was also home to a late population of woolly mammoths,  They survived until 7500 BP.  However, sea level rise rather than human hunting doomed this population.  Sea level rise shrank the island to just 34 square miles which was not large enough to sustain a viable breeding population of mammoths.  The last mammoths on St. Paul showed evidence of starvation and were forced to eat lots of sea weed, a food that would normally have been just an occasional dietary supplement.

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28 Responses to “The Late Extinction of the Pribiloff Island Mammoths”

  1. jrobertsmith Says:

    When I read that recent bit of science blaming Mammoth extinctions of climate change rather than human predation, I immediately thought of the island mammoths who lived for so long in isolated spots (such as Wrangell). And you are right–this blows an enormous and unpatchable hole in such an argument.

    For some reason I cannot quite fathom, many people–and many scientists–don’t want to admit that humans were responsible for the vast extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. You can see it across the Earth as human migrated out of Africa. Where Homo sapiens sapiens expanded, the megafauna faded before his inexorable march.

    To me, the easiest way to see evidence of the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna (if the North American evidence isn’t quite sufficient enough) is to examine what happened in Australia when humans got there. The megafauna by and large was exterminated. Or, to see it on a geographically smaller scale, see what occurred with humans reached New Zealand.

    Humans did it. Proof otherwise has not been made.

  2. markgelbart Says:

    There is a strong bias in Europe for climate-change models of extinction. Recently, scientists there discovered that mammoths lived on Great Britain until 14,000 BP. They touted this as evidence that global warming was their cause of extinction. Before this discovery, mammoths were thought to have gone extinct there around 30,000 BP, and they touted this as evidence that global cooling caused the extinction of the mammoths there.No matter what evidence they find, they are quick to blame climate change.

    Actually, geographical differences in the timing of extinctions is evidence against climate change models. It means humans found those populations at different times.

  3. The Early Holocene Survival of Late Pleistocene Megafauna in the Americas | GeorgiaBeforePeople Says:

    […] Pribiloff Islands located between Siberia and Alaska until about 4000 calender years ago.  (See:https://markgelbart.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/the-late-extinction-of-the-pribiloff-island-mammoths/).  Another accepted exception are some of the fossils of dwarf ground sloths found on Carribean […]

  4. Steve Garcia Says:

    Inform yourself about “Dead Clade Walking”.

    Then read Grayson and Meltzer 2001 and 2002 on the Clovis-mammoth issue. The Overkill Theory is toast, even if Charles C. Martin doesn’t accept it yet.

    • markgelbart Says:

      Gary Haynes debunked Grayson and Meltzer shortly after they published their idiotic papers.

      Inform yourself, you ignorant jerk. There have been plenty of published scientific papers since 2002 that support the overkill theory.

      The overkill theory is not toast.

      It’s the only explanation that makes any sense.

      • markgelbart Says:

        Your reasoning is so stupid I find it very annoying.

        You wrote there are just 1 or 2 Paleo-Indian kill sites, yet you cite Grayson and Meltzer who admitted there were 14, though they unfairly eliminated or ignored or were unaware of the many others.

        Moreover, they never say how many sites it would take to convince them humans were responsible for megafauna extinction. What arbitrary number of sites would it take to convince them or you?

        You are guilty of ignoring my responses. You focus on the Clovis blitzkrieg model of extinction. But I wrote that I don’t agree with that model. I believe the time period that humans overhunted the megafauna was between 15,000 BP- ~7,000 BP…a protracted overkill scenario. This is supported by dung fungus studies used as a proxy for megafauna abundance. You have completely failed to address my point.

        I believe humans did overhunt megafauna to extinction, but that it took 8,000 years, not 800 years. They began overhunting the megafauna during the pre-clovis years. The presence of pre-clovis humans in North America supports this model.

        The reason there are no overkill sites in southeastern North America is because THERE IS ONLY 1 PLEISTOCENE FOSSIL SITE IN THE ENTIRE PIEDMONT REGION OF NORTH AMERICA. The soils are acidic here and bones dissolve and are not preserved.

        BTW, I’m sure Clovis didn’t care if they wasted mammoth meat, but I doubt they wasted much. Apparently, you have never heard of jerky (man, you are ignorant). Dried meat can last forever.

        Humans do eat elephants in Africa. (Another point of ignorance for you.) I’ve discussed this on other blog entries, but I believe the reason megafauna survived in Africa was because tropical diseases kept human populations low there. Despite being the original site of human evolution, large areas of Africa remained uninhabited until well into the 20th century.

        The Clovis people who lived in the southeast didn’t necessarily travel out west. Instead, they came into contact with other people who learned their technology and spread it to their neighbors thus explaining how Clovis spread geographically.

    • markgelbart Says:

      I even wrote an article about Gary Haynes most recent paper, if you would have bothered to search before revealing your ignorance. See this: https://markgelbart.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/gary-haynes-speculates-pleistocene-megafauna-populations-suffered-3-stages-of-shock-before-their-eventual-extinctions/

      • Steve Garcia Says:

        Would you STOP with the non-stop insults?

        Thanks for the info.

        So far, I am finding out that yours is not the only point of view on this.

        And the thing is: YOU KNOW IT IS NOT THE ONLY ONE.

        There are THREE competing explanations for the megafauna extinctions, and you know it. Quit trying to bully me into thinking that Haynes and Martin’s Overkill is the only one.

        If you want to discuss it rationally, fine. But stop with the verbal abuse.

      • Steve Garcia Says:

        In the link, “Nevertheless, in my opinion it is an unreasonable expectation to find such evidence.”

        THIS is exactly one of the arguments Grayson and Meltzer made in 2003 (in “A Requiem for North American Overkill”), about “not finding evidence” is in itself evidence. How exactly did they put it?…

        “The rarity of megafaunal kill sites is such an evident feature of the late Pleistocene archaeological and paleontological records of North America that Martin has had to address it. After all, other parts of the world—Late Pleistocene Europe, for example—are littered with sites that document human predation on large
        mammals…

        “…Martin has attempted to account for the virtual absence of kill sites in an extraordinary way. He argues that it all happened so fast that we should not expect to find empirical evidence of that process. That is, he has been forced to argue that “much evidence of killing or processing of the extinct fauna is not predicted” by his
        position. It is a rare hypothesis that predicts a lack of supporting evidence, but we have one here, and we have it only because evidence for it is, in fact, lacking.”

        You should know by now that the lack of evidence is not evidence FOR something. That would not fly in a court of law… “Your Honor, arguing on behalf of The People, because it is an unreasonable expectation to find such evidence indicating the guilt of the accused, we move that the court find in favor of The People, nevertheless.”

        WHAAAAA??????

      • markgelbart Says:

        There are entire regions of North America that have no or very few megafaunal remains dating to the Pleistocene at all. That is why it is unreasonable to expect the few that do exist to show evidence they were killed by humans. It just doesn’t make any sense.

        For example, over millions of years hundreds of thousands of mammoths lived in a certain region. Say the population averaged 25,000 per year. Of these, paleontologists have found the remains of fewer than 100. Why would anybody expect these few specimens to just happen to be members of the last population that were killed by people? This is an unreasonable expectation.

        BTW, I don’t agree with Martin’s blitzkrieg scenario. I believe a protracted overkill scenario makes the most sense. It took thousands of years for humans to wipe out the megafauna. The rapidity with which humans killed the megafauna has no bearing on why butchered megafauna are rare in the archaeological record.

      • markgelbart Says:

        I’m not bullying you into believing anything. I know about the other points of view regarding megafauna extinction.

        Climate change models of extinction don’t fit the evidence, and the comet impact hypothesis has been thoroughly debunked.

        I’ve been studying this controversy for 37 years. I have no patience for shmucks who tell me the most sensible explanation is “toast.”

      • Steve Garcia Says:

        I accept that the estimated numbers are what they are, ell and good. But with a dearth of evidence, one can’t reasonably point at THAT and then turn around and say that that lack is support for ANY hypothesis over any other. A lack is a weak for Overkill as it is for any other hypothesis.

        As to the impact hypothesis, they have a WEALTH of forensic (lab) results that support an impact at that time – evidence extending to four continents. At the same time, connecting the impact to the megafauna extinction is does not necessarily follow. It is a possibility, at this time, and no more. None of the researchers are doing anything in that direction yet, so, really, there is nothing to rebut or debunk.

        If you have followed that at all, you will know that since the first year, the research has not gone into looking into that connection, but in establishing the solidity of the forensics. The so-called debunkers have not done their homework, and the YDIH impact materials evidence still stands (and grows), and is winning over people slowly.

        As to the debunking of the impact scenario (not at all yet including the extinction), I see it as I see G Haynes’ “debunking” of Grayson and Metzler – that arguments were made against it, but those were successfully and fully rebutted. In spades.

        One irony is that one of the impact opponents is Metzler himself, plus Surovell, too. I am learning that Surovell is a code writer, a modeler. As such his mistakes in the field are understandable. Metzler opposes BOTH Overkill AND the impact scenario, which I find interesting, but I attempt no explanation. He is what he is, and I respect him. I find it interesting that I agree with him on one and disagree on the other.

        To me, the point in all of this is that with four explanations being proffered, it is all still completely up in the air. Every one of the four has advocates who think that theirs is correct. Of COURSE they do. But it will be quite a while before the dust really settles. Martin got a big head start, but as that will do, the details and failings and contradictions offer up opportunities for other ideas. After all, people all around are piecing things together, and when something doesn’t quite fit, it makes them look for alternate explanations.

        I also think the climate idea fails. To me, climate is a very weak explanation, since the megafauna had survived worse climates for many tens of thousands of years. Looking at the Greenland ice cores points directly at all of those. The YD onset was no different in the ice cores than any of dozens of other ups and downs. That argument is also used against the impact, I know. I have my own thoughts about what the signals in the ice cores mean, but they are so far not well developed and may fail in the end. And not being an academic and without funding, I can not go get my own evidence, so I am screwed there. But I am a retired mechanical design engineer who worked in R&D for a good while, so I understand a good bit of how to analyze and assemble evidence. (I am sometimes amazed at how WEAK some research is – and still gets published – when I can poke so many holes in the reasoning and assembling of the hypotheses.)

      • markgelbart Says:

        There is a great deal of evidence that supports the overkill hypothesis. As I wrote in my linked article above fungus spores used as a proxy for megafauna abundance do suggest a protracted pattern of overkill. Tusk growth rings in the latest populations of mastodons also suggest they were being overhunted into extinction.

        Then there are the kill sites themselves. There is direct evidence that humans hunted megafauna, despite the rarity of the fossil record.

        The comet impact hypothesis has been debunked. Advocates for it have tried to link it to megafauna extinction and the onset of the YD. You are just uninformed on both of these accounts.

        Scientists have been unable to duplicate most of the results comet impact advocates proposed as evidence of an impact. Very little of their work has been supported by independent researchers, and it is not gaining steam. It is a crank theory.

        I’ve been studying this topic for 37 years. Human overhunting is the only logical explanation for the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. Most paleoecologists do accept the idea that man played some role in megafauna extinction.

        BTW, Grayson and Meltzer are not paleoecologists. The former is an anthropologist. The other is an archaeologist. Neither knows anything about paleoecology.

      • Steve Garcia Says:

        “Since that argument was made, evidence that paleo-Indians killed giant ground sloths, camels, and horses has been found.”

        Sources?

        Even accepting that one or two Paleoindian kill sites exist, then we come to Grayson and Meltzer’s rarity point, like with the mammoths and mastodons. (And were those sites actually Clovis? Or pre-Clovis instead? Pre-Clovis and the extra time weakens the “Clovis did it in the pantry with a knife” argument considerably.) Finding 14 (out of their 76 or so claimed sites) of those doesn’t constitute Overkill, any more than it does if future researchers find 14 human-elk kill sites from our time. The mere existence of a few kill sites of other megafauna (which I’d like to see the written evidence of myself) doesn’t constitute Overkill, no matter how eager one is for supporting evidence.

        My original skepticism comes from N America being a damned big continent, added with Clovis not being very many. I’ve never seen anyone explain how so few can cover a continent of 24 million square kms and even FIND all the mammoths. If there were even a million Clovis, I’d think it inadequate. (And in their few/several hundred years, a million was impossible.) Add in that the Clovis hunterts might walk a km to one side or the other of a mammoth or group and not see them, and then have the mammoths swing back into an area they might have devoided of such animals. They could never “be sure” that the area behind them didn’t have mammoths they’d missed. They certainly can’t have swept and scoured the entire continent – especially in 700-800 years, whatever they had.

        I add into that the evidence I’ve seen that Clovis was more common in the SE USA (Stanford, for one), yet, outside of Florida, there is no evidence that Clovis killed mammoths or mastodons in the SE USA. And if Clovis didn’t kill mammoths where Clovis was most densely populated, three questions: Why isn’t there evidence? What ELSE did Clovis eat there? (Surovell, for one, addresses this.) If Clovis ate other animals there, why would Clovis go all the way out to NM and MT to get mammoth meat – when easier and vastly less dangerous game exists right in their back yard? And out west – or anywhere, really – mammoth is meat that they couldn’t possibly take back home, in the first place. You can only eat so much of mammoth without refrigeration without the meat going bad and wasting 95% of the animal.

        Add to that that elephants have co-existed with humans for as long as humans have existed, and yet elephants still are around. And – to me very pertinent – no one eats elephants in Africa of Asia. WHY would only humans in N America do so. There was plenty of other game in both places, yet only in NA were proboscideans eaten?

        There are so many reasons to argue that Overkill was a premature conclusion.

      • Steve Garcia Says:

        Outside of the first year or so of the YD impact hypothesis no one of their researchers has even discussed impact>extinction. That would have never been in the discussion at all – except that the YD onset was long known to have been the time of those extinctions.

        “The comet impact hypothesis has been debunked. Advocates for it have tried to link it to megafauna extinction and the onset of the YD. You are just uninformed on both of these accounts.”

        Wishful thinking.

        Please, name the debunkers. I know who the skeptics are, and very single one of their papers has been rebutted. A rebutted skeptical paper does not constitute debunking.

        A question for you: Have you ever read any of any of the papers? Original papers? Skeptical papers? Rebuttal papers? You and I both know that if you haven’t, then your claims of rebuttal are baseless and unscientific.

        I have been in indirect contact a few times with some of the impact researchers, and I can tell you, they shake their heads at how amateurish the skeptical efforts have been. The skeptics’ points were very easily rebutted, in good part because the skeptics’ work was pretty sloppy – not following protocols being a main failing.

        To my knowledge/memory, there is not one skeptic point that has not been fully rebutted.

        Which leaves the impact still on the table, in spite of your assertions that it is not. Though no specific work has been done to try to link impact to the extinctions per se. THAT is work for AFTER the impact itself has been shown to have occurred – and is premature at this time. First things first.

        On Alvarez’s K-T impact (I still call it that), no one has any direct evidence of Chicxulub killing any specific animals. It is all inferred. And yet, it is the current paradigm. Equally, even if accepted as real, there will probably never be direct evidence that a YD impactor killed any animals. That, too, would have to be inferred.

        It also took 10 years for that crater to be presented for vetting. And it was not an academic who discovered it. It was an oil industry geologist, who happened to know about the evidence and then eventually heard about Alvarez’s idea. We have not been 10 years since the YD impact event was proposed. It is also suggested that it was a smaller impact, and thus should probably be more difficult to find. Until such a crater is found, someone out there will point to the lack of one as proof that it never happened.

        Talking solely about the impact itself, it is based on a lot more forensic-type science (lab results) than Overkill is. A whole lot more. If I am wrong on how much lab results there are directly implicating Clovis man, please inform me.

        Can an impact be accepted contemporaneous with the extinctions and then it NOT be accepted as the cause of the extinctions? I don’t know. But it would be difficult to not consider it a smoking gun. It is increasingly accepted that the big extinctions of the distant past were impact-related. Researchers are currently specifically looking for evidence of impacts at those times. Thus, if ever accepted, the YD impact would be the odd man out. Is that realistic, that only the most recent mass extinction not caused by an impact? I don’t now, but I don’t think so.

      • markgelbart Says:

        I’m going to have to post these sources one at a time because you are too lazy to do a google search,.
        http://www.jstor.org/stable/40035323?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

        The Wally’s Beach site is evidence humans killed horses. Meltzer accepts this site incidentally.

        It’s not the only site, but my time is limited.

      • Steve Garcia Says:

        I am through with this discussion. You can’t write 2 sentences without insulting me. No one should have to put up with such abuse. No wonder no one comes to your blog.

      • markgelbart Says:

        This link is about evidence of camel and horse blood residue on stone tools found in Colorado.

        http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine/2009/02/camel-butchering-in-boulder-13000-years-ago/

      • markgelbart Says:

        There is evidence humans killed and ate a ground sloth.
        https://markgelbart.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/evidence-humans-butchered-a-jeffersons-ground-sloth-in-ohio-13700-years-ago/

      • markgelbart Says:

        There is evidence humans butchered glyptodonts, horses and llamas at the La Moderna site in Argentina.

        https://markgelbart.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/the-early-holocene-survival-of-late-pleistocene-megafauna-in-the-americas/

      • markgelbart Says:

        I’m cutting and pasting this to make sure you can find my response.

        Your reasoning is so stupid I find it very annoying.

        You wrote there are just 1 or 2 Paleo-Indian kill sites, yet you cite Grayson and Meltzer who admitted there were 14, though they unfairly eliminated or ignored or were unaware of the many others.

        Moreover, they never say how many sites it would take to convince them humans were responsible for megafauna extinction. What arbitrary number of sites would it take to convince them or you?

        You are guilty of ignoring my responses. You focus on the Clovis blitzkrieg model of extinction. But I wrote that I don’t agree with that model. I believe the time period that humans overhunted the megafauna was between 15,000 BP- ~7,000 BP…a protracted overkill scenario. This is supported by dung fungus studies used as a proxy for megafauna abundance. You have completely failed to address my point.

        I believe humans did overhunt megafauna to extinction, but that it took 8,000 years, not 800 years. They began overhunting the megafauna during the pre-clovis years. The presence of pre-clovis humans in North America supports this model. Incidentally, statistical models do show that even low levels of human hunting could have driven megafauna into extinction in about 2000 years. Humans didn’t have to kill every last individual to drive them into extinction. All they had to do was increase the mortality rate by a small percentage.

        The reason there are no overkill sites in southeastern North America is because THERE IS ONLY 1 PLEISTOCENE FOSSIL SITE IN THE ENTIRE PIEDMONT REGION OF NORTH AMERICA. The soils are acidic here and bones dissolve and are not preserved.

        BTW, I’m sure Clovis didn’t care if they wasted mammoth meat, but I doubt they wasted much. Apparently, you have never heard of jerky (man, you are ignorant). Dried meat can last forever.

        Humans do eat elephants in Africa. (Another point of ignorance for you.) I’ve discussed this on other blog entries, but I believe the reason megafauna survived in Africa was because tropical diseases kept human populations low there. Despite being the original site of human evolution, large areas of Africa remained uninhabited until well into the 20th century.

        The Clovis people who lived in the southeast didn’t necessarily travel out west. Instead, they came into contact with other people who learned their technology and spread it to their neighbors thus explaining how Clovis spread geographically.

      • markgelbart Says:

        I’ve probably read more about the YDIH than you have.

        Recently, YDIH proponents realized a single cometary airburst couldn’t explain the phenomena they were describing, so they now suggest that an object broke into many fragments before or when hitting the earth. This is where their hypothesis fall apart.

        According to Mark Boslaugh of Sandia National Laboratories (As quoted in the Mammoth Trumpet Magazine 29 (3) July 2014), “My own skepticism was based on what appears to be a complete lack of understanding of impact and airburst physics by the proponents, the lack of unambiguous evidence for an impact, and the extraordinary nature of the claim that invoked an exceedingly low probability combination of circumstances and events.”

        Boslaugh is an expert on fragmentation and airbursts. He believes the nature of the event and the properties of the impactor would preclude its breaking into the thousands of fragments necessary to account for the results claimed by YDIH proponents: the microproxy observations and the apparent population declines over most of the Northern Hemisphere at the beginning of the Younger Dryas.

        He concedes it could happen but that it would “pile another layer of improbability on an already improbable event.” He resists invoking extraordinary measures to rescue a theory.

        He says there is no reason “that multiple asteroids would impact the same geographic areas repeatedly over such a short period of time. There is no known orbital dynamical mechanism to support this, so it is tantamount to suggesting miraculous coincidence.”

      • markgelbart Says:

        You started it. You were never interested in having a discussion. You write your opinion, then ignore my response and bring up something else.

  5. Steve Garcia Says:

    You DID get it right that the Wrangle mammoths were not pygmies. Good.

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