back to article Canadian comet impact fingered for triggering prehistoric climate shift

Scientists have discovered new evidence that an extraplanetary body came down over Canada around 12,900 years ago, possibly triggering the death of the giant animals then roaming the North American continent, and starting a cooling spell that helped drive mankind towards agriculture and civilization. During the Younger Dryas …

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Paris Hilton

Why should several impacts hit the North American landmass at the same time?

Ancient astronauts?

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I figure it to be a preemptive strike against the Quebecois. Likely a plot hatched in England.

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I suppose it depends how close (in time,) they were to each other. If the objects came down within minutes of each other then they could've shared the same trajectory. That's not indicated by the article though and I have no idea how you'd measure the time of impact so precisely for events that far back in the past.

Ockham's razor says: coincidence.

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Anonymous Coward

Because no on likes Americans, they have a history of getting up your nose, but were probably a tasty snack for the aliens.

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Happy

No one likes the 'Americans' that get on the news or reality shows or the idiot tourists. We don't even like those people here.

There are a lot of fun, intelligent, courteous and only moderately violent Americans. You should try to get to know some. We outnumber the awful ones I assure you, we just aren't obnoxiously loud attention whores so we don't get noticed much by the rest of the planet who are too busy being appalled by the insanely vocal minority that get tossed in their faces.

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"I figure it to be a preemptive strike against the Quebecois. Likely a plot hatched in England." Rather, in Paris, out of jealousy. The Quebecois are, after all, more French than the French will ever be. Just ask a Quebecois.

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Facepalm

"Why should several impacts hit the North American landmass at the same time?"

Because there is a good chance that any large rock hitting the earths atmosphere can brake up. Giving a shotgun effect at ground level.

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Re: "Why should several impacts hit the North American landmass at the same time?"

Fair point but could it break up?

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Mushroom

Tidal forces beak up large comets as they pass close to the sun - creating a 'string of pearls'.

Such as the string that hit Jupiter a few years ago.

If spherules were a product, (our only evidence) then no 'ancient astronauts' could have survived the impact.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/mushroom_32.png

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"There are a lot of fun, intelligent, courteous and only moderately violent Americans. You should try to get to know some."

'Specially the Walmartois.

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Coat

Pre-emptive strike?

Didn't you know that Cannuks are Satan's army?

Its true. I saw it in the South Park movie. You know, the one where 'Blame Canada!' almost won an Oscar?

This is nothing more than proof of the epic battle between good and evil, one which lead to the great flood.

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Alien

Tidal forces beak up large comets as they pass close to the sun - creating a 'string of pearls'.

Now that's one deadly 'Pearl Necklace'

-Just saying

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Mushroom

Nuke 'em from orbit ....

.... it's the only way to be sure.

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Happy

Re: Pre-emptive strike?

Indeed, Canadians are dangerous and beguiling. They lure you in with kindness then smother you with export controlled maple syrup while you sleep. The Québécois aren't Canadians though. They are Québécois, they don't even endorse the Canadian Constitution. They do endorse maple syrup though.

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FAIL

There are no ancent astronauts

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Yes, I would agree. There's no such thing as ancent astronauts. Matter of fact, no such thing as ancent anything.

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Trollface

Re: Because no on likes Americans...

We Americans most definitely do *not* get up anyone's nose as we don't know where your noses have been.

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That's nice then

So it was a total coincidence that soon after nice friendly eco-aware native Americans arrived on the continent all the big slow defenseless meaty animals suddenly disappeared?

Looks like we will have to rename "head smashed in buffalo jump" heritage site to "caring for the poor endangered species impacted by climate change buffalo jump"

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Joke

Re: That's nice then

I'm afraid you're a bit off on your dates. Everything was created no more than ~5,700 years ago and the animals were put here to be eaten. That's why god made them so slow, and tasty.

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Re: That's nice then

5774, as of Wednesday evening, actually.

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/rosh-hashanah-a-fresh-start-for-the-new-year-1.6000139

l'shanah tovah . . .

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Re: That's nice then

Actually, 6,017 years ago - October 23rd 4004 BC, as any ful kno

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Re: That's nice then

Interesting to see the effect of the meteor lasted for a thousand years*. I'm not saying that an impact couldn’t have pushed the climate over the edge but as the extinctions started long before this event I think Occam's razor should apply: the simplest solution is normally the answer: man with weapons of wood stone, and more importantly fire!

*volcanoes can pump a lot or sulphur aerosols into the high atmosphere causing cooling that last a few years but a couple of dozen meteorites the size that created the Corossal crater made of sulphur wouldn’t provide enough to match Mt Pinatubo in 1991.

Mind you it is foggy outside...

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Alien

Re: That's nice then

I've always wondered why people want to blame a small number of new arrivals to the American continent of wiping out larger life such as mamoths etc but where there are populations settled for many years such as Africa and India the Elephants etc survive.

OK they must have had an impact but Neandrothals plus Homo Sapiens failed over thousands of years to wipe out the larger animals in Europe.....

just Saying........

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Re: That's nice then

You can see the effects across the globe. The earliest settled human communities had already appeared in the middle east at this time, but around this date they're abandoned and settled communities and agriculture take about 2,000 years to reappear.

If the effect is powerful enough to guarantee crop failures for the first, small scale settled human communities half a world away, and force them to return to hunter-gathering , I suspect that the effects on vegetation in North America would have been quite sufficient to cause mass starvation for plant-eating megafauna and consequently the meat eaters which preyed on them.

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Re: That's nice then

Humans in Europe & Africa evolved around the animals that they hunted. This allowed for the various species to gradually adapt over time. This was not the case in North America. Essentially humans had the same affect as any invasive species. There are countless examples in modern times that show how dramatictly an introduced species can impact the indingenous life forms. When humans crossed the Bering ice bridge some 15-20,000 years ago, the indigenous animals of North America were ill preparred to face this new apex predator.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's nice then

I once came up with my own take on relativity.

Predicted same results as GR apart from speed of light decreasing (relative to the past) with passage of time also decreasing (relative to the past) which kept c constant. This strangely predicted the age of the universe as around 6000 years, as measured by the current passage of time. The universe was also a lot smaller than it appears, and red-shifts had an alternative explanation.

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Re: That's nice then

Google "aurochs".

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Re: That's nice then

Possibly because elephants are hard to kill and not great to eat and when used were for transport or for heavy lifting, while the people ate things that were more easy to kill or could be controlled and bred, like cows.

If the European settlers had rode buffalo and ate horses, then maybe the buffalo would have lasted, but as there were

a) lots of buffalo

b) they made good eating

c) they could be killed on mass

d) they couldn’t be farmed like cows and chickens

e) there was bugger all else to eat

it pretty much ended them.

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Pint

Re: That's nice then

"I've always wondered why people want to blame a small number of new arrivals to the American continent ..."

It's obvious, they weren't just the first Americans, they were also the first Canadians. Canada's fault once more.

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So what can we do to attract more comets?

Another big impact like that would be nice. Australia is hot as fuck and I could do with it averaging five degrees cooler around here.

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Happy

Re: So what can we do to attract more comets?

So link this to global warming and NASA's idea of capturing a rock and parking it in orbit - I see a plan :-)

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Devil

Re: So what can we do to attract more comets?

You have to put cunningly made comet fodder imitations into low-earth orbit. That should make them notice.

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"...an extraplanetary body came down over Canada around 12,900 years ago, possibly trigging the death of the giant animals then roaming the North American continent and starting a cooling spell that helped drive mankind towards agriculture and civilization."

Hmm, a giant alien body wandering North America. Cthulhu?

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Coat

Or just a fifth elephant?

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>Hmm, a giant alien body wandering North America. Cthulhu?

Oprah.

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Puns like that give me the Willis.

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LOL, I also read that initially as if there were a comma after "animals."

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Mushroom

"It definitely came down in Quebec,"

That'll explain the attitude then.

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Happy

"Corossal crater"

Names by Kim Jong Ill?

*rone-ry, so very rone-ry..."

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Remnants

You can actually see remnants of the meteor almost any time. Basically old rocks that don't really have much present value. We call them "senators". They're kept in Ottawa.

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Happy

"roaming the North American continent" "giant sloth"

Ever been to Maclaine, Texas?

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more info please

If you are curious like me you wanted to see pictures of this thing

http://ottawa-rasc.ca/wiki/index.php?title=Odale_Articles_Corossol

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Re: more info please

So, the crater is somewhere between 443 million and 12,900 years old. That is one heck of an error margin.

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Yes there is at least one major impact crater in Quebec. It's about 250 km's NW of Sept Isles. Called Lac Manicouagan. A large island in the middle of the Lake is the result of the impact and upheaval. (rebound effect) Now used as a storage reservoir for a Hydro power project.

I'm surprised that someone ( a professor no less ) is just learning about this. Almost anyone who was in a Canadian school in the late 1940's and early 1950's would have learned this in Canadian Geography class. I did in Grade 6 as I recall. More recent info suggests it was made by an asteroid that was about 5 km. wide (3.1 miles) (See Wikipedia) How long ago it hit? No idea.

I also wonder if James Bay; being a nice circular bay; isn't also an impact crater.

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Anonymous Coward

I always suspected Hudson Bay to have been an oblique hit and James Bay a result of the part of the same asteroid that broke up before impact. The Gulf of Mexico looks even more like a crater than anything else.

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Literal

That should be "climatic" not "climactic", surely?

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Joke

Re: Literal

Some geologists get really excited by this stuff you know - 'geology rocks' after all...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Literal

They have to get their rocks off somehow...

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Re: Literal

obligatory xkcd

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Mushroom

AND river mouth civilizations.

river-mouth civilizations...

and you know what comes out of rivers these days. (well, nothing much anymore for a lot of them but that's beside the point)

If i have this timeline correct: comet makes (minnie) ice-age, forcing new food chain..

ice-age lowers water levels + farming expodes in (exposed) deltas.

ice melts 1000 yrs later drowning (proto. HA!) civilizations

river valley nonsense well underway 5000 yrs later

around 1400 first global pandemics release European exploration-craze.

(china's junking around,+ puritan (hello cromwell. what else did you do?) settlements, eventually.

cute. Today's little globalization effort is a economic and not cultural rationalization?

and tin-foil hats block signals, making them illegal?

? so where are the ufo's?

drat, i was doing so well there for a moment....

pat

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