back to article Cavemen innocent in MAMMOTH MURDER case: DNA evidence

Boffins have claimed that the demise of the woolly mammoth was caused by climate change, offering up an alternate theory to the premise that its spot on the human menu was to blame for the species' extinction. British and Swedish researchers examined 300 mammoth carcasses from around the world and found that populations …

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  1. Anigel
    Flame

    Wow who would have thunk it

    Natural climate change became extinct during the industrial revolution and from then on it has all been Mann Made, however before that mass extinction, climate change happened naturally

    1. g e

      Seeing as everyone's getting bored of AGW

      Maybe it's a good time to start my Global Freezing Fear Quango and bilk some money out of Cameron

    2. Resound

      Just make sure you don't worry about things like the rate of change when you talk about these things. That might be awkward.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aha! But are they sure it wasn't "Man made climate change"

    1. AceRimmer

      I blame the Oggs in the next cave. They use TWO fires! One for warmth and a SEPARATE one for cooking.

      They keep bleating on about their magical wheeled sled as well. That thing will be a death trap the first time it sees a hill. At least with a sled you know where you are.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Did the Oggs have a national anthem?

        "Let 'em all go to hell, except cave 76."

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      No

      Because in the future we make time travel and thats how people start back then. However the tech causes lots of man made carbon, not the nice natural stuff. Some compare it to original sin but I say its apples and co2

  3. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    seems to me hunting is dangerous

    To me it never seemed likely that human hunting was responsible. It seems to be that modern prehistoric experts tend to take a to modern view of our ancestors.

    Yes prehistoric man had some useful hunting weaponry but like all top predators they surely would of only taken on a mammoth when the risks out weighed the rewards and taking down a 6 ton mammoth with spears and arrows would be pretty risky. Not only that they would only do it when other forms of food was not easily available.

    So I am pretty sure it would be a rare event and unlikely to have much effect on numbers. This idea of bands of people massacring herds of beats at will presumes a disconnect from their environment which surely was not as applicable as today.

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: seems to me hunting is dangerous

      It would have made more sense for them to take the baby Mammoths. Take enough and the population will start to dwindle and become unsustainable.

      At some point it become worthwhile to go after the adults too.

      1. Arctic fox
        WTF?

        @AceRimmer You are clearly unfamiliar with..............

        "It would have made more sense for them to take the baby Mammoths. Take enough and the population will start to dwindle and become unsustainable."

        ............with the reaction of modern day she-elephants to anyone threatening one of their calves. The safe option it most certainly wouldn't have been!

        1. AceRimmer

          Re: @AceRimmer You are clearly unfamiliar with..............

          Harass herd

          Separate calf from adults

          Kill calf

          Leg it

          Return once the angry mammoth mother has fucked off

          1. Uffish

            @AceRimmer - mamoth hunter

            You forgot one step in your list; add "Collect Darwin Award" just after "Harass herd"

            1. AceRimmer

              Re: @AceRimmer - mamoth hunter

              Try watching a bull fight (before they're banned), the matadors have a pretty high survival rate compared to the much bigger bulls

              And watch this:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qaj-UQ7HMw

              The harassment and hunt would take place over several hours until the herd is exhausted and make easy pickings. There is a reason why of all the Mammals we are one of the best adapted to long distance endurance running.

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: seems to me hunting is dangerous

        I never bought into the whole hunted to extinction thing either. Have you ever tried mammoth? It tastes like shit and it's really greasy. The first one eaten would have been the last, even for a primitive people.

    2. Chris Miller

      Re: seems to me hunting is dangerous

      I don't think (despite illustrations in books) that sticking stone-tipped spears into a mammoth was the way they were hunted. They were more likely stampeded over a cliff edge, as Red Indians Native Americans did with buffalo.

      Extinctions aren't necessarily the result of a single event,;climate change could have forced mammoths into a diminishing area, while simultaneously making their habitat more suitable for humans with sophisticated hunting techniques.

  4. Tom 13
    Joke

    It was still the caveman wat did it.

    All that wood he burned to heat to heat is drafty caves.

    I know it's true. Al Gore told me on the internets he invented.

  5. Rich 11 Silver badge

    "We are currently living in an interglacial period which has lasted since the the end of the Pleistocene Era, the era when modern humans started to use tools."

    Modern humans have always used tools, as have our ancestral (and related) species going back over three million years.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I believe that the term "modern humans" refers to something more in the line of this.

      As for using tools, the linked article clearly states that "Homo erectus and Homo ergaster were the first of the hominina 1.3 to 1.8 million years ago. It is believed that these species were the first to use fire and complex tools", so not three million years, just two.

      But hey, what's a million years between friends ?

  6. Hasham

    Why haven't we brought these buggers back yet?

    Mammoths are cool yo

  7. Stevie Silver badge

    Hah!

    Exoneration!

    More Mammoth Au Jus, anyone?

  8. fandom Silver badge

    Isn't it kind of counter intuitive? They thrived when there was little food and died off when it was abundant.

    Anyway, didn't elephants evolve from mammoths or are they only distant cousins?

    1. John H Woods

      fandom: "Isn't it kind of counter intuitive? They thrived when there was little food and died off when it was abundant."

      If a species that is adapted to survival when food is scarce, some evolutionary compromises (for instance, slower metablolism) could easily make it less competitive when food is more abundant.

      "Anyway, didn't elephants evolve from mammoths or are they only distant cousins?"

      I would say close cousins might be a better analogy, but wikipedia has what seems to be a reasonable family tree here.

    2. Don Jefe
      Joke

      Maybe they reacted to the abundance of food like Americans and Mexicans and ate until they could no longer function properly and/or died from heart disease.

  9. MondoMan
    Mushroom

    Tiny mammoths

    IIRC, the last small populations of mammoths in these island "refugia" were not only small in numbers, but smaller or "dwarf" in physical stature. Their smaller size would have helped in reducing feed requirements, and would have helped with the warmer climate as well. Being big helps reduce percentage heat loss as long as you are roughly spherical (like a mammoth), so being smaller helps you handle warmer temps, when you *want* to lose excess internal heat.

    Unfortunately, being smaller also makes you easier to kill by normal-sized human hunters...

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Tiny mammoths

      Have you just identified the "Spherical Mammoth"?

  10. SirDigalot
    Pint

    "As for using tools, the linked article clearly states that "Homo erectus and Homo ergaster ..."

    homo elregister?

    whooda thunk it a caveman el reg!

    i'll drink to that

  11. Martin Budden
    Stop

    Guilty!

    The last mammoths died out about 4000 years ago on Wrangel Island. Humans arrived on Wrangel Island about 4000 years ago. I know that temporal association doesn't prove causality, but really, do I need to state the bleeding obvious?!

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Guilty!

      a) Ahh, islands, natures most cunning defensive geography. Perfect for separating a resource from external danger with a variety of barriers to ingress.

      Or

      b) Ahh, islands, natures most cunning trap. Perfect for separating a resource from escape routes with a variety of barriers to egress.

      Choose (a) or (b) as your situation requires :)

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