New evidence weakens case against climate in woolly mammoths’ death | Science News

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New evidence weakens case against climate in woolly mammoths’ death

Age of weaning suggests warming not responsible for megafauna extinction

3:50pm, October 16, 2015
mammoth tusks

YOUNG TUSKS  Juvenile Siberian woolly mammoth tusks (shown) reveal that, at the end of the Ice Age, the animals weaned young, suggesting that climate change wasn’t the main driver of extinction. 

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DALLAS The story of woolly mammoths’ demise could be written in their tusks.

Human hunters, not climate change, killed off the Ice Age mammals some 10,000 years ago, a new chemical analysis of youngsters’ tusks suggests.

If preliminary results hold up, they’ll “help convince more and more people that hunting was the main driver of extinction — or at least that climate change wasn’t,” said paleontologist Michael Cherney October 15 at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting.

Unsurprisingly, the findings have already drawn some skepticism. The mammoths’ extinction has sparked debate among scientists for decades, said Roger Wood, a paleontologist at Stockton University in Galloway, N.J. Still, Cherney tackled the question with a new approach, Wood said, and “it’s let him come to

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