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Is Extinction Coming Our Way?
By Ernest Stewart
"The damage that climate change is causing and that will get worse if we fail to act goes beyond the hundreds of thousands of lives, homes and businesses lost, ecosystems destroyed, species driven to extinction, infrastructure smashed and people inconvenienced." ~~~ David Suzuki
According to a paper published Friday, new research shows that rapid warming killed many mammoths and other large beasts before humans even arrived on the scene.
The paper published Friday in Science Express combines DNA analysis of fossils with detailed paleo-climate data from ice and sediment cores. Lead author University of Adelaide Professor Alan Cooper found that extinction events "staggered through time" across the Northern Hemisphere coincided with short, rapid warming events.
"Temperatures increased 4C to 16C over just a few decades and lasted for hundreds to thousands of years, causing dramatic shifts in global rainfall and vegetation patterns," Dr. Cooper wrote.
Animals struggled to cope and dispersed or died out, disappearing from regions such as Europe and North America, or Alaska, and the Yukon in Northwest Canada.
These warming events occurred throughout the late Pleistocene, 60,000 to 12,000 years ago, before the climate settled down. Then humans arrived and made the "final hit." Man arrived late in North America some 30,000 years after man arrived in South America, according to the latest data.
"But it was climate change that had done all the damage, reduced the populations down to small sizes and in many cases wiped out the species from most of the planet, even before humans turned up," Professor Cooper said, speaking from Wyoming, at a fossil dig by and in Natural Trap Cave.
Cooper said, that rather than being "totally responsible for megafauna extinctions, humans had a 'synergistic role,' exacerbating the impacts of climate change.
"While humans are certainly having an impact when they turn up. What we suggest is they are disrupting the ways in which populations are connected, so that when a population in an area becomes extinct, due to the climate shifts, it's not possible for that population to be refounded by neighbouring populations, by individuals moving back into the vacant space," he said.
With 7 billion of us destroying nature, there's no place for animals to move that isn't already knee-deep in humans. While the Earth has heated up and cooled down without our help in the past, this time around, you can lay global warming right at our feet. With the dinosaurs no longer outnumbering us, like they did 50 years ago, I'm sure if we keep going the way we're going, we'll finally make them extinct! Trouble is, we'll make ourselves extinct at the same time too!
02-28-1942 ~ 07-25-2015
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05-15-1928 ~ 07-28-2015
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01-27-1937 ~ 07-20-2015
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(c) 2015 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for 13 years was the managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter.