Mastodons weren’t hunted to extinction, they simply froze to death

Not only does the study exonerate humans, it found that northern mastodons died out a full 65,000 years before their cousins to the south.

Mastodons weren’t hunted to extinction, they simply froze to death (Ice Age Now, Dec 10, 2014):

Mastodons died out in the Yukon and Alaska long before humans arrived on the scene, says a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“To think of scattered populations of Ice Age people with primitive technology driving huge animals to extinction, to me is almost silly,” said Grant Zazula, chief paleontologist for the Yukon Territory and the study’s lead author.

“It’s not human nature just to see everything in your path and want to kill it,” he said.

Instead, the researchers think the mastodons were most likely done in by the cold.

The mastodon’s time in what is now the Canadian North appears to have been brief, and occurred during a short-lived interglacial period when temperature and conditions would have been similar to today, says this article by Tristin Hopper.

“They migrated northward: ‘Let’s come up to Alaska and the Yukon on a vacation to see what it’s like,’ but then when conditions got cold again they were immediately wiped out,” said Mr. Zazula.

Mammoths, by contrast, which were much more successful in the frozen North, held on until 10,000 years ago.

Too bad we can’t ask the mastodons which they would prefer — global warming or global cooling.

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