Climate Change, Not Humans, Killed Mammoths

New tests suggest humans aren't to blame for extinction of prehistoric pachyderms
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2009 9:46 AM CDT
A Russian man examines bronze sculptures of mammoths in the Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiysk.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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(Newser) – British scientists believe climate change did more than spear-wielding humans to wipe out the woolly mammoth in Europe, the Guardian reports. New tests have revealed that the mammoths roamed northern Europe until 14,000 years ago, much later than had been thought. Researchers believe the animals died out as the warming post-Ice Age climate slowly turned the grasslands they thrived in into forests.

"We think our research shows that climatic change, particularly working through its effect on the vegetation, was largely responsible for the extinction," one scientist said. "It was certainly responsible for squeezing the range of this species right down." (Read more Mammoth stories.)