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New York, Oct 26 (IANS)
Archaeologists have found new evidence that an extraterrestrial body crashed to Earth almost 13,000 years ago that caused the extinction of many large animals and a probable population decline in early humans.
The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, controversial from the time it was presented in 2007, proposes that an asteroid or comet hit the Earth about 12,800 years ago causing a period of extreme cooling that contributed to extinctions of more than 35 species of megafauna including giant sloths, sabre-tooth cats, mastodons and mammoths.
It also coincides with a serious decline in early human populations such as the Clovis culture and is believed to have caused massive wildfires that could have blocked sunlight, causing an "impact winter" near the end of the Pleistocene Epoch.
In a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, University of South Carolina archaeologist Christopher Moore and 16 colleagues present further evidence of a cosmic impact based on research done at White Pond near Elgin, South Carolina.
The study builds on similar findings of platinum spikes — an element associated with cosmic objects like asteroids or comets — in North America, Europe, western Asia and recently in Chile and South Africa.
"There have been numerous papers that have come out in the past couple of years with similar data from other sites that almost universally support the notion that there was an extraterrestrial impact or comet airburst that caused the Younger Dryas climate event," said Moore.