The Economics of Extinction – Mammoths



Climate change is believed to be the chief caused of the extinction of the Ice Age Mammoths. Dale Guthrie, a researcher at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, has spent more than 20 years examining more than 600 bones of large mammals from Alaska and the Yukon Territory.

According to his analysis, climate change was the main reason the mammoths no longer walk the earth.

Guthrie’s findings shows us that increases in moisture and warmer temperatures 13,500 to 11,500 years ago allowed edible plants to migrate to the north. But the warmer climate backfired when it paved the way for trees, which eventually out-shaded and out-competed low-lying plants the animals depended on.

Should this be true, the big mammals were killed by trees. Experts estimate that the last mammoth died out 4,000 years ago.

Warmer climates may have led to the shrinking of the mammoth’s habitat by 90 percent. Besides that, warmer climates also opened up North America to humans that may be responsible for ensuring the extinction of the mammoths.

Charles Darwin summarised the demise of the mammoths best when he said, “it is not the strongest species that survives. but the one most adaptable to change.”

Source: National Geographic

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