Author Topic: The destruction of North America  (Read 5677 times)

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The destruction of North America
« on: 05/20/2007 01:01 PM »

There's a common theme that pops up here from time to time - the idea is that an object from space could hit the earth and destroy civilization.  It's usually met with yawns, since the last really big event of this type was 65 million years ago.  Right? Maybe not.

http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/archives/2007/05/diamonds_to_bla.html


Offline Radioheaded

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #1 on: 05/20/2007 01:09 PM »
Very interesting, thanks for the link bhankiii.
I know only enough to know that I don't know....

Offline pippin

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #2 on: 05/20/2007 01:16 PM »
Not plausible. Mammoth also eat Trees. Even partially burned ones would do. Gras needs 2 weeks to regrow.
Mammoth was killes by human hunters, as most other big, grazing animals outside Africa where they had time to adapt.

Offline dbhyslop

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #3 on: 05/20/2007 01:16 PM »
This is on pretty shaky ground.

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #4 on: 05/20/2007 08:55 PM »
Quote
dbhyslop - 20/5/2007  8:16 AM

This is on pretty shaky ground.

It's an entirely plausible scenario.  And there's that layer of diamonds to explain.  But, additional research is certainly required to prove or disprove it.  I'll withhold judgment until the evidence is all in.

Offline Mogster

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #5 on: 05/21/2007 12:00 PM »
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pippin - 20/5/2007  2:16 PM

Mammoth was killes by human hunters,

Unlikely.

There was a low density of humans in Northern Europe at the time, not enough to really affect the mammoth population. Ice age Northern Europe was a tough environment for early humans with temps down to -30. Few mammoth bones are found around Cro-Magnon settlements suggesting that hunting mammoth's didn't play a large part in stone age life. No doubt stone age hunters did pick off young, old or sick animals but a healthy adult mammoth would be a difficult dangerous target for stone age hunting bands. Killing a mammoth was probably an unusual even that was talked about round the campfire for years afterwards. Also its important to realise that mammoths and stone age man had co-existed for tens of thousands of years prior to their sudden extinction.

The reasons for the epidemic of extinction between 14000-9000bc among many large arctic tundra adapted animals remain a mystery. The best explanation is that they were unable to adapt to rapid climate changes and the disappearance of large areas of their arctic habitat that had covered much of the Northern hemisphere during the last ice age.

Offline pippin

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #6 on: 05/21/2007 12:29 PM »
They were not killed fast. Humanity improved it's hunting skills and we are talking about several 1.000 years! Also, human population grew dramatically over this time.

And it's not mammoth alone. Except for Elephants (which are used as domesticated animals) there is no wild-living species of large, grazing mammal left over anywhere outside africa. The whole Planet! And there where plenty before man arrived.

Climate may have had some influence, too, though.

Offline josh_simonson

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #7 on: 05/21/2007 07:49 PM »
By that reasoning, bison, elk, moose and bears should be extinct as well.  If the native americans were unable to exterminate the bison, it seems unreasonable to expect them to have exterminated all the other megafauna that was around during the last ice age.  

It is however quite likely that humans killed the last of them because there were a few isolated populations of them up until only a couple thousand years ago, such as pygmy mammoths.

Offline Mogster

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #8 on: 05/22/2007 10:52 AM »
I think the last mammoths died out about 3000bc, an isolated population on a Siberian island.

Large grazing animals exist in Africa still because there's a suitable habitat for them. There's no modern habitat comparable to the ice age conditions  that existed up to about 18000yrs ago across what's now Europe, Russia and the Ukraine where the Northern mega fauna used to exist.

Below the Scandinavian glaciers that extended down to about Smolensk there was what can only be described as a polar desert. The extensive high ice sheets caused constant desiccating northerly winds to blow clouds of glacial dust south across the arid plains that existed across much of Europe. Winter temps in this dry environment dropped to an average of -30. This was an extremely cold dry treeless desert world that has no modern parallel, but its to this environment that the Northern mega fauna was adapted.

When the climate changed and the glaciers retreated the Northern mega fauna struggled to adapt, for reasons that tbh we don't understand, and went extinct very rapidly. No doubt humans helped in a small way but climate change did the vast majority of the work. If humans hunted the Northern mega fauna to extinction then why didn't the same happen in Africa? Why routinely hunt huge dangerous animals like mammoths and whooly rhinos when there's large concentrations of smaller less dangerous animals about? The most compelling fact is that there's no archeological evidence that early humans hunted large prey often. Mostly they caught small prey like rabbits but a large part of their diet was veggie.

The human role in the extinction of the Northern mega fauna is a myth.

Offline oriolesfan61

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #9 on: 05/22/2007 11:08 AM »
I thought I'd seen on program on Discovery or The Learning Channel that while the technology to deflect an asteroid could be developed, a comet could not be deflected. As they said in the movie "Armageddon"--this would [help] justify the existance of NASA.

Offline Celeritas

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #10 on: 05/22/2007 11:57 AM »
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Mogster - 22/5/2007  6:52 AM

If humans hunted the Northern mega fauna to extinction then why didn't the same happen in Africa?

African mega fauna evolved alongside human beings over a few million years and, as man steadily became more dangerous, learned to be extremely wary of us, the emerging superpredator.  When humans left Africa, they encountered a whole range of species that had evolved blissfully unaware of the sophisticated, tool-using, pack-hunting humanbeing.

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Mogster - 22/5/2007  6:52 AM
The human role in the extinction of the Northern mega fauna is a myth.

To say that either climate change or the spread of mankind played merely a trivial role in the extinction of the northern megafauna is incorrect.  Both played substantial roles in their demise.  Unfortunately, you can never underestimate the destructiveness of mankind, even our dear, old atlatl-wielding ancestors.


Online Chris Bergin

RE: The destruction of North America
« Reply #11 on: 05/22/2007 02:12 PM »
Errr, what am I missing here? This has got nothing to do with space flight?

If I'm missing something, let me know, but I've got my finger over the delete button here ;)

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RE: The destruction of North America
« Reply #12 on: 05/22/2007 03:26 PM »
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Chris Bergin - 22/5/2007  9:12 AM

Errr, what am I missing here? This has got nothing to do with space flight?

If I'm missing something, let me know, but I've got my finger over the delete button here ;)

The original post comes under the heading "Why the space program is important."  

I'm not sure about the tangent on mammoths.


Offline kevin-rf

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Re: The destruction of North America
« Reply #13 on: 05/22/2007 03:59 PM »
I would vote on space related based on the fact they are talking about a possible previously unkown inpact event and the "possible" after effects.

It does highlight why the NEO search programs are so important. Has anyone compiled a good timeline/list of known large enviroment shaking impacts? There are a bunch...

Actually it would be very interesting to have a list of the large air bursts recorded each year by missile warning sats. Has the US ever declassified that list?
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Offline pippin

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RE: The destruction of North America
« Reply #14 on: 05/22/2007 09:47 PM »
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Chris Bergin - 22/5/2007  4:12 PM

Errr, what am I missing here? This has got nothing to do with space flight?

If I'm missing something, let me know, but I've got my finger over the delete button here ;)

Space related.
Shows what will happen is humans ever land on another inhabitated planet.
Or other intelligent, predatory species on earth.
;-)

Online Chris Bergin

RE: The destruction of North America
« Reply #15 on: 05/22/2007 10:05 PM »
Okey dokey. Saw Mammoths and thought "eh?" :) Thread stays.

Offline MKremer

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RE: The destruction of North America
« Reply #16 on: 05/22/2007 10:14 PM »
Mammoths and manned spaceflight... interesting combination. :)

Offline kevin-rf

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RE: The destruction of North America
« Reply #17 on: 05/23/2007 12:08 PM »
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MKremer - 22/5/2007  5:14 PM
Mammoths and manned spaceflight... interesting combination. :)

Especialy considering all the outrage the 'finally' release NASA NEO report (Which required an FOIA) has been generating.

There is a new Scientist Article criticizing it : http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn11901-nasa-analysis-of-asteroid-risk-deeply-flawed-critics-say.html

Along with a the B612 Foundation's iritation with it : http://www.b612foundation.org/press/press.html
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