DNA study suggests hunting did not kill off mammoth
Researchers have found evidence to suggest that climate change, rather than humans, was the main factor that drove the woolly mammoth to extinction.
A DNA analysis shows that the number of creatures began to decrease much earlier than previously thought as the world’s climate changed. It also shows that there was a distinct population of mammoth in Europe that died out around 30,000 years ago. The results have published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The view many researchers had about woolly mammoths is that they were a hardy, abundant species that thrived during their time on the planet. But according to the scientist who led the research, Dr Love Dalen of the Swedish Museum of Natural History, the study shifts that view. “The picture that seems to be emerging is that they were a fairly dynamic species that went through local extinctions, expansions and migrations. It is quite exciting that so much was going on,” he told BBC News. Dr Dalen worked with researchers in London to analyse DNA samples from 300 specimens from woolly mammoths collected by themselves and other groups in earlier studies The scientists were able to work out how many mammoths existed at any given time from the samples as well as tracing their migration patterns. They looked at the genetic diversity in their samples - the less diverse the lower the population (via BBC News - DNA study suggests hunting did not kill off mammoth)