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Sep 25 / Dave Schumaker

Supernova Responsible for Mammoth Disappearance?

A scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is presenting a new theory on why mammoths may have gone extinct nearly 13,000 years ago. Previous theories on their disappearance have revolved around climate change or human involvement. This new theory proposes that a supernova was responsible for the extinction. Now, a supernova may join the lineup. Firestone and West believe that debris from a supernova explosion coalesced into low-density, comet-like objects that wreaked havoc on the solar system long ago. One such comet may have hit North America 13,000 years ago, unleashing a cataclysmic event that killed off the vast majority of mammoths and many other large North American mammals. They found evidence of this impact layer at several archaeological sites throughout North America where Clovis hunting artifacts and human-butchered mammoths have been unearthed. It has long been established that human activity ceased at these sites about 13,000 years ago, which is roughly the same time that mammoths disappeared.

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