Feeds

Mammoths, sabre-tooths MURDERED by second giant space boulder

First the dinos, then the mastodons ... then ...

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A 16-strong team of international boffins have added more evidence for the controversial theory that a gigantic asteroid smashed into the Earth 12,900 years ago and wiped out a range of furry mammals, including the mammoths.

The researchers found an ancient layer of thin, dark sediment buried at the bottom of Lake Cuitzeo in central Mexico that contains nano diamonds, impact spherules and other exotic materials that are only found after a cosmic impact.

The study shows that an asteroid that was probably bigger than several hundred metres in diameter and blasted through the atmosphere at a shallow angle, burning up biomass, melting surface rocks and causing major environmental disruption.

"These results are consistent with earlier reported discoveries throughout North America of abrupt ecosystem change, megafaunal extinction, and human cultural change and population reduction," James Kennett, professor of earth science at UC Santa Barbara, said in a tinned statement.

The sediment layer under Lake Cuitzeo is the same age as layers previously found in numerous locations in North America, Greenland and Western Europe, extending the asteroid's range into Mexico and the tropics for the first time.

This species-destroying asteroid is one of only two that boffins have found evidence for in sediment layers, the other being the dino-destroying rock that hurtled into the planet 65 million years ago. The second impact took place 12,900 years ago at the onset of an unusual cold climatic period called the Younger Dryas.

"The timing of the impact event coincided with the most extraordinary biotic and environmental changes over Mexico and Central America during the last approximately 20,000 years, as recorded by others in several regional lake deposits," said Kennett.

"These changes were large, abrupt, and unprecedented, and had been recorded and identified by earlier investigators as a ‘time of crisis.' "

The mammoth-murdering asteroid is also associated with the extinction of other North American animals including mastodons, sabre-tooth cats and dire wolves.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.