Ice Age Animals and Clovis People Sent to Extinction by Asteroid Impact, New Study Suggests

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Mar 16, 2017 02:45 AM EDT

A team of researchers discovered platinum enriched soil layers across the US. The discovery suggests that the soil layer existed just around the “Younger-Dryas” period. This seems to suggest that an asteroid impact occurred to trigger a new ice age period that may have caused the disappearance of the Clovis people and the ice age animals. (Photo : science.howstuffworks.com)

A recent study suggests that the Clovis people, along with ice age animals, suffered the same fate of the dinosaurs: they were forced to extinction by an asteroid impact. The collision triggered earthquakes and forest fires and sent huge volumes of dust into the atmosphere that blocked out the sun.

According to Science Daily, leading experts are baffled by the sudden disappearance of the Clovis people and the ice age animals that existed some 12,800 years ago. Scientists are hoping that the recent discovery of platinum deposits at various US archaeological sites would help shed some light in solving their mysterious disappearance.

The platinum deposits were discovered by archaeologists from the University of South Carolina. The researchers found that the platinum in the soil layers existed around the "Younger-Dryas" period that pre-dated the existence of the Clovis people and the ice age animals.

The "Younger-Dryas" is a climatic period wherein the temperature of the Earth dropped to ice-age conditions that began 12,800 years ago and lasted for about 1400 years. Platinum is commonly associated with comets and asteroids that impacted the surface of the Earth.

Therefore, logic dictates that an asteroid collision is one likely reason behind the "Younger-Dryas" and precipitated the extinction of the Clovis people and the ice age animals.

The scientists from the University of South California published their findings in Scientific Reports and their research builds on the 2013 study performed by Harvard University researchers who discovered platinum deposits in an ice core from Greenland.

Both these studies conclude that a comet or asteroid impact is the most likely cause of an increase in platinum found in the soil layer in the US, and the ice core from Greenland. While the "Younger-Dryas" has been well-documented and supported by these recent discoveries, the cause of extinction of the Clovis people and the ice age animals remains unsolved.

However, the ice age period enforced by the "Younger-Dryas" may be the likely culprit with respect to the extinction of the Clovis people and the ice age animals. After all, studies show that the dinosaurs were wiped out following an asteroid impact some 65 million years ago. The asteroid collision with the Earth facilitated a massive ice age period that decimated much of prehistoric life, dinosaurs included.

Christopher Moore, the lead author of the study, concludes that their discovery supports existing data that an asteroid impact did occur just before the start of the "Younger-Dryas." However, people still want to know how the Clovis people and the ice age animals became extinct. On a lighter note, such a discovery will shed some light on what really brought Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Saber-toothed tiger, and Sid the sloth to extinction.

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