DISPATCH COLUMNIST CONSIDERS THE ROLE OF HUMANS IN THE DEMISE OF ICE AGE GIANTS


John Switzer, author of the immensely popular column “From the Stump” for the Columbus Dispatch, interviewed my colleague Dave Dyer and me regarding the role humans may have played in the extinction of the Ice Age megafauna — the super-sized mammals of the Pleistocene epoch, including mammoths and mastodons. Both Dave and I are quoted in his July 27th commentary entitled “did humans play big role in the demise of Ice Age ‘giants’?” We agree that humans likely contributed to the extinctions of at least some of the megafauna, even if that role was only to speed up a process that was well on its way before humans ever even entered the hemisphere. I used to doubt that people armed only with flint-tipped spears actually could have driven such massive creatures to extinction, but then I co-directed the excavation and analysis of the Burning Tree mastodon and I changed my mind. If you’re interested, you can listen to a Wilderness Center podcast on the subject — or check out the article I wrote for Timeline magazine entitled “Forensic Mystery: the Burning Tree Mastodon.” Brad Lepper

Posted July 28, 2014
Topics: Archaeology

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