“Ten one billionths of cosmic history” – Homo species of the...

“Ten one billionths of cosmic history” – Homo species of the...
“Ten one billionths of cosmic history” – Homo species of the...
Posted on Oct 17, 2020 in Climate Change, Evolution, Science

The human experience with our light blue dot took less than 10 billionths of cosmic history, surrounded by a huge lifeless space, but we humans congratulate ourselves, ”says Peter Brannen, author of Ends of the world on the current human domination, recently dubbed the Anthropocene – the 1950s atomic era when human activity dominated the climate and environment – “to an undeserved geological legacy before we proved capable escaping the next century with our lives. Plus, most of our proudest creations – entire cities and man-made landscapes – are being destroyed by the incessant destruction of tectonics and erosion. Many of the synthetic markers proposed to demarcate the Anthropocene will not survive the insults of the deep ages. ”

The Anthropocene – “Human Arrogance?”

“It’s human arrogance,” adds Brannen, to shape an era, the Anthropocene, that cannot be compared to a geological era that equates to a yawning period like the Early Cretaceous, an era that lasted 600,000 times longer than this re-minted or the reign of the dinosaurs that lasted more than 225 million years.

“Hubris of the Anthropocene” – COVID-19 pandemic provides a lost cosmic perspective

Previous extinctions of homo species

Brannen’s conclusions suggest a new study – “Past Extinctions of Homo Species, Associated with Increased Vulnerability to Climate Change” – to understand early people’s climate preferences and their response to climate change. The study shows that despite technological innovations, including the use of fire and nifty stone tools, the formation of complex social networks and – in the case of Neanderthals – even the manufacture of glued spearheads, custom clothing, and a good amount of cultural and cultural assets, the genetic exchange with Homo sapiens, former homo species, could not survive the intense climate change, “says Pasquale Raia of the Università di Napoli Federico II.” You tried very hard; They made their way to the warmest places within reach when the climate turned cold, but at the end of the day that wasn’t enough.

“We were surprised by the regularity of the effects of climate change,” says Raia. “It was crystal clear that for the extinct species and only for them the climatic conditions shortly before extinction and only at this particular moment were simply too extreme.”

Warning to the people today

Raia notes that the paleoclimatic reconstruction, the identification of fossil remains at the species level, and the aging of fossil sites are uncertain. But, he says, the most important findings “apply under all conditions”. The results could serve as a kind of warning to humans today as we face unprecedented climate change, says Raia.

“It is worrying to discover that our ancestors, no less impressive in their mental powers than any other species on earth, have not been able to withstand climate change,” he said. “And we have found that it is precisely when our own species is sawing the branch we are sitting on that we are causing climate change. Personally, I take that as a thundering warning message. Climate change has made Homo vulnerable and unhappy in the past, and this may happen again right now. ”

Extensive fossil database

To shed light on the extinction of earlier homo-species such as H. habilis, H. ergaster, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens, the researchers relied on a high-resolution climate emulator in the past that provides temperature, Precipitation and other data over the past 5 million years. They also searched an extensive fossil database for more than 2,750 archaeological records to model the evolution of the climatic niche of the homo species over time.

Their studies provide robust evidence that three homo-species – H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis lost a significant part of their climatic niche shortly before extinction. They report that this decline coincided with severe, adverse changes in global climate. In the case of the Neanderthals, competition with H. sapiens probably made matters worse.

“Crystal clear” – effects of climate change

“We were surprised by the regularity of the effects of climate change,” says Raia. “It was crystal clear that for the extinct species and only for them the climatic conditions shortly before extinction and only at this particular moment were simply too extreme.”

Raia notes that the paleoclimatic reconstruction, the identification of fossil remains at the species level, and the aging of fossil sites are uncertain. But, he says, the most important findings “apply under all conditions”. The results could serve as a kind of warning to humans today as we face unprecedented climate change, says Raia.

“It is worrying to discover that our ancestors, no less impressive in their mental powers than any other species on earth, have not been able to withstand climate change,” he said. “And we have found that it is precisely when our own species is sawing the branch we are sitting on that we are causing climate change. Personally, I take that as a thundering warning message. Climate change has made Homo vulnerable and unhappy in the past, and this may happen again right now. ”

Source: Pasquale Raia et al. The extinction of homo species in the past has been associated with an increased vulnerability to climate change. One earth. Published: October 15, 2020. DOI: 10.1016 / j.oneear.2020.09.007

The Daily Galaxy, Andy Johnson über Cell Press und Raia’s Lab

Photo credit at the top of the page: Thanks to Pixabay

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