Climate change may have caused ancient human species to become extinct

Climate change may have caused ancient human species to become extinct
Climate change may have caused ancient human species to become extinct
Several close relatives of our species, homo sapiens, have gone this earth since the genus Homo evolved more than 2 million years ago. These hominins lived in diverse habitats and challenging environments. Some even crossed paths and crossed each other.

Although more than one of them may have reached significant technological and cognitive milestones, such as controlling fire, developing stone tools, or making clothing, today we are alone H. sapiensto survive.

Scientists have discussed a lot about our current exclusivity. Some have suggested that H. sapiens‘Better technological skills may have given us an advantage over the others. Others have suggested that we may have a more varied diet or been more efficient runners than other hominins.

In the meantime, other researchers suggest that some hominins may not have become as extinct as that due to the high crossbreed, but have completely merged with our gene pool.

Researchers have also suggested that climate change may have played a role in extinction Homo Species. In a new study published in the journal One earth, a multidisciplinary team of scientists from Italy, the UK and Brazil, contends that this factor was the main cause of other hominins becoming extinct.

The authors believe the results could serve as a warning as humanity is now exposed to man-made climate change.

“Even the brain powerhouse in the animal kingdom, [the Homo genus]cannot survive climate change if it gets too extreme, “says paleontologist Pasquale Raia of the University of Naples Federico II, one of the authors of the study.” Given the current chaos we are causing, people should care. ”

In this study, the team focused on only six of the approved individuals Homo Species: H. habilis, H. ergaster, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens. They left others out because the fossil record available was too limited for their analysis.

Using a fossil database of 2,754 archaeological records, the researchers were able to find where these species lived over time. Both fossil evidence and tools associated with each type were linked to different locations and time periods.

They also applied a statistical modeling technique called an ancient climate emulator, which uses the available records to reconstruct climatic conditions, including temperature and precipitation, over the past 5 million years.

“This gives a picture of the enormous impact that climate problems have had,” says anthropologist Giorgio Manzi.

For three of the five extinct species – H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, and H. neanderthalensis – Just before these species became extinct, there was a sudden, severe climate change on the planet. The climates became colder for all three and drier for them H. heildelbergensis and Neanderthals and wetter for H. erectus. According to Raia, the annual average temperature change was around 4 to 5 degrees Celsius.

Researchers also assessed how vulnerable these species were to extinction by trying to determine their tolerance to climate change over time, using their presence in different locations as an indication of their preferred niche.

The team noted that before disappearing H. erectus and H. heidelbergensis lost more than half of their niche to climate change. Neanderthals lost about a quarter. Food sources likely dwindled as habitats changed, and the cold may have threatened the survival of species adapted to warmer climes.

That climate statement doesn’t necessarily mean that other drivers of extinction weren’t important either – the authors note that competition is with H. sapiensFor Neanderthals, for example, things could have gotten worse – but Raia and his colleagues believe their analysis reveals “the main factor” in the past Homo Die out.

The extinction of Neanderthals has been widely studied – and discussed – but the loss of other hominin species has received little attention, says University of Utah archaeologist Tyler Faith, who was not involved in the study. This new study is the first attempt to understand how many times Homo Species became extinct over much of space and time, he says.

“But I think it’s a little early to rule out other potential mechanisms of extinction,” adds Faith. He notes that the limited fossil record of some species makes it difficult to get a complete picture of the environmental or climatic conditions of other species Homo Species could handle it.

Similarly, the anthropologist Giorgio Manzi of the Sapienza University in Rome, who was not involved in the study, notes that many elements should be considered in order to explain the disappearance of the past Homo Species.

The relationship between climate change and extinction is complex, and one thing does not always lead to another: “At least in the last million years, various abrupt climatic collapses and environmental crises have been known. These circumstances did not always lead to “extinction.” ”

Still, Manzi believes the new work is a reasonable argument that climate change can have a major impact.

“This provides a picture of the enormous impact climate damage has had on the human population of various species,” says Manzi.

Since the planet is expected to warm up to 5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100, further climatic challenges are ahead.

This work first appeared on SAPIENS under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license. Read the original here.

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