It has been discovered through DNA analysis that a rapidly warming climate and encroaching human beings killed off the large animals of the Ice Age.
Large animals such as the lumber some elephant-sized sloth and fear-provoking saber-toothed tiger once ruled the roost during the Ice Age in the region that is known as Patagonia.
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Yet a series of changes led to their decimation. These included rising temperatures and the emergence of human beings that hunted these giant animals.
The study regarding this matter was published today in the journal Science Advances.
When the human beings arrived in Patagonia, they began their hunting operations. Yet the populations of giant species remained constant. However, when the heat waves began and the snow started to melt, the animals found it difficult to survive and died off.
This took place some 12,300 years ago. Yet the exact time line and cause of extinction of these large species is still pretty much an enigma. They ought to have survived and even thrived. Yet such a scenario did not occur at all. The continent of Patagonia is said to be like a linguistic code that is difficult to decipher.
While the animal extinctions did not occur so long as the frigid temperatures remained, the moment the warm weather began to appear, the large animals started falling dead like flies in the presence of insecticide.
For a millennium of human occupation of the same locale as these animals, they burgeoned. Yet with the hot weather in place, they withered away within a century.
Researchers studied the DNA samples from the bones and teeth of these ancient animals. There were patterns of human encroachment into the animal territory and the climate change which was brought about due to human activity.
Human beings migrated from Alaska to Patagonia. Paradoxically, it was warm in the north and cold in the south. It took 1500 years for humans to make the transition from one habitat and climate to another.
The human marauders had different effects on both types of regions with their individual climates. There were only two creatures whose ancestors survived the Ice Age. They are the llama and the alpaca and their earlier versions were the guanaco and the vicuna.
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Even they almost got decimated in the process. The genetic record reveals that the late arrival of the guanacos from the northern regions led to their populations remaining intact. The rest of the animals died out rapidly.