Comet Might Not Have Killed Mammoths After All: Study

Peat bog analysis contradicts cometary impact theory
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2009 3:35 PM CST
Comet Might Not Have Killed Mammoths After All: Study
An artist's rendition of a pack of woolly mammoths.   (Wikimedia Commons)

New evidence undermines the theory that the impact from a comet killed off the woolly mammoth and enough humans to end the prehistoric Clovis culture, the BBC reports. Supporters of the impact theory point to a planet-wide rash of wildfires, but while a new analysis of sediment under North American peat bogs found evidence of increased wildfires over the 5,000-year period, nothing suggests a single, continent-wide blaze.

Comet proponents also cite the discovery of “nanodiamonds” supposedly created by the massive impact. But researchers have found similar nanodiamonds in contemporary peat bogs, calling that point of evidence into question. “When you concentrate on one layer so intensely, you find all sorts of things which you think are unique,” says a co-author of the new research. (More Mammoth stories.)

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