What Happened 11,000 Years Ago That Killed So Many Animals?

Head skeleton of saber tooth cat that died out along with dozens of other animal species at the end of the Pleistocene ice age about 12,000 years ago. Photograph courtesy University of California.
Head skeleton of saber tooth cat that died out along with dozens of other animal species at the end of the Pleistocene ice age about 12,000 years ago. Photograph courtesy University of California.

November 13, 2002  Seattle, Washington - Tonight at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, scientists gathered to discuss what killed off so many large mammals of North and South America at the end of the last ice age about 12,000 years ago, the end of the Pleistocene. At least 35 genera of animals in North America alone were wiped out, including the huge saber-toothed cat, woolly rhinos, woolly mammoths, mastodons, giant skunks, giant rabbits, camels and horses. Using modern DNA analysis, bodies and bones found freeze-dried are being explored for signs of unusual disease. Did a deadly virus or bacteria infect and kill the animals? Or did a growing human population throughout the world exterminate species after species in its search for food and hides?

 

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