Climate change may have caused the extinction of ancient human species


Several close relatives of our species, homo sapiens, they went to this earth from the genre Homo it evolved more than 2 million years ago. These hominins lived in different habitats and harsh environments. Some even crossed paths and crossed paths.

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

Scientists have talked a lot about our current exclusivity. Some have suggested it H. sapiens‘Better technological capabilities may have given us an edge over the others. Others have suggested that we may have a more varied diet or be more efficient runners than other hominins.

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

The researchers also suggested that climate change may have played a role in the extinction Homo Species. In a new study published in the journal A land, a multidisciplinary team of scientists from Italy, the UK and Brazil, argues that this factor was the main cause of the extinction of other hominins.

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

“Even the brain power plant in the animal kingdom, [the Homo genus]it cannot survive climate change if it becomes 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, is H. sapiens. They left the others out because the available fossil record was too limited for their analysis.

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

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

“This provides 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, is H. neanderthalensis – Shortly before these species went extinct, there was a sudden and severe climate change on the planet. The weather became colder for all three and drier for them H. heildelbergensis and Neanderthals and wetter men H. erectus. According to Raia, the average annual change in temperature was around 4-5 degrees Celsius.

The researchers also assessed the vulnerability of these species to extinction by trying to determine their tolerance to climate change over time, using their presence in different places as an indication of their preferred niche.

The team noticed this before they disappeared H. erectus is H. heidelbergensis lost more than half of their niche due to climate change. The Neanderthals have lost about a quarter. Food sources likely decreased as habitats changed, and the cold may have threatened the survival of species adapted to warmer climates.

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

The extinction of Neanderthals has been extensively studied and discussed, but the loss of other hominid species has received little attention, says Tyler Faith, a University of Utah archaeologist who was not involved in the study. This new study is the first attempt to figure out how many times Homo Species have become extinct in much of space and time, he says.

“But I think it’s a little early to rule out other potential extinction mechanisms,” 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, anthropologist Giorgio Manzi from the University of Rome La Sapienza, who was not involved in the study, notes that many elements should be considered 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 few million years there have been several known sudden climatic collapses and environmental crises. These circumstances have not always led to “extinction”. ”

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

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

As the planet is projected to warm up to 5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100, further climate challenges are on the way.

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

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