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A comet that struck Earth 13,000 years ago changed the fate of humanity

06/25/2021 at 12:59 PM CEST

An investigation carried out at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, concludes that the violent impact of a comet with the Earth, approximately 13,000 years ago, would have caused a crucial change in the history of our civilization. It would be the most destructive collision since the one that led to the disappearance of the dinosaurs, and it would coincide with important variations that occurred in the organization of human societies of the time.

At that time, human communities ceased to be hunters and gatherers and they adopted other lifestyles, focused on agriculture and the creation of permanent settlements.

The event, known as the Younger Dryas impactIt also wiped out many species of large animals and ushered in a small ice age that lasted more than 1,000 years.

An abrupt climate change

Younger Dryas was a brief phase of climate cooling happened at the end of the Pleistocene, between 12,700 and 11,500 years ago. The main hypothesis about its origin indicates that the impact of Comet Clovis, approximately 12,900 years ago in North America, would have started this stage of profound changes. The theory was developed in 2007, and since then it has sparked heated debate in the scientific community.

This period marked a sudden return to glacial conditions in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere, in stark contrast to the thaw that took place in the previous cycle.

The fossil record indicates a decrease in mean annual temperatures of around 5 degrees Celsius in the British Isles. In Greenland, the decline reached 15 degrees Celsius.

All these conditions suggest that, up to now, it was the last period of abrupt climate change so widespread, intense and rapidly manifesting.

Related Topic: Comets in the Solar System have cosmic brothers.

The comet hypothesis

However, the hypothesis about its onset or acceleration from the comet Clovis collision with Earth it has been questioned for many years. Now, the new research published in the journal Earth-Science Reviews seems to give it new credit.

According to a press release, Scottish researchers analyzed geological data related to four continents, finding particularly in North America and Greenland a large amount of evidence supporting the theory of a comet collision.

For example, at an archaeological site in Arizona, United States, they found impact debris, which are in an area with clear manifestations of environmental changes that began around the year 10,800 BC. C. It is believed that in North America and Greenland the largest fragments of the comet would have collided.

At the same time, the detection of high levels of platinum and the identification of nanodiamondsCharacteristics usually related to comets, give even more force to the impact hypothesis.

The germ of modern human civilization?

In the period studied, human civilizations concretized strong cultural and social changes, for example in the way of getting food or in the way of living: they began to choose to create fixed settlements and abandoned nomadism.

According to specialists, these are decisions taken from the intense climatic variations that would have accelerated the impact of the comet. Was then the violent collision of a comet the beginning of the changes that ended up shaping the modern human societies?

Reference

The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis: Review of the impact evidence. Martin B. Sweatman. Earth-Science Reviews (2021) .DOI: https: //doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2021.103677

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