The mammoths did not just go extinct because of the last ice age. An archeological find in Alaska suggests that prehistoric humans contributed to the demise of these animals too. An excavation site some 110 kilometers southeast of Fairbanks yields clues about hunting activities and scavenging.
Apart from tools made out of stone and ivory, the archeologist discovered a 55-inch-long tusk. The specimen went through radiocarbon dating and the result suggests that the tusk belonged to the last population of mammoths in the Alaskan mainland. Further, scientists said that prehistoric humans learned how to harness fire, build campsites and cook about 14,000 years ago.
The discovery is very rare since it marked the second of only two known instances when a whole tusk was unearthed, Mysterious Universe said. Scientists believe that prehistoric humans used the ivory to fashion weapons and tools. It is also possible that mammoths were hunted down exclusively for their tusks. This supports the theory that ice age and humans were both liable for mammoths' extinction.
According to Adelphi University anthropologist Kathryn Krasinski, their study aims to collect other proofs to prove whether prehistoric humans have a huge role in the mammoths' extinction. The mammoths went extinct after the ice age between 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, according to Live Science. However, a very small population survived in Siberia and lived on for the next 4,000 years.
The Siberian population which proliferated after the ice age provided a headache among scientists. It suggests that mammoths did not instantaneously die off after the ice age. In fact, it is debatable whether the ice giants did not fare well with the warming climate of prehistoric humans simply hunted them down.
Krasinski stressed that the discovery and subsequent study is very important and might be applicable to the modern-day scenario. If proven that prehistoric humans significantly contributed to the extinction of mammoths, then there is a proof that humans have a greater impact on the environment. At any rate, the mammoths' extinction coincides with the migration of prehistoric humans from Asia to the Americas.