18 Aug 2010

Demise of woolly mammoth blamed on climate change

3:16 pm on 18 August 2010

British scientists say they have evidence the woolly mammoth died out because of climate change, rather than being hunted to extinction by early humans.

The giant elephant-like creatures were common in Europe and northern parts of Asia for more than 100,000 years.

Some scientists have argued that it was principally the result of climate change, while other say that the animals were hunted to death by early humans, the BBC reports.

Researchers from Durham University say they have now settled the matter. A new compute simulation of vegetation shows that as the world warmed after the height of the last Ice Age, forests took over much of the lush pasture on which the mammoths fed.

The researchers say it was variation in the earth's climate, rather than the savagery of humans that led to the demise of the woolly mammoth.