In Today’s Mammoth Science! Headlines

Grasslands Killed the Wooly Mammoths 10,000 Years Ago

The subhead lets us know that the mammoth extinction was caused “…by the sudden appearance of grasslands throughout the Arctic region.”

Scene: 10,000 years ago. A couple mammoths awake from their (perhaps dogmatic) slumber:

Mr. Mammoth: Good morning, sweetie. Looks like another beautiful day out here in the arctic…. What the heck? Where did all this grass come from?

Mrs. Mammoth: Wow, it stretches for miles. Kind of pretty, though.

Mr.:  I don’t like it, it’s weird. What’s that? Honey, look! The grass is sort of swelling up over there!

Mrs.: It’s like a giant grassy wave! This is frightening!

Mr.: It’s coming right at us! Run! RUN!!

Mrs.: AHHHH!


Just having fun with the headline, here. By Science! standards, it’s not a terrible article.

I don’t know if this is part of the ongoing effort to find a reason, any reason, for the large fauna extinction in North America circa 8,000 BC other than ‘the Indians ate them’ which, while it matches both the timing of arrivals of large numbers of people and known human behavior everywhere else on the globe, is not the right answer for some reason.

Oh, wait. Another article on the same topic clears it all up:

Vegan woolly mammoth became extinct because of wildflowers and not human hunters

“Vegan”? The word you’re looking for is ‘herbivore’, because that’s the proper scientific term for an animal that eats vegetable matter, while ‘vegan’ is what we call particularly enlightened and healthy *humans* with no doubt exquisitely aligned chakras dressed in hemp and smelling faintly of patchouli.

Those human hunters couldn’t have done it, because they were all just like that Italian guy pretending to be an American Indian in a canoe in the old commercial crying over pollution. That guy would never think of making a little mammoth parmigiana with a side of mammoth prosciutto. Kill such a majestic and delicious protein wad, just so you and your children and the whole tribe could eat for a month?  Unthinkable!

Oh wait – I get it now:

Woolly mammoths may have feasted on flowers, living life as gentle vegans, according to new research.

So, those giant pointy tusks were for gently nudging saber-toothed cats toward a higher spiritual plain? Or perhaps were only used in friendly discussions of possible breeding options, after the manner of big horn sheep? Good to know, because they look kind of scary:

woolly mammoth
A gentle, enlightened, dare I say politically progressive woolly mammoth, holding his in no way threatening yet massive tusks in friendly greeting.

Nope. All North American megafauna, including those not living in arctic regions, became extinct right around the same time significant numbers of human *hunters* arrived in the Americas because there were not enough flowers to eat in the Arctic.

It may be true to some extent – we’ll never know – but it cracks me up that this sort of speculation makes the news. Sure, it’s interesting stuff – but it’s only in the news because it allows certain people to better cling to their Disney Pocahontas mythology.

Bad Science! reporting! Bad! Hand in your lab coat right now.


Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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