Tracking The Old Ways Of Ice Age Megafauna Hunters

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Environment around the La Brea Tar Pits, with Columbian mammoth herd in the background, by Charles Knight (1921) (Public Domain)

Tracking The Old Ways Of Ice Age Megafauna Hunters

While mammoths were hunted by early human populations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the primary cause of their extinction was changing climate, and disease. During the last Ice Age, in north-west South America, Clovis culture hunters speared Columbian mammoths (Mammuthus columbi) while in Europe the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) was a common target of human hunting. In Asia and Africa ‘Mammuthus africanavus’ were hunted by numerous human populations, including the Neanderthals and early modern humans. However, the art of mammoth trapping seems to have peaked in what is today Mexico.

The timing and circumstances of the initial colonization of the Americas is a topic of intense debate, and the precise moment of the first human arrivals is still unclear. However, recent studies focusing on the first populations in the Americas have provided solid evidence of human presence in various parts of Mexico, such as the north-west region, the Chiapas Highlands, Central Mexico, and the Caribbean coast, during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene epochs.

Skulls in a lahar deposit at the Paleontological Museum in Tocuila, Texcoco, Mexico. (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Skulls in a lahar deposit at the Paleontological Museum in Tocuila, Texcoco, Mexico. (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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