Evolution and humans: the last ice age (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 04, 2017, 14:53 (746 days ago) @ dhw

Only 100,000 humans survived:


"During the last Ice Age, however, too little CO2 in the air almost eradicated mankind. That’s when the much-colder water in the oceans sucked most of the CO2 from the air. There were only about 180 parts per million in the atmosphere, compared to today’s 400 ppm.

"The Ice Age’s combined horrors—intense cold, permanent drought, and CO2 starvation—killed most of the plants on earth. Only a few trees survived, in the mildest climates.Much of the planet’s grass turned to tundra, which is much less nourishing to the herbivores we depended on for food and fur. Cambridge University’s recent studies say that, worldwide, only about 100,000 humans were left alive when the current Interglacial warming mercifully began.

"The few surviving prey animals had to keep migrating to get enough food. That forced our ancestors to migrate with them, in temperatures that routinely fell to 40 degrees below zero (both Fahrenheit and Celsius). The Neanderthals had been living in warm caves protected from predators by fires at the cave mouths. They had hunted their prey by sneaking through the trees—which no longer existed. They apparently couldn’t adapt, and starved. Cambridge finds no signs of genocidal warfare.

"The most successful human survivors—who provided most of the DNA for modern Europeans—were nomads from the Black Sea region. The Gravettians had never had trees, so they invented mammoth-skin tents, held up by salvaged mammoth ribs. They also developed spear-throwers, to kill the huge mammoths from a safe distance. Most important, they tamed wolves into dogs, to protect their tents from marauders, to locate the game animals on the broad tundra, and to harry the prey into a defensive cluster. The scarcity of food in that Glacial Maximum intensified the wolves’ appreciation for the bones and bone marrow at the human camps. "

Comment: the last ice age ended about 11,700 years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_glacial_period Survival concepts are described in this article. Little else occupied our brain at that point. It must have become more complex faced with this degree of environmental adversity.

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