Smithsonian Investigates The End Of Mammoths

Friday, June 5th, 2020

In Mystery Of The Ice Age Giants (June 10th, 8pm), world-famous mammoth expert Dick Mol traces the extraordinary history of woolly mammoths from their origins in southern Africa to their extinction 3,700 years ago. Mammoths expanded their territory over the millennia and theirs is a story of one of nature’s greatest adaptations from tropical warmth to extreme cold. But as they specialised in surviving the ice ages, they limited their chances of survival in the greenhouse conditions of a changing climate.

Professor Mol traces this path of evolution and extinction, from the Namibian desert, to the Canadian permafrost, to the ancient steppe of what is today the bottom of the North Sea. Did humans cause a mass extinction, or did these giants fall victim to the rise in temperature? It appears that climate change and the arrival of mankind might have been the deadly combination for the giants, who were not able to adapt to the changing environment in time.

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