Was The Younger Dryas Cooling Event Caused By A Cosmic Impact After All?

  • Date: 10/03/17
  • University of South Carolina

No one knows for certain why the Clovis people and iconic beasts — mastodon, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger — living some 12,800 years ago suddenly disappeared. However, a discovery of widespread platinum at archaeological sites across the US has provided an important clue in solving this enduring mystery.

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University of South Carolina archaeologists found an abundance of platinum — an element associated with cosmic objects like asteroids or comet — at 11 Clovis excavation sites across the United States. Credit: South Carolina Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina

No one knows for certain why the Clovis people and iconic beasts — mastodon, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger — living some 12,800 years ago suddenly disappeared. However, a discovery of widespread platinum at archaeological sites across the United States by three University of South Carolina archaeologists has provided an important clue in solving this enduring mystery.

The research findings are outlined in a new study in Scientific Reports

Journal Reference:

Christopher R. Moore, Allen West, Malcolm A. LeCompte, Mark J. Brooks, I. Randolph Daniel, Albert C. Goodyear, Terry A. Ferguson, Andrew H. Ivester, James K. Feathers, James P. Kennett, Kenneth B. Tankersley, A. Victor Adedeji, Ted E. Bunch. Widespread platinum anomaly documented at the Younger Dryas onset in North American sedimentary sequences. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7: 44031 DOI: 10.1038/srep44031

University of South Carolina, 8 March 2017

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