Scientists unravel the mystery of mass extinction

A complex relationship between climate change and human activities is behind the extinction of megafauna during the last Ice Age.

A team of scientists from 40 universities analysed DNA, climate data and archaelogical data for six species of megafauna: the woolly mammoth, woolly rhinos, musk-oxen, reindeer, wild horse and bison.

Scientists found the extinction of woolly rhinos and musk oxen was likely caused by climate change, while the extinction of the wild horse and bison in Siberia were likely caused by both climate change and human activities. Scientists could not explain why some species like the woolly mammoth went extinct, while others, like reindeer survived.

Despite detailed data analysis scientists could not find a pattern distinguishing species that survived from species that went extinct, creating challenges for predicting what species alive today will be most threatened by climate change.

Read more at Nature