back to article Canadian comet impact fingered for triggering prehistoric climate shift

Scientists have discovered new evidence that an extraplanetary body came down over Canada around 12,900 years ago, possibly triggering the death of the giant animals then roaming the North American continent, and starting a cooling spell that helped drive mankind towards agriculture and civilization. During the Younger Dryas …

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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Why should several impacts hit the North American landmass at the same time?

    Ancient astronauts?

    1. Don Jefe

      I figure it to be a preemptive strike against the Quebecois. Likely a plot hatched in England.

      1. James O'Shea

        "I figure it to be a preemptive strike against the Quebecois. Likely a plot hatched in England." Rather, in Paris, out of jealousy. The Quebecois are, after all, more French than the French will ever be. Just ask a Quebecois.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby
          Coat

          Pre-emptive strike?

          Didn't you know that Cannuks are Satan's army?

          Its true. I saw it in the South Park movie. You know, the one where 'Blame Canada!' almost won an Oscar?

          This is nothing more than proof of the epic battle between good and evil, one which lead to the great flood.

          1. Don Jefe
            Happy

            Re: Pre-emptive strike?

            Indeed, Canadians are dangerous and beguiling. They lure you in with kindness then smother you with export controlled maple syrup while you sleep. The Québécois aren't Canadians though. They are Québécois, they don't even endorse the Canadian Constitution. They do endorse maple syrup though.

      2. Stumpy
        Mushroom

        Nuke 'em from orbit ....

        .... it's the only way to be sure.

    2. Fibbles

      I suppose it depends how close (in time,) they were to each other. If the objects came down within minutes of each other then they could've shared the same trajectory. That's not indicated by the article though and I have no idea how you'd measure the time of impact so precisely for events that far back in the past.

      Ockham's razor says: coincidence.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because no on likes Americans, they have a history of getting up your nose, but were probably a tasty snack for the aliens.

      1. Don Jefe
        Happy

        No one likes the 'Americans' that get on the news or reality shows or the idiot tourists. We don't even like those people here.

        There are a lot of fun, intelligent, courteous and only moderately violent Americans. You should try to get to know some. We outnumber the awful ones I assure you, we just aren't obnoxiously loud attention whores so we don't get noticed much by the rest of the planet who are too busy being appalled by the insanely vocal minority that get tossed in their faces.

        1. Stuart21551

          "There are a lot of fun, intelligent, courteous and only moderately violent Americans. You should try to get to know some."

          'Specially the Walmartois.

      2. Euripides Pants
        Trollface

        Re: Because no on likes Americans...

        We Americans most definitely do *not* get up anyone's nose as we don't know where your noses have been.

    4. Beau
      Facepalm

      "Why should several impacts hit the North American landmass at the same time?"

      Because there is a good chance that any large rock hitting the earths atmosphere can brake up. Giving a shotgun effect at ground level.

      1. austerelime

        Re: "Why should several impacts hit the North American landmass at the same time?"

        Fair point but could it break up?

    5. Stuart21551
      Mushroom

      Tidal forces beak up large comets as they pass close to the sun - creating a 'string of pearls'.

      Such as the string that hit Jupiter a few years ago.

      If spherules were a product, (our only evidence) then no 'ancient astronauts' could have survived the impact.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/mushroom_32.png

      1. Ian Michael Gumby
        Alien

        Tidal forces beak up large comets as they pass close to the sun - creating a 'string of pearls'.

        Now that's one deadly 'Pearl Necklace'

        -Just saying

    6. RISC OS
      FAIL

      There are no ancent astronauts

      1. Don Jefe

        Yes, I would agree. There's no such thing as ancent astronauts. Matter of fact, no such thing as ancent anything.

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    That's nice then

    So it was a total coincidence that soon after nice friendly eco-aware native Americans arrived on the continent all the big slow defenseless meaty animals suddenly disappeared?

    Looks like we will have to rename "head smashed in buffalo jump" heritage site to "caring for the poor endangered species impacted by climate change buffalo jump"

    1. Don Jefe
      Joke

      Re: That's nice then

      I'm afraid you're a bit off on your dates. Everything was created no more than ~5,700 years ago and the animals were put here to be eaten. That's why god made them so slow, and tasty.

      1. cortland

        Re: That's nice then

        5774, as of Wednesday evening, actually.

        http://www.newsday.com/long-island/rosh-hashanah-a-fresh-start-for-the-new-year-1.6000139

        l'shanah tovah . . .

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: That's nice then

        Actually, 6,017 years ago - October 23rd 4004 BC, as any ful kno

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That's nice then

          I once came up with my own take on relativity.

          Predicted same results as GR apart from speed of light decreasing (relative to the past) with passage of time also decreasing (relative to the past) which kept c constant. This strangely predicted the age of the universe as around 6000 years, as measured by the current passage of time. The universe was also a lot smaller than it appears, and red-shifts had an alternative explanation.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: That's nice then

      Interesting to see the effect of the meteor lasted for a thousand years*. I'm not saying that an impact couldn’t have pushed the climate over the edge but as the extinctions started long before this event I think Occam's razor should apply: the simplest solution is normally the answer: man with weapons of wood stone, and more importantly fire!

      *volcanoes can pump a lot or sulphur aerosols into the high atmosphere causing cooling that last a few years but a couple of dozen meteorites the size that created the Corossal crater made of sulphur wouldn’t provide enough to match Mt Pinatubo in 1991.

      Mind you it is foggy outside...

      1. Flatpackhamster

        Re: That's nice then

        You can see the effects across the globe. The earliest settled human communities had already appeared in the middle east at this time, but around this date they're abandoned and settled communities and agriculture take about 2,000 years to reappear.

        If the effect is powerful enough to guarantee crop failures for the first, small scale settled human communities half a world away, and force them to return to hunter-gathering , I suspect that the effects on vegetation in North America would have been quite sufficient to cause mass starvation for plant-eating megafauna and consequently the meat eaters which preyed on them.

    3. Big_Ted
      Alien

      Re: That's nice then

      I've always wondered why people want to blame a small number of new arrivals to the American continent of wiping out larger life such as mamoths etc but where there are populations settled for many years such as Africa and India the Elephants etc survive.

      OK they must have had an impact but Neandrothals plus Homo Sapiens failed over thousands of years to wipe out the larger animals in Europe.....

      just Saying........

      1. Garden Guy

        Re: That's nice then

        Humans in Europe & Africa evolved around the animals that they hunted. This allowed for the various species to gradually adapt over time. This was not the case in North America. Essentially humans had the same affect as any invasive species. There are countless examples in modern times that show how dramatictly an introduced species can impact the indingenous life forms. When humans crossed the Bering ice bridge some 15-20,000 years ago, the indigenous animals of North America were ill preparred to face this new apex predator.

      2. Sysprog Steve

        Re: That's nice then

        Google "aurochs".

      3. Maharg

        Re: That's nice then

        Possibly because elephants are hard to kill and not great to eat and when used were for transport or for heavy lifting, while the people ate things that were more easy to kill or could be controlled and bred, like cows.

        If the European settlers had rode buffalo and ate horses, then maybe the buffalo would have lasted, but as there were

        a) lots of buffalo

        b) they made good eating

        c) they could be killed on mass

        d) they couldn’t be farmed like cows and chickens

        e) there was bugger all else to eat

        it pretty much ended them.

      4. Marshalltown
        Pint

        Re: That's nice then

        "I've always wondered why people want to blame a small number of new arrivals to the American continent ..."

        It's obvious, they weren't just the first Americans, they were also the first Canadians. Canada's fault once more.

  3. Rattus Rattus

    So what can we do to attract more comets?

    Another big impact like that would be nice. Australia is hot as fuck and I could do with it averaging five degrees cooler around here.

    1. Smarty Pants
      Happy

      Re: So what can we do to attract more comets?

      So link this to global warming and NASA's idea of capturing a rock and parking it in orbit - I see a plan :-)

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: So what can we do to attract more comets?

      You have to put cunningly made comet fodder imitations into low-earth orbit. That should make them notice.

  4. pinkmouse

    "...an extraplanetary body came down over Canada around 12,900 years ago, possibly trigging the death of the giant animals then roaming the North American continent and starting a cooling spell that helped drive mankind towards agriculture and civilization."

    Hmm, a giant alien body wandering North America. Cthulhu?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Or just a fifth elephant?

      1. Marshalltown

        Puns like that give me the Willis.

    2. TheOtherHobbes

      >Hmm, a giant alien body wandering North America. Cthulhu?

      Oprah.

    3. cordwainer 1

      LOL, I also read that initially as if there were a comma after "animals."

  5. Winkypop Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "It definitely came down in Quebec,"

    That'll explain the attitude then.

  6. Darren Barratt
    Happy

    "Corossal crater"

    Names by Kim Jong Ill?

    *rone-ry, so very rone-ry..."

  7. raving angry loony

    Remnants

    You can actually see remnants of the meteor almost any time. Basically old rocks that don't really have much present value. We call them "senators". They're kept in Ottawa.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    "roaming the North American continent" "giant sloth"

    Ever been to Maclaine, Texas?

  9. vidura

    more info please

    If you are curious like me you wanted to see pictures of this thing

    http://ottawa-rasc.ca/wiki/index.php?title=Odale_Articles_Corossol

    1. Marshalltown

      Re: more info please

      So, the crater is somewhere between 443 million and 12,900 years old. That is one heck of an error margin.

  10. Snowball

    Yes there is at least one major impact crater in Quebec. It's about 250 km's NW of Sept Isles. Called Lac Manicouagan. A large island in the middle of the Lake is the result of the impact and upheaval. (rebound effect) Now used as a storage reservoir for a Hydro power project.

    I'm surprised that someone ( a professor no less ) is just learning about this. Almost anyone who was in a Canadian school in the late 1940's and early 1950's would have learned this in Canadian Geography class. I did in Grade 6 as I recall. More recent info suggests it was made by an asteroid that was about 5 km. wide (3.1 miles) (See Wikipedia) How long ago it hit? No idea.

    I also wonder if James Bay; being a nice circular bay; isn't also an impact crater.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I always suspected Hudson Bay to have been an oblique hit and James Bay a result of the part of the same asteroid that broke up before impact. The Gulf of Mexico looks even more like a crater than anything else.

  11. John Whitehead

    Literal

    That should be "climatic" not "climactic", surely?

    1. No longer in IT
      Joke

      Re: Literal

      Some geologists get really excited by this stuff you know - 'geology rocks' after all...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Literal

        They have to get their rocks off somehow...

        1. Martin Budden

          Re: Literal

          obligatory xkcd

  12. packrat
    Mushroom

    AND river mouth civilizations.

    river-mouth civilizations...

    and you know what comes out of rivers these days. (well, nothing much anymore for a lot of them but that's beside the point)

    If i have this timeline correct: comet makes (minnie) ice-age, forcing new food chain..

    ice-age lowers water levels + farming expodes in (exposed) deltas.

    ice melts 1000 yrs later drowning (proto. HA!) civilizations

    river valley nonsense well underway 5000 yrs later

    around 1400 first global pandemics release European exploration-craze.

    (china's junking around,+ puritan (hello cromwell. what else did you do?) settlements, eventually.

    cute. Today's little globalization effort is a economic and not cultural rationalization?

    and tin-foil hats block signals, making them illegal?

    ? so where are the ufo's?

    drat, i was doing so well there for a moment....

    pat

  13. Britt Johnston

    Babies in the Bathwater

    The last melting, about 6000 BC cut off the Continent from England, the Thames from the Rhine, and caused Noah's flood as the Med broke through to the Black sea.

    The boffins admit that their dating isn't exact to the day, though, and the increase in sea level is also unclear (0.8-2.8 m). It is also frustrating that the documentation was poor, as the events are so close to the start of history.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Babies in the Bathwater

      Fail for calling Britain "England".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Babies in the Bathwater

        Fail yourself!

        Last time I saw a map of ancient sea level, it was only ever that part of the landmass eventually* to be known as "England" that was joined to "The Continent".

        And soon to be known so again if our petty, second order, politcos have their devolutionary ways...

  14. JDX Gold badge

    the Corossal crater

    Is it?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BlackBerry

    Any odds on the temperature drop when BlackBerry crashes and burns up? Will people in Waterloo have to take up agriculture?

  16. Midnight

    On behalf of Canadians everywhere

    We're very sorry about that.

  17. Arachnoid
    Mushroom

    So now its getting warmer will we see the comeback of Prehistoric animals once they escape from the secret Guberment breeding areas.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Damn Canucks!

    Doubtless they did it to lower the temperature and extend hockey season.....

  19. hamsterator
    Thumb Up

    In my experience selling IT kit in Quebec, this is probably the diciest area to do business in Canada. Got taken for $37,000 Apple gear. Biker country; if you want to disappear, do it here. I will not do business with Quebec anymore (unless they are nationwide). Visit the customer or they might be vapour!

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