The new study found similarly high levels of platinum in sedimentary deposits around North America, and the research team tentatively support the conclusion of the earlier study. Hence, an asteroid impact likely caused the Younger Dryas.
An ancient society of Native Americans – the Clovis people – also disappeared from the archaeological records around the time too. Could this mysterious impact event have triggered their disappearance?
It’s worth noting that the study itself doesn’t make this conclusion. Regardless, there are two current problems with this extinction hypothesis.
Firstly, there’s a good chance that the Clovis people became “extinct” by subsuming themselves into more recent Native American societies. There’s no clear evidence that the Younger Dryas, whatever caused it, wiped them out.
Secondly, and most importantly, to prove an impact hypothesis, you really need to find the impact crater. We are essentially certain that the non-avian dinosaurs died out primarily due to such an impact because the crater itself was found off the coast of Mexico.
So, excitingly, the new study gives geoscientists impetus to go and find a missing crater. Any guesses as to where it’s hiding, dear readers?
Meteor Crater, in Arizona - this one is 50,000 years old, and is nowhere near big enough to be linked to the Younger Dryas. Oscity/Shutterstock