This image depicts a Pleistocene landscape in northern Spain with woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius), equids, a woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis), and European cave lions (Panthera leo spelaea).
Field also added that ancient humans did not play a major part in the interstadial warming, but at present modern humans are recreating that type of rapid climate change.
The scientists say the fate of the giant animals had already been sealed long before human’s started harming their numbers.
Scientists compared the genomes of two woolly mammoths with those of Asian elephants – their closest living relatives – in an attempt to understand the differences between them. These spikes staggered as time went by maybe because of regional events.
One mammoth gene, known as TRPV3, was involved in sensitivity to the cold. Originally, the data seemed to suggest the extinctions were tied into “intense cold snaps”.
Copper says that these abrupt warming events occurred even without involvement of humans and if we take into consideration modern human activities that are impacting global climate to a huge extent, the consequences could be more disastrous.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide and the University of NSW used advances in analysing ancient DNA plus radiocarbon dating and other geologic records to check temperature changes.
The team were able to reconstruct changes in the climate through the Late Pliestocene using ice cores obtained from Greenland.
After combining ancient DNA and climate data spanning 31 time periods as far back as 56,000 years ago, experts found warm snaps when they expected to find prolonged cold periods.
The new research helps explain why mammoths and giant sloths became extinct around 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.
“You could connect the arrival of humans to extinctions when humans arrived 50,000 years ago in Australia, for instance, the megafauna disappeared soon after”, Cooper told The Washington Post.
“It is important to recognise that man still played an important role in the disappearance of the major mega fauna species”, said fellow author Professor Chris Turney from the University of New South Wales.
Researchers have also stated that humans were certainly the “coup de grace”, or the last nail in the coffin to put it more bluntly, on a population of creatures and animals that were already under stress due to climate change.