Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Neanderthal demise due to a volcanic eruption 40kya?

A paper published on March 19, 2015 (Campanian Ignimbrite volcanism, climate, and the final decline of the Neanderthals, by Benjamin A. Black, Ryan R. Neely and Michael Manga in Geology doi: 10.1130/G36514.1) proposes that a volcanic eruption 40 kya gave the final coup de grace or death blow to a declining Neanderthal population in the northern parts of Eurasia:

The eruption of the Campanian Ignimbrite at ca. 40 ka coincided with the final decline of Neanderthals in Europe. Environmental stress associated with the eruption of the Campanian Ignimbrite has been invoked as a potential driver for this extinction as well as broader upheaval in Paleolithic societies. To test the climatic importance of the Campanian eruption, we used a three-dimensional sectional aerosol model to simulate the global aerosol cloud after release of 50 Tg and 200 Tg SO2. We coupled aerosol properties to a comprehensive earth system model under last glacial conditions. We find that peak cooling and acid deposition lasted one to two years and that the most intense cooling sidestepped hominin population centers in Western Europe. We conclude that the environmental effects of the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption alone were insufficient to explain the ultimate demise of Neanderthals in Europe. Nonetheless, significant volcanic cooling during the years immediately following the eruption could have impacted the viability of already precarious populations and influenced many aspects of daily life for Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans.

The paywall protected paper indicates that the drop in temperature impacted negatively on the Neanderthals (makes one wonder what happened to Modern Humans who lived in those same regions... why would a 3 to 9°C temperature drop hit one group but not the other? Furhtermore, the dip in temperatures seems to have been worse in lower latitudes i.e. ASEAN, China in comparison to Western Europe...

Volcanic winter

Photo : B.A. Black et al. and the journal Geology) Pictured: Annually averaged temperature anomalies in excess of 3 degrees Celsius for the first year after the CI eruption, compared with spatial distribution of hominin sites with radiocarbon ages close to that of the eruption.

Anyway they focus on the European Neanderthals but what about those in Asia? South of central North America (current USA) the temperature drop had no impact, so any New World Neanderthals living in the Midwest or south of it would have faced no serious consequences due to the "volcanic winter".

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2015 by Austin Whittall © 

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