The End Is Near – Again
It’s a Jungle Out There
The apocalyptic story of the day is not global warming (heavens no! We have bigger things to worry about!) or even the Yellowstone Super Volcano that’s going to bury all of North America. That story is so yesterday.
No, the scare story today making the rounds of the MSM, news sites, science/space sites and even Slashdot is all about the comet that wiped out the Clovis people, who populated North America until they mysteriously and suddenly disappeared some 13,000 years ago. The current rage-of-an-explanation? The comet did it! And it left behind diamonds, too.
Now researchers are reporting that the abrupt cooling – which took place about 12,900 years ago, just as the planet was emerging from an ice age – may have been caused by one or more meteors that slammed into North America.
That could explain the extinction of mammoths, saber-tooth tigers and maybe even the first human inhabitants of the Americas, the scientists report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.
The hypothesis has been regarded skeptically, but its advocates now report perhaps more convincing residue of impact: a thin layer of microscopic diamonds found in rocks across America and in Europe.
Okay, very small diamonds. But I still blame George Bush. Or Dick Chaney. Or somebody.
Sorry. Snark key was stuck.
This is not to say that the theory is well founded or universally accepted, mind you. Early reviewers of the article by Douglas J. Kennett (University of Oregon) et. al., which appeared earlier in Science had reservations.
At least some skeptics are not convinced. “The whole thing still does not make sense, and there are lots of contradictions,” said Christian Koeberl, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Vienna in Austria.
His chief reservation is that there is no crater. “A body of this size does not just blow up without a trace in the atmosphere,” Dr. Koeberl said. “Physics won’t have it.”
Maybe I’ll invest in a hard-hat anyway. One can never be too careful about these things.
H/T to Rand Simberg for the initial link.