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The Woolly Mammoth  (Source: Corbis/Royal BC Museum, British Columbia)

Ancient humans hunted mammoths, which some think contributed to their extinction.  (Source: On Charcoal)

Researchers in a new study claim that the extinctions, possibly triggered by man, caused the birch trees to take over in regions of Siberia, causing a warming effect of as much as 1 degree Fahrenheit.  (Source: EW Birch Builders)
Mammoth extinction 10,000 years ago may have led to as much as a 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperatures

Christopher Doughty, a post-doctoral researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, has led a team of researchers that has reached some controversial and unusual claims about mankind's role in changing the Earth's climate.

Doughty, in a paper published [PDF] in the journal 
Geophysical Research Letters, claims that the extinction of woolly mammoths may have triggered a cascade of effects warming Siberia and neighboring Beringia by at least 0.3 to 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  If these controversial claims prove true, it would likely be the first example of man influencing the world's climate in humanity's brief history as a species.

The report may change preconceptions about climate change, claims Doughty; "Some people say that people are unable to affect the climate, that it's just too big.  That's obviously not the case. People started to affect global climate much earlier than we thought."

Previous studies had indicated that mankind's development of agriculture 8,000 years ago could have changed the Earth's climate, but the effects of hunting in mankind's earlier days were not thought to have had significant impact.  The new study draws its basis from a previous study in the November 20, 2009 edition of the journal 
Science.  That study indicated that mammoths kept small trees in check, preserving grasslands.  With their extinction, the darker trees grew, increasing the overall darkness of the terrain, absorbing more solar radiation, and ultimately triggering a warming effect.

The issue with that study was that it posed a chicken-and-the-egg sort of conundrum; warming climates would encourage tree growth over tundra grasslands, but tree growth could also 
trigger warming.  Doughty claims in his new study that in the 850-year period where most of the mammoths disappeared from hunting, the levels of birch pollen increased by 26 percent.  Using modern elephant data, it was estimated that 23 percent of this increase came from the death of the mammoths, while the rest was caused by the heating trend itself.

The team then compiled vegetation loss findings and climate simulations to pinpoint how much of an impact the forestation increased had.  They found that it likely raised temperatures from 0.4 degrees F to the nearly 1 degree F.

Doughty admits in the study that it's not been conclusively shown that humans caused the extinction of mammoths in the first place (again, this is a chicken-egg riddle as warming climates could have pushed them to extinction, but their extinction could have warmed climates).  Man did hunt the beasts, and its the prevailing theory that we played at least a small role in their extinction.

The study was funded by NASA and the Carnegie Institution for Science.



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RE: Bull!
By damonlynch on 7/5/2010 1:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
Talk is cheap. Show us your scientific credentials, or indeed, any evidence whatsoever you are better able to evaluate scientific evidence than either NASA or the Carnegie Institution for Science.


RE: Bull!
By General Disturbance on 7/5/2010 1:50:34 PM , Rating: 5
He has a brain, that's all the "credential" one needs.

Too bad you don't feel the same way about yours. Deferring to someone else's judgment does not make you intelligent...it just relieves yourself of the responsibility of thinking for yourself in the first place.

Have fun with that.


RE: Bull!
By sprockkets on 7/5/2010 2:00:43 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Too bad you don't feel the same way about yours. Deferring to someone else's judgment does not make you intelligent...it just relieves yourself of the responsibility of thinking for yourself in the first place. Have fun with that.


I once came across a wealthy lawyer who's AC didn't work. I told him it was the thermostat. He decided then to save money and replace it himself.

Well, after doing that, he wired it wrong, frying his outdoor defrost board, his indoor air handler control board, his reversing valve coil fried, and his 24v transformer. It ended up costing him $1200 to fix.

I left telling him if I need a lawyer, I'll call him up. Leave the HVAC stuff to me.

Get my point?


RE: Bull!
By Reclaimer77 on 7/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: Bull!
By damonlynch on 7/5/2010 3:01:16 PM , Rating: 1
So in short Reclaimer77, you appear to have no scientific credentials whatsoever - no track record of published scientific work, for instance. Nothing that would indicate you actually know anything substantive about what you're so aggressively discussing. In short, you have zero credibility when it comes to climate research, or evolutionary science, etc.


RE: Bull!
By SPOOFE on 7/5/2010 3:03:37 PM , Rating: 5
Appeal To Authority Fallacy.


RE: Bull!
By damonlynch on 7/5/2010 3:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I do not claim to be an expert on climate science. I never have. But unlike some people here, I don't go around trashing scientists deemed worthy of funding by NASA and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Reclaimer77 and others like him/her have nothing to back up their often ludicrous claims. They shout loudly, abuse others, and make fools of themselves.


RE: Bull!
By SPOOFE on 7/5/2010 3:55:20 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Actually I do not claim to be an expert on climate science.

You don't need to for your comments to still contain an AtA fallacy. Your response eschews Reclaimer's actual comments and instead focuses on his authority on the subject.

If he truly were incapable of speaking with any accuracy about the subject, that should be made clear by his comments, not any degree or diploma or area of study he may have engaged in.


RE: Bull!
By damonlynch on 7/5/2010 5:49:17 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to wholeheartedly agree with Reclaimer77's implicit argument that he knows more than NASA and the Carnegie folks about climate science.

There are a few people with delusions of self-grandeur lurking here - but that's really scraping the bottom of the barrel.


RE: Bull!
By LordSooooStupid on 7/5/2010 5:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
"You seem to wholeheartedly agree with Reclaimer77's implicit argument that he knows more than NASA and the Carnegie folks about climate science."

And you are qualified to judge him? Let us see YOUR credentials.
Talk about scraping, this is UNDER the barrel.
Hypocrisy can be a funny thing.


RE: Bull!
By SPOOFE on 7/5/2010 6:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You seem to wholeheartedly agree with Reclaimer77's implicit argument

If you could, please cite which part of my posts was in agreement with Reclaimer's argument.


RE: Bull!
By LordSooooStupid on 7/5/2010 7:40:02 PM , Rating: 2
"If you could, please cite which part of my posts was in agreement with Reclaimer's argument."

My post wasn't in reply to yours.


RE: Bull!
By Reclaimer77 on 7/5/2010 10:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
You guys are so confusing I can't tell who agrees with who. It just sounded like you were sort of supporting me, now you say you aren't?

This discussion has turned stupid all around. So you need "scientific credentials" if you don't agree with every theory? Especially one a stupid as this?

That strikes me as the worst kind of position, and I'm honestly saddened by how many here support it. I wonder if you would feel the same way if it wasn't an article that enforced a personal belief?

Also, by your logic, you should provide me "scientific credentials" if you SUPPORT this theory. Because how can you truly support something if you aren't an expert yourself?

All in all it's a very childish attempt to silence an opinion. And one that, by now, people should know won't work on me.


RE: Bull!
By LordSooooStupid on 7/5/2010 11:08:17 PM , Rating: 2
"You guys are so confusing I can't tell who agrees with who. It just sounded like you were sort of supporting me, now you say you aren't?"

I'm actually agreeing with you. A lot of reply's must be going on at the same time. I've noticed them to be all out of sorts.

Credentials are only as good as a persons honesty or morality.
Money can sure change minds.


RE: Bull!
By damonlynch on 7/6/2010 11:48:52 AM , Rating: 1
Reclaimer77, I'm going to say this for the last time in this discussion: your claim is that you are in a better position than esteemed scientific bodies to make claims about the validity of climate science than they are. You offer no evidence that you have any justification in doing so. You have demonstrated no track record in scientific analysis. Furthermore, you offer no evidence that you understand how science progresses. The onus is on you to put up or stop making a fool of yourself.

I, on the other hand, am not challenging the climate scientists that I know better than they do. There is no need for me to demonstrate my scientific skills for me to find their analysis compelling. Similarly, if I visit a dentist and listen to her / his advice, there is no need for me to demonstrate that I'm an expert in dentistry. I listen to what the dentist says, and in as much as possible, make an informed decision.

This is all very simple.


RE: Bull!
By Ammohunt on 7/6/2010 2:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
So by your own admission Reclaimer77's belief on this subject has just as much weight as yours. Someone here is more gullible though


RE: Bull!
By damonlynch on 7/7/2010 11:39:38 AM , Rating: 2
No, I didn't say that at all. Reclaimer77's scientific understanding is a joke. Critics such as yourself seem to totally lack even a rudimentary understanding of science, and yet don't hesitate to shoot your mouths off talking as if you know something.


RE: Bull!
By LordSooooStupid on 7/5/2010 3:16:33 PM , Rating: 1
"So in short Reclaimer77, you appear to have no scientific credentials"

And where are yours? Let me guess, between your multiple accounts, you are now an expert yourself? I think you are just another hypocrite such as "lordPot". No free thinking at all here people, move along. Just another pie hole taking one or three for team Obama.


RE: Bull!
By YashBudini on 7/5/2010 5:05:51 PM , Rating: 2
"So in short Reclaimer77, you appear to have no scientific credentials whatsoever - no track record of published scientific work, for instance. Nothing that would indicate you actually know anything substantive about what you're so aggressively discussing. In short, you have zero credibility when it comes to climate research, or evolutionary science, etc. "

IE he has all the credentials of a Faux Newscaster.


RE: Bull!
By sprockkets on 7/5/2010 5:09:56 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Those boards have fuses on them so if a low voltage short happens, they won't be damaged.


Didn't help in his case. Fuse blew but the damage was already done.

Don't rely on hi/low pressure switches or float switches to save your butt either.

quote:
Besides, terrible analogy. That is something you can visually quantifiably inspect and observe. We're talking about something that "happened" eons ago. No proof. No evidence. No witnesses/documentation.


Since you missed the point, let me explain it in terms you can understand: The OP mentioned that just having a brain is all you need. Well, apparently not everyone is a mechanic, computer tech, lawyer, doctor or scientist, so you have to take their word for it when they say x or y is broke or this is why it is the way it is.

That's not to say you should take everything without proof. A person may not understand what a cap does for a compressor, but he/she can at least demand to keep the broken part as proof that I replaced it for a reason.


RE: Bull!
By SPOOFE on 7/5/2010 3:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Get my point?

So... because your lawyer's an idiot, only people with diplomas can be smart?


RE: Bull!
By Amiga500 on 7/5/2010 3:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
There was me thinking all lawyers are idiots ;-)


RE: Bull!
By SPOOFE on 7/5/2010 4:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
Which just makes his example even worse, doesn't it? :D


RE: Bull!
By sprockkets on 7/5/2010 5:16:24 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
So... because your lawyer's an idiot, only people with diplomas can be smart?


He's a good lawyer. He's a terrible electrician. Admit your limitations and hire someone to help you with what you don't know.

Another lawyer decided to ask on an a/c forum the proper way of replacing a TXV, then asked me and my fellow tech what we were doing in order to see if we were doing it right. When he heard and saw we were doing it correctly, he called our supervisor to thank us for doing the job right.

IANAL. He's not an HVAC tech. I'm not a scientist. If they say with reasonable evidence that the world is billions of years old, then it is.


RE: Bull!
By cyclosarin on 7/5/2010 10:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Another lawyer decided to ask on an a/c forum the proper way of replacing a TXV, then asked me and my fellow tech what we were doing in order to see if we were doing it right. When he heard and saw we were doing it correctly, he called our supervisor to thank us for doing the job right.


So you're saying a non-expert can do minimal research and find out if experts are doing it correctly or not.

You just seem to take issue when Reclaimer77 does it.


RE: Bull!
By Amiga500 on 7/5/2010 3:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Deferring to someone else's judgment does not make you intelligent...it just relieves yourself of the responsibility of thinking for yourself in the first place.


Actually, deferring to someone else's judgment is almost always a sign of someone who is smart enough to know what they don't know...

Better to hand a task off to someone else that knows more about the subject than plough on with little more than arrogance and hot air to get the job done.


RE: Bull!
By SPOOFE on 7/5/2010 4:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually, deferring to someone else's judgment is almost always a sign of someone who is smart enough to know what they don't know...

Your comment does not clash with Reclaimer's; he is correct that deferring to another does not make one intelligent. In that situation, a sign of intelligence would be WHO one defers to, and why.

quote:
Better to hand a task off to someone else that knows more about the subject than plough on with little more than arrogance and hot air to get the job done.

Better still to keep a critical eye on that someone else and scrap him, his work, and his opinion when it starts to look fishy. It's not like there's any shortage of smart dudes with opinions, and embracing a variety of opinions and having them compete helps ensure that the best idea wins out.


RE: Bull!
By arachnid on 7/5/2010 9:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
More trees means less CO2, which should result in cooling according to their peers, right?


RE: Bull!
By gamerk2 on 7/6/2010 8:26:30 AM , Rating: 2
Read up on Albedo. Darker surfaces absorb more solar radiation [Heat] then ligher ones. [Black absorbs, white reflects; basic science]. Therefore, more trees covering the ice would darken the planets surface, absorbing more heat in the process. The effects of Albedo have been extensivly studied, since modifiying a planets albedo has long been considered a key to any terraforming attempts [NASA did a LOT of studies in this area in regards to Mars in the late 70's...]

The theory itself is perfectly sound; whether its true is another matter. But you see how quickly climate science turns into a mess, with all the regional/global/solar factors to consider. Yes, more trees = more O2 = more cooling, but you also darken the planet which leads to more heat absorbtion.


RE: Bull!
By JediJeb on 7/6/2010 6:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
I had a funny thought that would go along with the article in a bad way. If the trees lead to warming, then we should cut down all the dark trees of the rain forests and replace them with light colored grasses or just soil to offset warming.

Just as the end of the article says, they don't know what caused what or to what extent. It is all just a guess, just as mine about cutting down all the trees. The only way to know for sure would be to cut them down, which would be a terrible idea.


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