Flying rock skepticism

less than 1 minute read

Anthropology.net reports on new work by François Paquay and colleagues that casts more doubt on the Younger Dryas impact event (“The Clovis comet that wasn’t? Mystery deepens”). I wrote about another paper by Todd Surovell and colleagues earlier this fall (“The Younger Dryas impact fizzle?”).

Why am I interested? There were several events during the Pleistocene that may have affected global climate – the Toba volcano stands out, but there are others also. It is really difficult to test whether these events actually affected human populations, however – the quality of evidence we have is very poor. But the Younger Dryas is recent enough that we have a lot more power to test the hypothesis that humans were affected by an impact.

Problem is, the geologists seem to disagree about whether an impact even happened!

I try to keep this in mind, when we see other reports (from a single event, or even a single core of lake sediments) that massive climate catastrophes must have decimated ancient human populations.