About 12,800 years ago, the last Ice Age was coming to an end, the planet was warming up. Then, inexplicably, the planet plunged into a deep freeze, returning to near-glacial temperatures for more than a millennium before getting warm again. The mammoths disappeared at about the same time, as did some Native American cultures that thrived on hunting them. That climatic event is known as The Younger Dryas.
According to the article in Science Magazine, they find no evidence for an impact:
The study “pulls the rug out from under the contrived impact hypothesis quite nicely,” says Christian Koeberl, a geochemist at the University of Vienna. Most evidence for the extraterrestrial impact hypothesis, he says, was conjured up “out of thin air.”
The notion was popularized in television documentaries and other coverage on the National Geographic Channel, History Channel, and the PBS program NOVA.
Now comes what some researchers consider the strongest attack yet on the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis. In a paper published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by David Meltzer, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, in Texas, looks at the dating of 29 different sites in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East in which impact advocates have reported evidence for a cosmic collision.
Only three of the 29 sites actually fall within the time frame of the Younger Dryas onset
From the publication:
A key element underpinning the controversial hypothesis of a widely destructive extraterrestrial impact at the onset of the Younger Dryas is the claim that 29 sites across four continents yield impact indicators all dated to 12,800 ± 150 years ago. This claim can be rejected: only three of those sites are dated to this window of time. At the remainder, the supposed impact markers are undated or significantly older or younger than 12,800 years ago. Either there were many more impacts than supposed, including one as recently as 5 centuries ago, or, far more likely, these are not extraterrestrial impact markers.
Chronological evidence fails to support claim of an isochronous widespread layer of cosmic impact indicators dated to 12,800 years ago
David J. Meltzer, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1401150111
David J. Meltzera, Vance T. Holliday, Michael D. Cannon, and D. Shane Miller
According to the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH), ∼12,800 calendar years before present, North America experienced an extraterrestrial impact that triggered the Younger Dryas and devastated human populations and biotic communities on this continent and elsewhere. This supposed event is reportedly marked by multiple impact indicators, but critics have challenged this evidence, and considerable controversy now surrounds the YDIH. Proponents of the YDIH state that a key test of the hypothesis is whether those indicators are isochronous and securely dated to the Younger Dryas onset. They are not. We have examined the age basis of the supposed Younger Dryas boundary layer at the 29 sites and regions in North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East in which proponents report its occurrence. Several of the sites lack any age control, others have radiometric ages that are chronologically irrelevant, nearly a dozen have ages inferred by statistically and chronologically flawed age–depth interpolations, and in several the ages directly on the supposed impact layer are older or younger than ∼12,800 calendar years ago. Only 3 of the 29 sites fall within the temporal window of the YD onset as defined by YDIH proponents. The YDIH fails the critical chronological test of an isochronous event at the YD onset, which, coupled with the many published concerns about the extraterrestrial origin of the purported impact markers, renders the YDIH unsupported. There is no reason or compelling evidence to accept the claim that a cosmic impact occurred ∼12,800 y ago and caused the Younger Dryas.