La Brea Megafaunal Extinctions Driven by Fires 13,000 Years Ago

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions from Southern California were driven by large-scale fires in an ecosystem made increasingly vulnerable by climate change and human impacts, according to a new study. The findings, made possible by a new radiocarbon chronology of fossils from the La Brea tar pits, not only provide insights into the dynamics that contributed to Pleistocene extinctions, but inform understandings of modern ecological change. “The conditions that led to the end-Pleistocene state shift in Southern California are recurring today across the western United States and in numerous other ecosystems worldwide,” write the authors, “and understanding the interplay of climatic and anthropogenic changes in driving this past extinction event may be helpful in mitigating future biodiversity loss in the face of similar pressures.”

At the end of the last Ice Age, roughly two-thirds of Earth’s large mammals in most regions worldwide went extinct. This extinction – the largest of the Cenozoic – coincided with both late-Quaternary climate changes and the growth and expansion of human populations across continents. However, the timing, causes, and consequences of the end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions have been difficult to understand. Much of what is known about the event is based on fragmentary paleontological records that lack the chronological precision required to compare the timing of species disappearances to archaeological and environmental data. Using the abundant fossils preserved at the La Brea tar pits (Rancho La Brea) – a site that contains a nearly continuous record of Pleistocene megafaunal occupation of the Los Angeles Basin from more than 55,0000 years ago to the Holocene – Frank O’Keefe and colleagues investigated the potential drivers of megafaunal extirpations in Southern California. O’Keefe et al. obtained new AMS radiocarbon dates on 172 megafaunal individuals and developed a high-resolution radiocarbon chronology for the eight most common mammal species at La Brea from 15.6 to 10 thousand years before present (ka).

They found that 7 of these species were extinct in the region by 12.9 ka. Then, using local sediment core records, the authors evaluated the timing of these extirpations with regional paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental records, as well as continental-scale analyses of megafaunal extinction and human demographic growth in North America. According to the findings, the disappearance of megafauna at La Brea preceded North American megafaunal extinction by at least 1000 years, preceded the Younger Dryas climate event, and coincided with vegetation change and aridification at the end of the Bølling-Allerød – a brief climatic warming event that occurred between 14.6 and 12.8 ka. Moreover, the records reveal an increase in large-scale fire activity in the region, which the authors estimate was the primary cause of La Brea’s regional megafaunal extinction. In sum, O’Keefe et al. argue that this increase in fire may have resulted from climate change-induced warming and drying in conjunction with mounting impacts of human hunting and burning in an increasingly fire-prone ecosystem.





Pre-Younger Dryas megafaunal extirpation at Rancho La Brea linked to fire-driven state shift



From EurekAlert!

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Paul S
August 21, 2023 10:11 pm

Been awhile since we had a good EurekAlert.

Reply to  Paul S
August 25, 2023 6:55 pm

We still haven’t had a good one.

August 21, 2023 10:50 pm

Oh, FLOG, grassland and forest in nearly any climate are all going occasionally burn due to a week of dry weather and ignition by lightning. Whether science can detect the ash depends on where the ashes were transported by subsequent rains. Blaming megafaunal extinction on fire is a stretch. Human predation is more likely. Disease is more likely. Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis is more likely….

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 22, 2023 12:30 am

The nonexistent hypothetical impact can be definitively ruled out. If that non event wiped out North and South American megafauna, then how did megafauna on Caribbean islands survive until humans arrived there thousands of years later? Ditto mammoths on Wrangel Island?

Human predation was the difference during the last glacial termination. Megafauna survived climate change during the previous deglaciations.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 1:48 am

So what! As a vulnerable species you want to be the hunter or the hunted. The first task for humans in a new territory surely was to make the place as save as possible.  And why not use fire to remove large areas of animals that are dangerous to us. I would. Would we allow a tiger to walk the streets or a herd of elephants ? We don’t even allow a dog owner to walk their dog without a leash.

Reply to  Robertvd
August 22, 2023 2:10 am

We wiped out lots of species, large and small, which were not a threat to us, or our dogs and rats did. Our hunting and habitat destruction claimed many.

Dodos, Carolina parakeets, passenger pigeons, great auks, Steller’s sea cow, the Atlantic grey whale, Caribbean monk seals, etc., posed little or no danger to humans.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 2:27 am

Humans, not “We”.

Reply to  rah
August 22, 2023 4:25 am

We, as in our species.

Reply to  rah
August 22, 2023 4:42 am

Of course, it was human predation that wipes these species out.
We also used fire to control the environment, and comfort ourselves, not just to cook all that lovely meat! Just ask the aborigines how they did it.

The warm Holocene climate helped us develop civilization, now in cooler times our technology can help us adapt to its vagaries, hotter or cooler as we will get both before descending into the next inevitable Ice Age in a thousand years or so.
For those still in climate alarm mode due the misinformation fed us by scientific authority entities, my message is we will need all the new technology, electrical energy and atmospheric CO2 we can muster to get through the next few centuries until our population and political situation stabilizes at a new prosperous sustainable level. We need to regain our belief in scientific integrity and innovation, plus traditional environmental humanism to build the future.

Reply to  bobclose
August 22, 2023 7:31 am

Our current population levels are easily sustainable.

Reply to  MarkW
August 25, 2023 7:00 pm

No massively expanding population of any species continues to expand without a bust.

Reply to  bobclose
August 22, 2023 1:21 pm

Don’t look now, but the elitist’s want a considerable number of us dead. And it we, as in the US, don’t change course pretty quickly in Ukraine, they are likely to get their wish.

As for humans at that time, it is hard to imagine the hardships of being a hunter-gatherer. I don’t begrudge anything they did to survive or to try and make their short lives a little easier.

I objected to the use of the term “we” in such cases, because of the trend to eliminate history. The removal of statues and memorials of people who in the past were a product of their time and circumstances.

It was not “we” that had to live their tough lives. It was not “we” that held the Salem Witch trials. It was not “we” that were or owned slaves. It was not “we” the drove the natives from their lands. It was not “we” that fought WW II or any war prior to that. etc… It was them.

None of us are responsible for any of that in the past and their mistakes made should be remembered as should the good in us imperfect human beings. To condemn the human species for every ill without recognizing the circumstances of the times the events happened or any good that came of the actions is a sickness driven by racists, academics, and many politicians.

Words are their primary weapons and WE now should not empower such people by adopting their chosen terms, or use of words.

Reply to  rah
August 22, 2023 5:19 am

The Lone Ranger and Tonto, surrounded by hostiles…

Lone Ranger: Well Tonto, it looks like we’re done for.
Tonto: What you mean, “we,” paleface.

Tom Halla
Reply to  David Middleton
August 22, 2023 9:49 am

Tonto finallylearned what “tonto” means in Spanish—stupid

Richard Page
Reply to  Tom Halla
August 22, 2023 10:21 am

Yeah similar in Italian but it means something different in Apache or Comanche – ‘wild one’ or ‘crazy one’.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 2:27 am

 Why work if it is free to take. Of course you will eventually run out of free stuff. Now you have to produce livestock and work. Also the reason why only the rich and powerful are allowed to hunt when population grows.

Reply to  Robertvd
August 22, 2023 4:27 am

Where I’m from, everyone can hunt, but I see your point for Europe and Asia.

Richard Page
Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 10:26 am

In Europe everyone can hunt as well, it’s just that most prey animals don’t exist in the wild any more, we really have run out of the ‘free stuff’. The ‘rich and powerful’ are the ones that have used their money to import or raise populations of animals and birds they can hunt; essentially livestock.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 2:47 am

Dodos” still exist…

… they just disguise themselves as climate alarmists.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 2:52 am

The Goodies did great skit on why Dodos went extinct.

Unfortunately can’t find it.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 9:29 am

….our dogs and rats….
More likely the disease on their fleas….

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 22, 2023 2:32 pm

Rats are dodo eggs.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 7:37 pm

Ate. No diseases need apply.

Which diseases do you imagine wiped out the megafauna? Thanks!

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 2:01 pm

Most extinctions happen not from hunting or habitat destruction. It from introduction of evasive species and diseases.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
August 22, 2023 2:34 pm

You mean invasive, but hunting and habitat destruction caused the recent extinctions I mentioned and many others.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
August 25, 2023 7:09 pm

invasive species?

Reply to  Robertvd
August 22, 2023 4:15 am

Forests are terrible as sources of food for humans, while grasslands are great sources of food for humans. That has always been true. While primeval forests are great to visit and contemplate nature, they’re useless for feeding millions or billions of people. Virtually all of the food sources we take for granted today – cereal grains, corn, cattle feed, and cattle and other domesticated animals – are all products of grasslands not woodlands. Which is why even in areas dominated by woodlands, when humans concentrated socially in towns and cities they had to burn down large areas of forest in order to grow food in sufficient quantity.

Recent studies using airborne LIDAR sensors in overflights of some of the world’s great rain forests today shows that hundreds to thousands of years ago great human civilizations flourished and large areas of forest were cleared for intensive agriculture, not just the Mayans in Central America, but even in what is today the Amazon basin. Only after those civilizations collapsed did the forest reestablish itself in such density such that the human constructed landscape was invisible except to modern airborne sensors.

See – the science is NOT settled, never was, and never will be.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Duane
August 22, 2023 2:11 pm

“while grasslands are great sources of food for humans.” Wrong the American Indians did not occupy most of the great plains. They primary lived on along the forest and rivers. Not until did the introduction of horses did it allow for exploitation of the plains.  Humans cannot eat grass and most animals that live on the plains will flee long before a human on foot can get near then. Have you every driven across a plains state? Try imagine walking across one.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
August 22, 2023 10:36 pm

Thousands of years ago, ancient Americans drove bison over “jumps” to their deaths, where their resources were harvested.

The mass kill sites on the Great Plains date from 12,000 years ago to historic times.

Reply to  Milo
August 25, 2023 8:14 pm

Take an atlas and mark the “jumps” that are high enough to kill tough animals.

There are not that many and they tend to all be clustered in specific environments.
That is before going into what it takes to ‘drive’ large animals over the jump.

Then one needs to ask where are the millions of bones from all of the animals that extirpated their race by jumping over a cliff?

The oversimplified concept ‘driven to jump’ method is absurdly over stated by modern people.
It’s their excuse.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
August 25, 2023 8:09 pm

Not quite.

No one likes to store water for long periods in animal stomachs, bladders or coarse clay pots.
Of course, Native Americans (NA) lived near water!

In the forests, NA learned to remove trees from plots of land, (by girdling the tree and leaving it to rot).

Plots of land that NA turned into cropland or meadows.
Crops need no more elucidation.

Meadows provide fodder for grazers and browsers and are excellent locations for berry and fruit plants.

We’ve discussed grazers and browsers before, but it bears repeating.
Grazers eat grass plants or leaves.
Cattle and bison are primarily grazers, but bison are known to eat large quantities of browse.

Browsers eat woodier plants than grass, branch tips, branches and some of the leaves.
Practically every other vegetative consumer in North America are browsers; quail, grouse, turkeys, deer, moose.

There is also a subspecies of bison, the wood bison. The wood bison living in East Coast forests were extirpated before the 20th century. Bison living in forests are likely browsers, since getting found eating their crops or berry bushes is a certain way to become dinner.

Turkeys, squirrels, grouse and many other animals happily eat nuts.
Remember, North American Eastern forests were 75% American chestnut. Nor are the beech and hickory trees slouches at producing abundant nuts every year.
White oak trees produce abundant acorns preferable to deer, bear and turkeys.

Most of the animals in North America that became extinct became extinct because of the meat trade.
Meat hogs supplied cheap meat to the cities any way they could, explosives, shooting or trapping every animal/fish no matter the size or age.

Market gunners were decimating water fowl when hunters spoke up demanding protection for the birds. Hunters volunteered to pay an excise tax to support game laws, licenses and wardens.

Unfortunately, only the United States implemented such precautions and nothing protected waterfowl where many of them nest up in North Canada.
Ducks unlimited was formed by hunters to specifically address protecting nest habitat up in Canada.

Carolina parakeet, passenger pigeon, woods bison, even deer in a number of states were shot to supply meat to the cities.

Out west, meat hogs rode the new trains into fresh country where they used explosives to kill all of the fish in pools, ponds and lakes they could get reach.
Newspapers wrote about the train car loads of fish, primarily trout heading east.

Bison were killed in high numbers in the late 19th century.
This was encouraged by General Crook who knew he had to wage total war on the Indian tribes.
Again, writes wrote about bison being harvested for their meat, hides, or just their tongues, to be sent back east to the cities.

Hunter gatherers were well aware that totally stripping an environment of game, nuts, fruit, tubers means certain starvation in following years. Native Americans were very careful about planning their food needs and worked hard to support them.

Forests are excellent sources of food.

As Willis stated, show us the bodies! There have been far fewer extinctions than most people believe.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 9:27 am

Milo, so the black line about 13000 years worth of dirt ago…was caused by what ? Megafauna diarrhea ?

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 22, 2023 2:40 pm

Dust accumulation in spring fed marshes, as known for more than a decade.

There is not a shred of valid evidence supporting the baseless YDI conjecture and all the evidence in the world against it.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 5:10 pm

For evisceration of this fantasy, please see this and prior posts on WUWT:

The original perpetrator of this zombie “hypothesis” is a convicted fraudster who changed his name after conviction. Two publishing so as not to perish proponents, nuclear chemist Firestone (b. c. 1945) and marine geologist Kennett, with academic credentials who promoted the speculation have now retired and no reputable geologist has taken up the baseless, repeatedly (since 2007) thoroughly shown false conjecture.

In fact, as of this year, past papers published on the fantasy and those under review are being scrutinized for further fraud.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 22, 2023 12:54 am

What a stretch – there was increased human hunting and burning, but somehow the natural burning caused the extinction?????

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 22, 2023 3:53 am

The presumption by these authors is that the climate change they described was “bad” – while woodland creatures and megafauna may have have had it bad, other species and particularly humans benefited greatly from this chapter of climate change.

The flip side, of course, is that when the Los Angeles area converted from woodland to dryer grassland as a result of the natural climate change at the end of the last glaciation/beginning of current interglacial period, it was entirely natural and predictable that woodland species will disappear and grassland species will take their place in the ecosystem.

And oh, what else was different around 13 KYA? Maybe it was the arrival of large numbers of humans in this now particularly hospitable climate zone

One of the things about grasslands vs. woodlands is that they are far better adapted to both hunting and gathering by humans. Dense forests yield little food for humans who have not yet developed agriculture. Humans naturally aggregated themselves in grasslands until the advent of agriculture, when humans began burning down forests in order to grow food crops, even within the dense Amazonian rain forest and the jungles of Central America.

Human hunters have long been believed to have been responsible for hunting the megafauna to extinction, because they had the tools (spears and atlatls) and because the killing of just one beast could feed a family group for weeks.

Every archaeologist knows this stuff, but apparently not these climate “scientists”.

Reply to  Duane
August 22, 2023 7:34 am

Newer evidence shows that the arrival of humans in the Americas was closer to 20 to 25 thousand years ago.

Reply to  MarkW
August 22, 2023 9:12 am

20-25 KYA is when 2km thick ice sheets covered much of north AmerIca and subarctic conditions prevailed in the rest. The Americas could not support human populations at all on the ice sheet, and only very light populations everywhere else. The scarcity of bones and artifacts from that time period, as compared to the abundance of evidence of human populations in Eurasia proves ther were very few humans in the Americas that long ago.

It was the explosion in human populations in the Americas as a result of the end of the last glaciation, that led to the megafauna going extinct beginning around around 12 KYA and the rise of the “Clovis culture”. By that time humans had spread all over North America

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Duane
August 22, 2023 2:29 pm

Where the humans traveled was along the oceans, of course that evidence is hard to find since it is now under 200 ft under water. The glacier did not cover much of the lower 48 and little of Alaska. The tropics were then as they were today. The tropics have not had a temperature swing of + or – 1 C in 24 million years. Linguist who have studied the the diverse language of Americas concluded that the minimum time for such diversity to occur was 40 thousand years. A honest assessment is humans have been in the Americas a very long time.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 22, 2023 4:11 am

“Blaming megafaunal extinction on fire is a stretch. Human predation is more likely.”

Human predation is a good guess. Humans started in North America on the west coasts, where they killed the megafauna they found there, and it took humans 1,000 more years to work their way into the center of the continent where they wiped out the megafauna there. It makes perfect sense.

And blaming human causes of any kind on the changing climate of that time is more than a stretch, it’s a stupid idea. These scientists are obsessed with CO2. They see it in everything that has to do with the Earth’s climate whether it is there or not. It’s a mental illness.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 22, 2023 7:27 am

Both the flora and fauna had survived several previous glaciation cycles. What was unique about the latest cycle? Primarily the arrival of man.
August 21, 2023 11:04 pm

The location of the Brea Tar Pits is only a few short kilometres from the current shoreline. About the time of the mass extinctions are underway, rapid changes to sea level are occurring from 18,000 years BP (Fairbrige R W, 1960). The question is do the influence of the rapid advances and retreats during the changes to the sea levels, on the way to the current level, with the climate lead to the mass extinctions of the mega flora?

There were 4 major advances and retreats during the period 20,000 years BP to 6,000 years BP. The climate changes that occurred with these events must have had some contribution on the extinction of the megafauna in this area (and others as well such as Australia).

To date, there have been no reports of fossils or their host material collected offshore the Los Angeles Basin at depths commensurate with the onshore burial grounds.

I found the whole tar pit on-site set up most interesting.

Reply to
August 22, 2023 12:34 am

Australian megafauna died out before the last glacial maximum, shortly after the arrival of H. sapiens sapiens there. Same as happened in Europe, Asia, the Americas and later on oceanic islands like Madagascar, Hawaii, New Zealand, Mauritius, etc.

Reply to
August 22, 2023 5:47 am

Also, when ice a mile high melts in a relatively short period of time, landscape changes can be quite dramatic. One can imagine what a full Great Basin might have been like in what is today desert.

abolition man
Reply to  Scissor
August 22, 2023 7:18 am

Aaaaah! I miss the days of sunning and sipping margaritas on the shores of Lake Bonneville!

August 21, 2023 11:15 pm

They’re saying major species went extinct because early man made some fires? Good grief, talk about grasping at straws.

Reply to  Decaf
August 22, 2023 12:42 am

Humans do use fire as a hunting tool.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 2:09 am

Large scale Barbecue.

Reply to  Milo
August 22, 2023 10:15 am

It’s easy to envision tribes using fire to herd the dire wolves and sabre tooth tigers to their death in the tar swamps as often as possible….I live an hour drive from intermittently wooded areas where early fur traders recorded the natives setting prairie fires to direct the buffalo herds to riverside cliffs, the grass prairie gaps between wooded patches being the result of decades earlier arson of the brushlands.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 22, 2023 2:38 pm

Humans and humanoids have been using fire to alter the landscape for about a million years. Do you think the early use was only to cook food and keep warm? I know of a open prairie in the middle of Minnesota north woods. The reason it there is somewhat due to fire but more to soil conditions and drought. The soil is light and dries out fast. During a drought if a fire occurs for what ever reason the trees will burn all the way to the roots and beyond. Three miles away not so much.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 22, 2023 7:50 pm

Humans didn’t use fire to herd the dire wolves and sabertooths to their dooms, but the herbivores upon which they preyed.

August 21, 2023 11:39 pm

Ahh Jeez Louise!

August 21, 2023 11:51 pm

Coming out of a major ice age, I’m sure the weather back then would have been more chaotic than now. More than likely frequent thunderstorms resulting in regular lightning strikes creating fires… But of course it’s all man’s fault.

Reply to  aussiecol
August 22, 2023 12:37 am

American megafauna had survived repeated climate changes during prior glacial terminations. The difference at the last one was presence of modern human hunters where the big animals were naïve.

Even in Africa, where big game species evolved alongside humans, so were hip to our tricks, the megafaunal extinction rate increased 20 fold after anatomically modern humans appeared, compared to the previous 1.5 million years.

Reply to  aussiecol
August 22, 2023 2:36 am

Earth is in an Ice Age right now and has been for the last 2.6 My. The cooling of the climate made Megalodon go extinct approximately 3.6 million years ago.

Reply to  Robertvd
August 22, 2023 5:20 am

Snorkeling could be so much more exhilarating today.

abolition man
Reply to  Robertvd
August 22, 2023 7:38 am

Some claim that the evolution of orcas into a social animal helped with the extinction of Megalodon. You can see modern orcas killing Great White Sharks in numerous videos.
I have heard claims that they went after Megalodon young, but some modern orcas seem only interested in the Great Whites liver. Maybe some fava beans on the side!

old cocky
Reply to  abolition man
August 22, 2023 3:39 pm

and a nice Chianti?

Reply to  abolition man
August 23, 2023 9:13 pm

All members of the dolphin family are highly social animals.

Reply to  aussiecol
August 22, 2023 3:57 am

But of course it’s all man’s fault.

There’s the rub. For the last million years or so, we’ve been in an ice age interspersed with brief (10,000 year or so) interglacial periods. Obviously the climate changes with no help from humans. ie. climate change is the natural state of things.

I was raised on stories of catastrophic climate change, aka the dirty thirties, which occurred within living memory.

The real deniers are those who deny natural climate change, especially our dear Michael Mann who fraudulently* tried to wipe out the Medieval Warm Period.

*He dragged out his libel case against Tim Ball for so long that the court tossed his case out. In any event, he avoided presenting evidence under his control and that gives rise to adverse inference, ie. that he had something to hide. Ball quipped that Mann belonged in state pen rather than Penn State. It looks like, by not properly pursuing his case against Ball, that Mann has admitted that he does indeed belong in state pen.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  commieBob
August 22, 2023 4:23 am

Yes, Michael Mann did not want to show his work.

That tells us all we need to know about Michael Mann’s work.

And of course, there were the numerous debunkings of Michael Mann’s work (Hockey Stick).

Michael Mann deserves ridicule, at the very least.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  commieBob
August 22, 2023 11:39 am

Unfortunately, Mann is still getting attention in the MSM these days with all these wildfire and meteorological events going on. Mann will always be there when the alarmist MSM wants to blame it all on the climate alarmist narrrative….

Michael Mann Discussing Maui Wildfires on CNN with Jim Acosta (Aug 19 2023) – YouTube

Michael Mann: Intense wildfires a ‘direct manifestation of the human-caused warming of the planet’ – YouTube

Out of all the scientists in the climate or climate-related field, they keep choosing him. This isn’t about the climate, is it?

August 22, 2023 12:53 am

Story tip

They really do dislike Oliver Anthony’s song….

Bragg’s song advocates taking action and joining a union, and rewrites lines from Anthony’s song.

Bragg is dire at the best of times…

Tom Abbott
Reply to  strativarius
August 22, 2023 4:36 am

Radical Leftists don’t like populism, because the radical Left is not really a supporter of the “little guy”.

For radical Leftists, it’s all about the political power, and populism just gets in the way. They feign support for the litle guy in their efforts to gain political power. Their real goal is to protect their Elite status, and they will step on little guys to get that done, like they are doing now, with Trump and his 75 million supporters.

Will the Republican debate tomorrow night address the attacks on the U.S. Constitution by the radical Democrats? If they don’t, then none of them are worthy of being president because they are missing the Big Picture, which is that the radical Democrats are trying to steal the nation right out from under the rest of us, using the powers of the federal government against the People and the People’s representatives.

If this isn’t the top priority of each Republican candidate, then they are not up to the job. They don’t see the danger right in front of them. They don’t see that they could be “Trumped”, next, if this problem isn’t solved.

Vivek did himself some real harm by taking the position that the U.S. and Israel should end their special relationship. A huge mistake. This came out of Left Field. I don’t know Vivek’s thinking on why he reached this conclusion, but I’m sure it kills his presidential prospects and vice presidential prospects. He just ruined his campaign by taking this position.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 22, 2023 12:33 pm

Well, I just saw Vivek on tv, and apparently his quotes were distorted by the Leftwing Media to make it appear that Vivek was prepared to throw Israel under the bus, but Vivek gave a more than adequate response just now, and has shown himself to be a strong supporter of Israel.

So Vivek is still in the race! He didn’t knock himself out by saying something stupid.

Reply to  strativarius
August 22, 2023 7:44 am

The radical left is convinced that their “solutions” will perfect the world. How many times have we heard one leftist or another whine that blue collar workers are “voting against their interests” every time they support a conservative politician.

Richard Page
Reply to  strativarius
August 22, 2023 10:32 am

Billy Bragg is an idiot, he always has been. Far from being a ‘Radical Lefty’ he was always part of the left-wing mainstream establishment – he’s always been part of the system he, apparently, despises.

August 22, 2023 1:19 am

Naive megafauna and new kid [predator] on the block using fire.
Megafauna critters were probably slow to reproduce as little ate them.
Humans didn’t have to kill the big critters, just the easy babies.
Soon causes reproduction problems.

Same thing happenned in Australia. Megafauna made it through many climate fluctuations but were soon gone after humans [and fire] arrived.

Reply to  GrjgiK
August 22, 2023 7:46 am

There is plenty of evidence that humans hunted the adults as well as the juveniles. It was probably easier to hunt lone adults than it would have been to hunt a juvenile that was being protected by the herd.

Reply to  MarkW
August 22, 2023 10:29 am

Humans don’t have to kill many….just more often than the big animal’s reproductive cycle allows replacement…and in 1000 years….extinction….

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 22, 2023 1:58 am

It’s climate change everywhere, left right and center. Even if the climate didn’t change at all, that would in itself be climate change.

Something that explains everything does not explain anything at all.

Peta of Newark
August 22, 2023 2:15 am

Aw so sweet, they’re trying to:

  • be diplomatic
  • be politically correct
  • save their skins
  • not be accused of tree hugging
  • obey their kindergarten training & brainwashing
  • not do anything to upset the notion that ‘Humans are Perfect’

….when they say:drying in conjunction with mounting impacts of human hunting and burning in an increasingly fire-prone ecosystem.

Read between the lines and get a clear and proper timeline in your head.
There’s only one thing actually really relevant to that timeline:
Namely: Trees & Forest is The Default Vegetation Type on this Earth

IOW Human critters burned their own house down and left a desert in their wake.
(There is completely nothing ever occurs in any tree that is of any interest or use to us)

And we continue our rampage – while ‘some power‘ gave us the wits, the tools and all the resources needed to reverse that horrendous damage. Which now accounts for 38% of all the ‘dry land’ area on Planet Earth.
That Earth’s ‘growing season‘ as seen via the Keeling Curve is now down to 3 months per year, (decreasing by 3 days annually) when it should be 12 months long

So what do we do: Quibble over the Dancing Angels and what the Emperor’s wearing

Is possible to have sympathy for that degree of (self inflicted) stupidity.

Not that sympathy does any good, Empathy is what’s needed.
But if me/you/anyone/Trump expresses that: They’re pushed off a cliff

Reply to  Peta of Newark
August 22, 2023 7:50 am

Whether an area is dominated by trees, grassland or deserts, is entirely determined by the amount of rainfall received.

Please support your belief that the growing season should be 12 months per year?
Pray explain how plants and animals developed hibernation strategies if such strategies only became necessary after man developed agriculture.

August 22, 2023 2:45 am

Story tip.

Neptune’s clouds linked to solar cycles.

New Study: Neptune’s Weather Driven By Solar Activity – Electroverse

*** Of course, solar energy and clouds have no effect on Earth…

… the only thing that changes anything is human released CO2 ! 😉

Reply to  bnice2000
August 22, 2023 8:58 am

Good point. We don’t really know what the sun is capable of. Could there be solar flares so powerful that they could rain fire on this planet? Humans show figures in their petroglyphs and cave paintings that may very well be related to some form of energy phenomenon.
There must be a reason why everywhere on earth we find the fire-breathing dragon in mythology.

Richard Page
Reply to  Robertvd
August 22, 2023 10:34 am

Well you’ve got to explain how big fires get started so why not fire breathing dragons? It’s no more crazy than climate chamge!

Ireneusz Palmowski
August 22, 2023 2:48 am

Cool fronts from the northwest bring precipitation to California’s mountains.
It will be a wet year in California, but California’s climate is quite variable.
comment image

Peta of Newark
August 22, 2023 2:57 am

Timing is everything, look what just drifted in….(attached) from here

So many unsaid things going there..

affluent investors‘ = its all about Money’showcase ecological‘ = looking to get laid (they won’t)’cars‘ = yet again, i.e The Toads of England (Toad Hall) get what toads deserve’government pushing for land‘ = everyone simultaneously wants to be a farmer but hates them (they are = ‘rich’ you see, they’ve got what I want.’8.9 million hectares‘ = there are 6,270 Million hectares of bone dry burned out and wasted sandy-desert out there. Was something wrong with ‘rewilding’ that?But otherwise, see what they’re doing?

Putting ever greater (erosional) pressure on UK farmlandOff-shoring food productionBut off course just like energy production, all that needed are a few ™Food Windmills© planted out in the North Sea and everything will be fine.
Those nifty Chinee people will oblige with something suitably cheap, nasty, tacky AND, come with planned obsolescence like everything else does that comes from China.
What could possibly go wrong

Here is that stupidity I railed about elsewhere today – we’re doing All The Wrong Things to fix a real, but insanely misdiagnosed, problem.

Rewilding UK.PNG
August 22, 2023 3:49 am

Memo to all college freshmen in the sciences: correlation is not causation. Yet because their professors never figured that out, they are being taught just the opposite. Take a little bit of cherry picked data, develop a theory based upon the researcher’s biases (especially attuned to producing grant monies and getting published after the fact), and “voila!” – correlation really IS causation.


real bob boder
August 22, 2023 5:53 am

Big animal hard to kill, ahh.
Big animal run from fire, ahh
Lite fire and and trap big animal when it runs our way. We eat!!

abolition man
Reply to  real bob boder
August 22, 2023 7:43 am

Early Americans used fire to drive herds of buffalo off cliffs. The Spanish explorers losing some of their horses changed that practice completely, and the rest is history!

August 22, 2023 7:16 am

The above article is an excellent reveal of how both the journal Science and the “peer review” process have become so inept that incompatible statements are not even recognized prior to publication. To wit:

Lead in sentence of above article:
“Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions from Southern California were driven by large-scale fires in an ecosystem made increasingly vulnerable by climate change and human impacts, according to a new study.”
That is a straightforward, declaratory sentence . . . no waffling, no ifs, ands or buts.

Then, what do we find as the final sentence of the above article:
“In sum, O’Keefe et al. argue that this increase in fire may have resulted from climate change-induced warming and drying in conjunction with mounting impacts of human hunting and burning in an increasingly fire-prone ecosystem.”
(my bold emphasis added)

As a side note, O’Keefe et al. did not go so far as to assert that the Pleistocene climate change was attributable to human emissions of CO2 . . . therefore, this publication will most likely receive little attention worldwide.

August 22, 2023 7:25 am

At the end of the glaciation state, temperatures increased by over 10C. Today temperatures might be going up by as much as 0.5C.

Are they actually trying to argue that modern climate stresses equal or exceed the climate stresses at the end of the last glaciation?

August 22, 2023 9:55 am

Who ever paid for this nonsense needs to be fired.

Andy Pattullo
August 22, 2023 11:03 am

AAAS – American Society for the Advancement of Speculation.

So the big cats are gone because of careless smoking, a fondness for BBQ and divine retribution for humanity’s audacious insistence on living.

Oh and the dinosaurs? – that was future human’s who didn’t heed the call to kill themselves off but instead travelled backward through time and invented the Jurassic Loyal Order of Buffalos – a beer infused trophy hunting club with a penchant for large SUV hovercraft and big game ray guns.

Gunga Din
August 22, 2023 11:22 am

The touched all the bases.
Climate change.
Man’s fault.
A Home Run!

August 22, 2023 1:07 pm

Donald Trump will soon be indicted for this further outrage.

Mark Luhman
August 22, 2023 2:42 pm

If California was like Arizona the lowlands were Ponderosa Pine. Note to educated idiots Ponderosa Pine need fire to stay healthy. Fire and most forest more often than not, go together. That even more so for prairie. Grass need fire to suppress woody plants.

Edward Katz
August 22, 2023 6:20 pm

How many humans inhabited what is now the Southwest at the time, and how many fires could they have set? If the population was low to begin with, how many animals did they have to kill for food, and did these animals suddenly start losing their reproductive capabilities as a result? I’ve read that in the state of Wisconsin alone thousands or deer are killed annually by sport hunters; yet I haven’t heard of the species being eradicated there or anywhere in the adjacent states and Canadian provinces which combined currently have a much greater human population than would have existed in those prehistoric areas thousands of years ago. I can see where a naturally-occurring climate change could have caused a gradual extinction, but I can’t see how a small human population could have had any major effect either by hunting or by having any impact on the climate.

Andy Pattullo
August 23, 2023 9:50 am

The “humans killed off megafauna” theory is just a theory. It might be true but it might just be a preferred explanation for those who think humans are a blight on Earth. There is clear evidence humans hunted megafauna, but if that led to extinctions in the now temperate to arctic regions and, according to this article, the SW US, then why in Africa, where humans first emerged and human societies first grew to significant scale, are the megafauna still happily filling the grasslands with their huge numbers? One might also ask if the extinct megafauna were not just replaced by newer related species or subspecies with better adaptation to the changing environment just as various species of hominids gradually receded as new species evolved until our current species (Homo sapient) became the survivors of the evolutionary race. Woolly mammoths and mastodons are gone but their close cousins the elephants remain. Same with big cats, rhinos, and many others. They may not have gone extinct but simply evolved under environmental challenges.

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
August 25, 2023 1:39 pm

Anatomically Modern humans did wipe out many megafaunal species in Africa. Elephants, Cape buffalo and rhinos, being harder to hunt, had time to evolve along with humans. They weren’t naive like mammoths and rhinos in Europe and mammoths, mastodons and gomphotheres in the Americas.

It’s not a theory but a fact that megafauna died out after the arrival of AMHs in Europe, Asia, Australia, the Americas and oceanic islands. Coincidences? I think not.

August 25, 2023 6:49 pm

Peer-Reviewed Publication“: yeah, right. “Peer Pal-Reviewed”

The findings, made possible by a new radiocarbon chronology of fossils from the La Brea tar pits, not only provide insights into the dynamics that contributed to Pleistocene extinctions, but inform understandings of modern ecological change.”

We obtained radiocarbon dates on 172 specimens from seven extinct and one extant species”

172 specimens from 1 location. From this and some other “using local sediment core records”.

So, these ‘researchers’ are qualified on radiocarbon dating and sediment cores?

They never mention how they can overlook tar pits are molten to semi-molten near 100% carbon compounds.
Skeletons sink and later may rise with liquid movement.
Meaning, most older skeletons have sink down to depths where pressures are higher than the surface tar.
That is, how can they prove the carbon they tested is uncontaminated?

From the linked paper:

“we compared our analyses of population structure and megafaunal extirpation against well-resolved regional and continental paleoclimatic proxies, vegetation records, and modeled human demographic growth.”

How about that?!
Expert sediment core analyzers, expert radiocarbon dating and now expert computer model programmers…

“Modeling of extinction timing using several methods established that all taxa except coyotes were extirpated from RLB by 12.9 ka, before the onset of the Younger Dryas and well before the continental extinction of North American megafauna. The disappearance of all taxa was synchronous except for camels and sloths

I gather the programmers didn’t bother to keep up with the latest timeline for humans on this continent? Humans have been on this continent in excess of 20,000 years.

Instead, confirmation bias is evident in their “disappearance of all taxa was synchronous”.
My understanding is that different fauna died off thousands of years apart depending upon locale.

Amazingly, 12.9 thousand years ago and these researchers were able to determine:
This state shift appears to have been triggered by human-ignited fires in an ecosystem stressed by rapid warming, a megadrought, and a millennial-scale trend toward the loss of large herbivores from the landscape.

It was humans wot did it!
riiiggghhhttt, sure it was.

Reply to  ATheoK
August 25, 2023 6:55 pm

I still can’t edit comments as when I try to save the revised comment, I get an error nag “You are posting comments too fast, slow down.

Edited comment remains unsaved.

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