It turns out that the collision with heavenly bodies such as an asteroid impact does not always lead only to the destruction of life but might also have positive consequences.
Scientists believe that the defining moment in human evolution could be an asteroid that crashed into North America, in a place not far from Quebec, 12,900 years ago. The collision resulted in the establishment of a cooler and drier climate on the planet, which led to the birth of agriculture.
In North America, this incident led to the extinction of large animals, including giant sloths, camels, saber-toothed tigers, and mastodons. This forced the Americans, who were hunters, to go on a diet consisting of berries and roots.
At the same moment, in the eastern Mediterranean, the first farmers began to grow cereals. The emergence of agriculture was a major milestone on the path of major human settlements and the development of civilization.
Scientists agree that a sharp climate change took place at the beginning of the Younger Dryas, but differ in the reasons that caused it.
Previously, the most common explanation was an ice dam break, which resulted in the huge amounts of freshwater that got into the Atlantic Ocean. It blocked the warm tropical currents, leading to lower temperatures throughout the planet.
Asteroid impact and its consequences for human civilization
Now, scientists at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, led by Professor Mukul Sharma, tend to think that the asteroid that collided with Earth at the start of the Younger Dryas was to blame for this climate change.
No traces of the crater were found, but the researchers analyzed the pieces of solidified molten rock, dating from the same period, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and found pieces of exactly the same rocks in the Canadian province of Quebec.
The most likely cause of their formation, writes Times, is a very high temperature and pressure. As a rule, such findings are made at the point of an asteroid impact on Earth.
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