Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 2nd, 2010
The new extreme skeptical point of view that Mammoth-killing space blast ‘off the hook’ is told by Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, in an article in the BBC News.
The theory that the great beasts living in North America 13,000 years ago were killed off by a space impact can now be discounted, a new study claims.
Mammoths, giant bears, big cats and the like disappeared rapidly from the fossil record, and a comet or asteroid strike was seen as a possible culprit.
But tiny diamonds said to have been created in the collision have been misinterpreted, a US-UK team says.
Without these diamonds, the theory falls, the group tells PNAS journal.
“This was really the last pillar for this theory and I think it’s time now
everyone moved on,” said co-author Professor Andrew Scott, from Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, told BBC News.
“We looked for these diamonds and we couldn’t find them,” said Professor Scott.
“But not only that, [the proponents of the theory] have misinterpreted what are really just aggregations of carbon.
“There were frequent low-temperature fires all through this period – this is no big deal. And what happens is that the carbon in molecules gets re-ordered and this happens in very small domains, less than micron-sized areas.
“It’s not a high-temperature phenomenon; it happens at low temperatures.
Obviously, what they’ve done is take that material and identified these domains as diamonds when they’re not.”