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Thread: Did a Chaotic Climate Drive Human Evolution?

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    Did a Chaotic Climate Drive Human Evolution?

    Humans have adapted to climate change in the past.

    Did a Chaotic Climate Drive Human Evolution?

    We owe much of our understanding of the human family tree to decades of fossil finds in East Africa. But whereas researchers know quite a lot about hominin bones, the environments our ancestors and evolutionary cousins inhabited are a different story—despite East Africa’s anthropological significance, climate records for the region have remained stubbornly sparse.


    Now, researchers have produced what they say is one of the first-ever continuous climate records from a proven habitat of ancient Homo sapiens.


    The new 620,000-year history of hydroclimate at Chew Bahir, a playa lake in southern Ethiopia, showed that the local climate swung dramatically between wet and dry extremes. Shifts in the intensity and frequency of those swings seem to have occurred alongside, and perhaps even driven, major events in hominin evolution. The results were published in Nature Geoscience.

    ***


    Climate Chaos and Human Evolution

    The new data revealed that Chew Bahir’s Pleistocene climate was marked by strong, abrupt swings between wet and dry conditions. Shifts in the frequency and intensity of these swings seem to have gone hand in hand with major transitions in human evolution—a finding that hints that climate may have driven our development as a species.


    Chew Bahir’s climate 620,000 years ago was wet and mostly stable, punctuated by a handful of dry periods that each lasted about a thousand years. The team thought this pattern would have fractured early human habitats and isolated small groups, which could have driven the increase in anatomical diversity of hominins seen during this time.


    Then, starting about 275,000 years ago, the swings between wet and dry conditions grew more frequent and intense. This chaotic climate would have changed too swiftly for biological evolution to keep pace—but cultural innovation could have. This period roughly corresponds to the emergence of better tools, long-distance transport, and symbolic use of pigment among local Homo sapiens populations.


    It wasn’t until about 60,000 years ago that Chew Bahir’s climate started to dry out, becoming something closer to the parched playa it is today.
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    https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-e...-now-20200721/


    Earth’s climate has fluctuated through deep time, pushed by these 10 different causes. Here’s how each compares with modern climate change.
    Last edited by Tahuyaman; 11-08-2022 at 11:12 AM.
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    The only problem is that we can't change it. The exception may be if we go back to creating heavy smog to substitute for volcanic ash.
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    We know climate change drives animal migrations and has been for Millions of years!
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