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Did a cataclysmic event wipe out the Clovis hunters and their prey?

Scientists are examining evidence that points to a cataclysmic event which may have wiped out North American mega-fauna, as well as the Clovis hunter-gatherer culture, 13,000 years ago.

Haynes has dedicated his scientific career to the study of the Clovis people — the first well-defined culture in the New World — and discovered many sites with evidence of their presence in Arizona. One of the most prominent and most studied of those sites is the Murray Springs Clovis site in southeastern Arizona, where archaeologists and anthropologists have unearthed hundreds of artifacts such as arrowheads, spear points and stone tools. The site includes the remains of a Clovis hunters’ camp close to a mammoth and a bison kill site, allowing the researchers to reconstruct the daily life of the Clovis culture to a certain extent.

When the last ice age came to an end approximately 13,000 years ago and the glaciers covering a large portion of the North American continent began melting and retreating toward the north, a sudden cooling period known as the “Big Freeze” or, more scientifically, the Younger Dryas, reversed the warming process and caused glaciers to expand again. Even though this cooling period lasted only for 1,300 years, a blink of an eye in geologic timeframes, it witnessed the disappearance of an entire fauna of large mammals.

The big question, according to Haynes, is ‘Why did those animals go extinct in a very short geological timeframe?'”

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