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Wet climate helped fuel Mongol invasion

A study of tree rings suggest that consistent rain and warm temperatures may have provided the Mongols with the energy needed to conquer Eurasia, namely grass for their horses.

LiveScience: What sort of climate patterns did you see as the Mongol Empire arose?

Hessl: It’s very preliminary, but in the couple of trees we have in that time period we can see that the rings are not only wide, but they’re consistently wide for the time that overlaps with the rise of Genghis Khan.

Our inference there is that this would have been an ideal time for high grassland productivity on the steppe, and that maybe translated into more livestock, especially horses for the Mongols.

To put it in perspective, each Mongol warrior had 10 horses at his disposal. Just right there, that’s a huge amount of biomass that is required. In addition to that, when the Mongols expanded their range in their traveling and marauding, they brought with them large numbers of livestock that they used to feed themselves. Their whole military operation was basically predicated on the fact that they had large numbers of grazing animals. These climate conditions would have given them more energy to fuel their empires.

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Story: Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience | Photo: Peter Zachar, Dreamstime

2 thoughts on “Wet climate helped fuel Mongol invasion

  1. The mongols did do a lot with the little resources that they had. It would make more sense that if they had the kind of climate that the tree rings indicate, they would have had more resources to fuel themselves to conquer the amount of land that they did.

  2. That is really cool! The Mongols were very dependent on horses and they gave them a great advantage over their enemies. This could be how the Mongols were able to rise and conquer. It was during Genghis Khan’s time that the Mongols seemed to gain a lot of ground.

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