Tech & Science According to a study, the Neanderthals died out after the magnetic poles of the earth reversed.
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The earth was shaken 42,000 years ago when the magnetic poles were reversed. The reversal phenomenon has been known since the late 1960s. However, scientists did not previously believe that reversing the magnetic poles also had a significant ecological effect.
According to a new, this assumption could now be refuted: According to this, the cosmic rays that have arisen could have greatly reduced the ozone content and thus opened the floodgates for more UV radiation in the atmosphere.
This could have intensified the ice cover over North America and the extreme drought in Australia, causing the extinction of many mammals - including that of the Neanderthals. "It would have been a very scary time, like the end of the world," said Chris Turney, geoscientist at the University of New South Wales. To this day,
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scientists are still unable to conclusively agree on how the Neanderthals became extinct. Some scientists assume anRemains of trees and caves could point to a climate catastrophe. . Others believe that the . However, with his study, Turney does not believe in any coincidence that the Neanderthals - shortly after the earth's magnetic poles reversed - became extinct.
In order to find out what exactly happened 42,000 years ago, researchers asked a survivor: An ancient kauri tree in New Zealand. The tree's annual rings are like a diary about the ecological influences of the last thousands of years. So the rings actually bring evidence of increased radiocarbon at the time of the reversal of the magnetic poles.
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During the reversal, the magnetic field that protects our planet from the solar wind (a stream of charged particles flowing from the sun) becomes weaker. “During the process of north changing to south and south to north, the earth's magnetic field almost disappears. This allows such particles from space to reach Earth, ”explains Turney.
When the solar wind hit the earth more intensely in the course of this process, the Neanderthals could have become extinct. Scientists have found red handprints made from earth colors in caves that are more than 40,000 years old. The researchers in the new study assume that the pigment was used as a sunscreen at the time.Another reversal of magnetic poles may be imminent
Not all scientists agree with Turney's analysis. Chris Stringer, an anthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London, told thethat it is not certain when exactly the Neanderthals became extinct. “They survived longer and spread far beyond Europe. We cannot exactly determine when they became extinct everywhere, ”says Stringer.
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James Channell, geologist at the University of Florida, told the news portal "" that investigations of the ice layers do not provide any clues for a climate catastrophe. Nevertheless, he believes there is a connection between the reversal of the magnetic poles and the extinction of the Neanderthals.
The new study also provides evidence that the earth's magnetic poles could change again. The earth's magnetic field has already become 9 percent weaker over the past 170 years. However, the scientists believe that the magnetic reversal, if it does come, is still in its initial phase. The earth's magnetic field is much stronger than when it was last reversed.
This text was translated from English and edited by Siw Inken Forke. You can find the original.
North Pole is shifting: These are the consequences .
It has been clear to science for some time that planetary poles can also wander. We explain here what this means for life on the said planet. © Provided by Männersache Artist's impression of the earth's magnetic field The earth has two north poles First of all for explanation: The earth has two north poles: the geographic north pole, which never changes, and the magnetic north pole, which is always in motion. And right now it is moving faster than usual.