The Extraordinary Mediocrity of the Holocene

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Lee Drake


The extinction of multiple genera of large-bodied mammals during the Holocene interglacial transition has been attributed to three hypothesized causes: human migration, climate change, and an extra-terrestrial impact. Two of these hypotheses, climate change and extra-terrestrial impactor, would predict that the Holocene interglacial transition was uniquely stressful for large-bodied mammals. To test the severity of the Holocene interglacial transition relative to other warming events, ice cores from Antarctica were analyzed using Bayesian change-point analysis and modeling. Most features of the Holocene could be predicted by a loess model of previous interglacials with a span of 0.015. The Younger Dryas, a punctuated return to cold temperatures, also had precedent in previous interglacials and interstadials. The Holocene lacks any extreme in either temperature anomaly or temperature change, and fails to provide any evidence for extreme climatic changes that would have been uniquely stressful to Earth’s biota.



Climate, Computer Sciences, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Other Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Planetary Sciences


climate, climate change, paleoclimate, Holocene, Comet, Impact, Interglacial, Megafauna Extinctions, Younger Dryas


Published: 2018-03-16 00:57


Academic Free License (AFL) 3.0

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