End of Neanderthals linked to flip of Earth's magnetic poles, study suggests

mosaix

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The flipping of the Earth’s magnetic poles together with a drop in solar activity 42,000 years ago could have generated an apocalyptic environment that may have played a role in a major events ranging from the extinction of megafauna to the end of the Neanderthals, researchers say.

The Earth’s magnetic field acts as a protective shield against damaging cosmic radiation, but when the poles switch, as has occurred many times in the past, the protective shield weakens dramatically and leaves the planet exposed to high energy particles.

One temporary flip of the poles, known as the Laschamps excursion, happened 42,000 years ago and lasted for about 1,000 years. Previous work found little evidence that the event had a profound impact on the planet, possibly because the focus had not been on the period during which the poles were actually shifting, researchers say.
 
The report easily gives the impression of being exaggerated for sensationalism, but it's still interesting - especially because there were important changes around that time, such as the rise of cave art. Megafauna extinction happened progressively later and is directly correlated with the spread of humans, though the idea of environmental factors like this affecting humans is intriguing. :)
 
I like the tone of this report on the findings a little more: :)
 

The flipping of the Earth’s magnetic poles together with a drop in solar activity 42,000 years ago could have generated an apocalyptic environment that may have played a role in a major events ranging from the extinction of megafauna to the end of the Neanderthals, researchers say.

The Earth’s magnetic field acts as a protective shield against damaging cosmic radiation, but when the poles switch, as has occurred many times in the past, the protective shield weakens dramatically and leaves the planet exposed to high energy particles.

One temporary flip of the poles, known as the Laschamps excursion, happened 42,000 years ago and lasted for about 1,000 years. Previous work found little evidence that the event had a profound impact on the planet, possibly because the focus had not been on the period during which the poles were actually shifting, researchers say.

I don't know. Homo sapiens were also around 42,000 years ago. If the magnetic reversal killed off H. Neanderthalensis, why we didn't die out too?

Just wondering...

Mike
 

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