According to the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, Earth may have been hit by an asteroid or a comet approximately 12,800 years ago. The impact led to a massive climate change, cooling the weather on a planetary level.
The latest major ice age took place almost 15,000 years ago, and life flourished before the impact cooled the weather for 1,400 years. During the period of cold weather many animal species went extinct, including the wooly mammoth, saber-tooth felines, and giant sloths.
Within the same period, humans struggled to survive, as it is estimated that the global population fell below 10,000 individuals at the end of the ice age. The hypothesis surfaced in 2007, but it is more popular in recent times as additional research documents some of the arguments.
A team of researchers from the University of Carolina found platinum spikes across several continents, among which we can count North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The traces, which may have been brought by a cosmic object, are 14,000 years old.
One of the researchers who contributed to the study argued that similar results were obtained in the case of other scientific enterprises, and it seems that an impact or an airburst may have produced the Younger Dryas climate event.
At first, it was thought that only North America was affected by the event, but related signs were spotted in Europe and South America. The latest batch of data infers that the event reached a global scale.
While the impact may have led to the extinction of many imposing creatures, it is also important to note that human activities may have also contributed to the process. Some creatures survived for centuries before they went extinct as the last individuals were hunted.
Further research is needed before any definite conclusions can be offered, but the hypothesis piqued the interest of many scientists.