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John Johnson
Scientists zero in on reason for mammoths' demise
Scientists zero in on reason for mammoths' demise

About 15,000 years ago, North America was home to an astonishing number of large plant-eating mammals -- giant sloths, mastodons, mammoths. A thousand years later, they were all gone, wiped from the face of the Earth with sudden finality. Scientists have floated a variety of possible explanations for this mass die-off, from climate change to a cataclysmic asteroid impact. But now a team of American researchers may be closing in on the answer, hidden in the thousands-year-old muck of an Indiana lake. To track the population of large herbivores, scientists analyzed the pollen, charcoal and fungus in ancient sediments beneath Appleman Lake, a 35-foot-deep body of water left behind when the...

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