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Expansion and Extinction: the Collapse of the Mammoth Steppe Fauna
Professor in Palaeozoology and Quaternary Biostratigraphy, Leiden University
More and more we become aware of the impact of climate change on our natural
environment. The fossil record shows how extensive that impact can be. The
woolly mammoth, the emperor of the animal kingdom, dominated the fauna of
Eurasia for thousands of years, but the territory of the species shrunk
dramatically; rather recently the woolly mammoth, together with for example the
woolly rhinoceros and the giant deer, became extinct. Other species flourished
due to the latest changes in climate and expanded their territories to more
northern latitudes of Eurasia; a dynamic, fascinating process of contraction and
expansion that is driven by climate change. Humans followed their own track,
expanding to the east and crossing Beringia on their way to the America’s.
Thijs van Kolfschoten is Professor in Palaeozoology and Quaternary
Biostratigraphy at the Faculty of Archaeology at the Leiden University. His
research focuses on continental deposits Early Pleistocene - early Holocene in