Science always turns out to be stranger than you might have dreamed. Scientists are now claiming that our Clan of the Cave Bear ancestors may have hunted their way into the last ice age.
Methane is well known as a greenhouse gas, and ice cores show that atmospheric methane levels dropped significantly right about when the ice age started, and right about when the mammoths died out. Herbivore “emissions” are known to be a major source of methane in the air, and the biggest vegans around would have been the mammoths.
Since Clovis hunters are generally believed to have hunted the Mammoth to extinction, this could mean that humans have been impacting global climate since before recorded history. It’s just that last time, we knocked the thermostat down rather than up.
Granted, this is somewhat circumstantial, but if true, it leaves us with an interesting question. Would we be willing to sacrifice herbivores if we could keep driving our cars and running our factories? Consider that the two species responsible for most of the methane in today’s air are cows and termites. Now it’s gonna be tough to get a Save the Termites campaign going in your neighborhood, and they are going to be all but impossible to eliminate. However, we know how to find the cows. But are we willing to give up ice cream and cheeseburgers?
Oh man… why couldn’t Lima beans and oysters be the cause. Them I could live without.