May 24th 2007 | ACAPULCO
From The Economist print edition
The first human inhabitants of North America may not have exterminated the mammoths. The culprit might have been a comet
ARCHAEOLOGISTS know little of what life was like for the first people in America. One thing they thought they knew, however, was that these people hunted mammoths and other large mammals until none was left. Once that had happened, they disappeared themselves.
But the Clovis people of 13,000 years ago, named after the place their characteristic arrowheads and spear-points were first found, may not be a bell-tolling example of the danger of technological progress after all. They may have gone, along with mammoths, short-headed bears, ground sloths and camels, because a comet exploded over their heads.
What a neat trick ... considering the earth is only some 6,000 years old!