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Posted: 28 June 2021 at 16:06

About 13,000 years ago, a comet hit the Earth, causing havoc, extinction and climate change across the planet It may also have pushed human populations on the path to civilization as we know it today

A new review supports a hypothesis of 2007 for the so-called impact of Younger Dryas, possibly the most devastating cosmic collision since the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs

Dr Martin Sweatman of the University of Edinburgh sifted through more than a decade of hotly debated articles and evidence before concluding that the theory should be accepted In particular, it signals a layer of geological data found over more than 50 archaeological sites spread over four continents – but particularly in North America and Greece, where the largest fragments of the comet would have touched

Chemical signatures include an excessive level of platinum, evidence of molten materials at extremely high temperatures and detection of nanodiamonds, known to exist inside comets and form in high energy explosions

There are also tantalizing clues to relics found at some of the archaeological sites., Sweatman said

« This major cosmic disaster seems to have been commemorated on the giant stone pillars of Göbekli Tepe, maybe the « first temple in the world», which is linked to the origin of civilization in the Fertile Crescent of Southwest Asia”, did he declare « So did civilization start with a bang? »

Younger Dryas impact theory claims a large comet, more than 4 km in diameter, collided with Earth just before the onset of the Neolithic period It is believed to have disintegrated during its fall with multiple bursts and impacts spread across the planet

Effects would have been cataclysmic Forest fires are said to have raged across entire continents, followed by a cold spell known as impact winter, caused by dust, ash and other materials released into the atmosphere, deflecting solar radiation It is also believed to have caused an abrupt mini ice age that lasted 1 000 years

The impact likely contributed to the extinction of the Upper Pleistocene megafauna, especially mammoths, cave bears and woolly rhinos Humans, however, survived But Sweatman and others believe the event irrevocably changed our species

The impact of the comet coincides with major changes in the way and where human populations lived. This is then, in the so-called Fertile Crescent of Southwest Asia (which spans parts of modern countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon), that humans have adapted from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to those centered on agriculture. They also lived a less nomadic lifestyle, creating permanent establishments for the first time

Although the theory of the impact of the younger Dryas has been questioned and debated, Sweatman argues that it should now be seen as a consensus theory and calls for further research into its far-reaching consequences

Older theories, including one by Isaac Newton, suggested that events like this might have survived in our collective memory by inspiring stories of devastating floods, which appear in a number of religions Some have even linked comet strikes to the myth of Atlantis

Former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Science Focus, Ian once undertook a scientific ranking of the UK's best roller coasters on behalf of the magazine He is now a freelance writer, which is frankly a lot less fun

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Terre, comet, civilisation

News – FR – Huge comet impact ignited civilization on Earth as we know it?
Associated title :
Huge impact comet ignites civilization on Earth as we know it?
The comet strike ago 13 000 years could have changed human civilization
A comet of 13 000 years that hit Earth changed humans forever?


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