Ancient humans coped with massive climate change (without the IPCC)

Many people today seem to like to live in the fear of an impending catastrophe. The fears are all artificial and always include fanciful predictions of doom. Fears of uncontrollable population explosions, food shortages and starvation, of energy crises and depletion of all resources and of course of catastrophic global warming. And they give rise to such utterly useless bodies as the IPCC.

The period from before the last interglacial, the Eemian and through to the current interglacial in the Holocene has seen the rise of Anatomically Modern Humans and, starting from Africa, the peopling of the world. Anatomically modern humans make their appearance in Africa during an even earlier interglacial at around 250,000 years ago. They saw a descent into glacial conditions with global temperatures dropping about 6 °C and sea levels  dropping by some 150m. Then around 130,000 to 135,000 years ago a very rapid (relatively) climate change ocurred as the conditions of the Eemian were established.  Global temperatures increased by some 7 °C and sea levels rose by upto 170m. Temperatures were warmer than today and sea levels were higher.They didn’t just survive this change – they thrived. They made their way through the Sahara (perhaps through ancient green river corridors) and established themselves in the North and North-East of Africa. At this time sea-levels were high and crossing over into Europe or to Arabia would not have been possible. Both these crossings would have been made at earlier periods by the precursors of AMH and such groups would have given rise to the Neanderthals in Europe and the Denisovans in Asia. When sea levels allowed and perhaps driven by desertfication they crossed into Arabia. From Africarabia they moved across the globe – again perhaps driven by desertification of Arabia.

All these predecessors of ours – some ancestors and some distant cousins – not only survived but actually thrived. They had no IPCC to warn them of looming catastrophe if sea levels rose by 20 cm or temperatures rose by 1.5 °C. Not realising their dangers they still coped with changes of 7 °C and sea-levels of 170 m. Of course they were not without their resources. They had fire. They could probably speak but they had not been contaminated by the written word and were not corrupted by IPCC reports. They may have had some primitive form of rafts but they had no boats and the wheel was unknown. They had stone tools and their version of WMD consisted of many spears. They just coped with the weather and whatever it threw at them. They didn’t waste time predicting the climate and living in the fear of their own predictions. They had other more real fears to worry about.

Former interglacials

The period after the Eemian and upto the present day is particularly interesting.  For most of the time the world was in the grip of glacial conditions. Even as the climate changed and the world started warming up, there were sudden spikes of climate in the reverse direction as with the Younger Dryas. It was in this glacial period that AMH left Africa and then peopled the entire globe. It was not a period of stable climate and their expansion and growth took place in an environment of frequent and violent change. Real population increase started some time before the neolithic when we were still hunter-gatherers or semi-nomadic herders.

Age of Human Expansion

Age of Human Expansion

Of course in North Africa and the Middle East and Asia where much of the action took place for AMH there was little danger of advancing ice sheets. But there was the constant risk of sudden desertification, the drying up of fresh water resources and the sudden loss or appearance of new coastal land as sea levels increased or decreased. Rainfall patterns would have changed. Landscapes would have been transformed from forests to savannahs to deserts and back again. The only recourse available to humans of that time was to move to a more viable location whenever their survival was threatened.

And as they did that they populated the world and they prospered.

But they could have been stopped in their tracks if they had had the benefit of an IPCC.


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One Response to “Ancient humans coped with massive climate change (without the IPCC)”

  1. lidiahristova Says:

    Reblogged this on devils and black sheep..

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