The woolly mammoths which existed on earth during the Ice Ages might have become extinct due to the shortage of drinking water, according to a study conducted by scientists. The study was conducted by researchers at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America and according to their findings, the scarcity of drinking water following the end of the Ice Age led to their extinction approximately 5600 year ago.
According to a report in the BBC, "The Ice Age beasts were living on a remote island off the coast of Alaska, and scientists have dated their demise to about 5,600 years ago.They believe that a warming climate caused lakes to become shallower, leaving the animals unable to quench their thirst.Most of the world's woolly mammoths had died out by about 10,500 years ago. Scientists believe that human hunting and environmental changes played a role in their extinction."
The report went on to add, "As the Earth warmed up after the Ice Age, sea levels rose, causing the mammoths' island home to shrink in size.This meant that some lakes were lost to the ocean, and as salt water flowed into the remaining reservoirs, freshwater diminished further.The fur-covered giants were forced to share the ever-scarcer watering holes. But their over-use also caused a major problem."
Professor Russell Graham of the Pennsylvania State University, who was also the lead author of the study further explained the process. "As the other lakes dried up, the animals congregated around the water holes.They were milling around, which would destroy the vegetation - we see this with modern elephants.And this allows for the erosion of sediments to go into the lake, which is creating less and less fresh water.The mammoths were contributing to their own demise." He further added,"We do know modern elephants require between 70 and 200 litres of water daily. We assume mammoths did the same thing. It wouldn't have taken long if the water hole had dried up. If it had only dried up for a month, it could have been fatal."