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Meteor impact destroyed first human settlement 10,000 years ago


By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Published: March 11, 2020 1:35:43 pm


meteor impact, ancient human settlement, human civilisation destroyed by meteor, comet destroyed human civilisation Researchers find evidence of a cosmic impact that caused the destruction of one of the world’s earliest human settlements. (Image: UC Santa Barbara)

Scientists believe that the race of dinosaurs was wiped out by an asteroid millions of years ago. Now, new research suggests that an early settlement of human also suffered the same fate around 10,000 years ago by a huge chunk of space rock.

Archaeologists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, claim that Tell Abu Hureyra, which lies in modern-day northern Syria, was annihilated by the cosmic impact of a fragmented comet. The site is well known amongst archaeologists for being the place where first human hunter-gatherers turned farmers lived 13,000 years ago. The place is since under what is known as Lake Assad now.

Evidence of a space rock destroying the early human settlement

The researchers found traces of a meltglass — they are calling Abu Hureyra meltglass or AH Glass — splashed onto building material and animal bones from the site. The AH Glass could only be formed under extremely high temperatures that could melt an automobile in seconds, which they believe could not have existed among the earliest civilizations.

Archaeologists say that this meltglass could not have been made even by lightning or by a volcano, which leaves the possibility of its formation only to a high-velocity phenomenon– such as a comet or an asteroid collision. According to geology professor James Kennett, an asteroid might have made an unexpected visit during the end of the Pleistocene age, which was around 11,700 years ago.

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Another evidence that points towards the annihilation of ancient human settlement is the minerals found in the AH Glass. The research says that this meltglass contains corundum, mullite, and suessite. The suessite is a rare mineral but has been found relatively commonly in meteorites discovered by humans in modern times. That’s why the researchers believe that a meteor struck Abu Hureyra and melted into the glass.

Meteor impact could have pushed humans towards agriculture

Researchers believe that the asteroid impact could have also annihilated some species of animals like mammoths because of the dust and debris that would shoot into the air upon collision. This, in turn, would have pushed the civilisation at the time to switch to agriculture.

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The study points to researchers Moore and Kennett, who hypothesized that “impact-triggered climate change caused the prehistoric villagers at Abu Hureyra to transition from hunting/gathering to cultivation, indicative of earliest agriculture, one of the most significant cultural transformations in human history.”

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Updated: March 11, 2020 — 8:30 am

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