[The following is an email that I sent to a friend, Ed Grondine, who was the first person to theorize that the Younger-Dryas Impact Event was the demise of the mammoths worldwide and for all the megafauna (large animals) in North America. In the last four years this theory has taken off as the probable reason the mammoths died, though there is still some controversy. The theory that Clovis people killed them all still has backers, and they are not going gently into that good night.
Ed wrote a book Man and Impact in the Americas which can be bought straight from him (see the link), in which he ties Native American passed down stories with some of the latest thinking on comets.
Ed has been very active in the effort, in an unofficial capacity, to develop means by which our astronomers and NASA could discover and track all the near-Earth objects in space – and then (and most importantly) to arrive at a realistic method of dealing with them. He is a man I admire, especially when we get into our discussions in this area: he is a tremendous fount of knowledge, of the basics and the state of the art both. (I imagine that even though he seems to enjoy our interchanges, he most likely thinks I have a screw loose. I hope he is right.)]
How anyone thinks that a few thousand hunters with spears and atlatls could in a few years even FIND every mammoth and sabre-toothed tiger and American horse and giant sloth – and then kill them – is patently absurd. It is a testament to the silliness of scientists not only that someone proposed it, but that others actually thought it was valid. There is no way the Clovis people could have made a dent in the population of those animals.
For example, look at Africa. The population of Africa as of the year 1800 in the areas where elephants live was probably a thousand times the number of Clovis people at their peak – yet elephants in Africa at the time were not an endangered species. The Africans easily had more capacity at that time than Clovis people had in their time.
If even ONE scientist ever ran though the numbers – even as just an intellectual exercise – I have never heard any numbers (and I am pretty sure I would have run across it). Someone just threw it out and the others pretty much just shrugged and said, “Yeah, that sounds as good as anything we can come up with, so go with it. What else is on the agenda, guys?”
The email follows: