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What lesson learned from the great Mammoth kill of ought, ought, ought 13?

I think it is important that North American cattlemen keep
those livestock numbers up to avoid the risk of another Ice Age.

I’m still on the fence when it comes to issue of Global
Warming – is it happening? Why is it happening? And so on…  But a recent article I read says it was
the demise of the wooly mammoth, due to human predators, that led to a major

deep freeze nearly 13,000 years ago.

How researchers figure this stuff out, I don’t know – and
really who can argue with them since there are no eye witnesses left. But,
researchers say it was the herds of belching and farting mammoths, releasing
methane gas, trapped in the atmosphere, that kept the climate warm.

When two-legged predators reached the Americas about 13,000
years ago, the mammoth began to disappear and as far as I know became extinct –
although I haven’t traveled much around the Prince Albert area of Saskatchewan,
so there could be some up there.

The demise of the mammoth triggered what was known as the
Younger Dryas cold event. That lasted about 1,300 years, until the Canadian
Angus Association began its marketing program.

A couple things come to mind. First, how many of these six
tonne beasts were roaming over North America, and second, how hungry were these
people? If there were enough mammoths to affect global climate, even with only

a 50 per cent carcass yield, that would represent one hell of a pile of burgers
at the caveman campout.

The researchers figure as mammoth numbers declined, mammoth
methane production dropped from 10 trillion grams per year, to just a few
embarrassing releases around the pre-historic watering hole. That cleared the
atmosphere and triggered a deep chill.

So if we are going to learn from history, let’s keep those
livestock numbers up. Current statistics show there are about 1.5 billion head
of cattle in the world, including about 100 million head in the U.S. and 14
million head in Canada.

Sure, there may not be a lot of money to be made in keeping
the critters around these days, but I think we have to look at the bigger good
for society.  If we don’t keep
those cattle numbers up, we’d better be prepared to break out the blankets.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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