The humans that lived in Britain at the end of the last Ice Age had to adapt to and survive a massive climate change around 11,000 years ago, when the winter caused by the Ice Age was fading away. Nevertheless, a new study suggests that humans were stronger than previously thought, given that they showed vast resistance against the unstable climate conditions.
Researchers conducted a study and investigated the remains of the mysterious prehistoric people that once walked across the famous Mesolithic site of Star Carr in northern England. It shows that humans managed to survive climate change 11,000 years ago, despite the rough environmental shifts. According to the researchers, humans were so determined to survive, as per the remains, that show almost no evidence of disruption caused by the climate change.
“It has been argued that abrupt climatic events may have caused a crash in Mesolithic populations in Northern Britain,” Quaternary Scientist Simon Blockley from Royal Holloway, University of London said in a statement. “But our study reveals, that at least in the case of the pioneering colonisers at Star Carr, early communities were able to cope with extreme and persistent climate events.”
Star Carr is almost without equal when it comes to finding well-preserved archaeological remains in the UK. The site was discovered in the 1940s. The site is home to various remains, including the remains of Britain’s earliest house, and some carpentry, considered the oldest ever discovered in Europe.
Aside from timber structures, animal bones, and flint blades discovered by Blockley and his team, they also found elaborate red deer antler headdresses that they suggest had been worn by healers that were performing arcane rituals. There is also an indication that the headdresses were used by hunters chasing the stags.
“The antler headdresses are most intriguing,” one of the team, Ian Candy, explained to CNN. “We can’t ever be sure what they were used for, but a lot of work has gone into making them and from ethnographic analogy, one possibility is that they were used by shamans as part of their costumes.”
The study was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution and displays a story of the capabilities of humans, especially to adapt to the potentially fatal climate change 11,000 years ago. That also makes scientists wonder about how prehistoric people managed such extreme weather shifts, and how well we will survive them in the future.
Still, the researchers state that the ancient accomplishments shouldn’t be compared too closely with the climate changes humanity is set against in the present time. The reason for that is because our ancestors were in the group of people who emerged from an Ice Age when the Holocene times started.
As the researchers stated, modern humans are in many ways not like them, with them being somewhat used to climate instability. There are a lot of differences between how they faced their climate changes and how we will face ours.
“The people of Star Carr were part of a tradition that had experienced dramatic climate shifts at the end of the last age, extreme climatic instability was part of their way of life,” Candy told CNN.
“In contrast, our society has existed through many centuries or even millennia of stable climates, we have no experience of sudden large-scale change.”