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A preponderance of evidence now suggests a meteorite or cometary impact 12,000 years ago caused a stutter step in the post Wisconsin thaw, a catastrophic refreeze that ended many of the giant critters known only through summertime excavations of Siberian tundra such as mastodons, Saber tooth cats and other equally arcane megafauna.

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A controversial theory that suggests an extraterrestrial body crashing to Earth almost 13,000 years ago caused the extinction of many large animals and a probable population decline in early humans is gaining traction from research sites around the world.

The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, controversial from the time it was presented in 2007, proposes that an asteroid or comet hit the Earth about 12,800 years ago causing a period of extreme cooling that contributed to extinctions of more than 35 species of megafauna including giant sloths, sabre-tooth cats, mastodons and mammoths. It also coincides with a serious decline in early human populations such as the Clovis culture and is believed to have caused massive wildfires that could have blocked sunlight, causing an "impact winter" near the end of the Pleistocene Epoch.

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