The Effects of Climate Change
So what were the effects of changing climate as the icecaps receeded, and how were the mammoths effected?
With the close of the Pleistocene, as climatic conditions stablized and precipitation increased over large areas, the varied heterogeneous vegetative cover that was present in many areas gave way to less diverse plant assemblages dominated by the plant species which thrived in the new steady local conditions. Based on the stomach contents of frozen mammoth carcasses, we know that mammoths ate a wide variety of different plants. These included: birch leaves and bark, pine needles and cones, grasses, berries, and tundra flowers. When climate changed and these plants were no longer found in mixed assemblages, large herbivores had to migrate greater distances to find the nutritious food which they required to remain healthy. In many cases, they must have been forced to survive on a nutrient depleted diet that left them unhealthier and more susceptible to anual variations in the weather.
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