Chris Doughty: Early human hunters might have changed climate

Ecologist Christopher Doughty led a study that links early hunters with animal extinctions and climate change, 15,000 years ago.

Chris Doughty: People had a role in these extinctions, and climate had a role. As of now it’s not totally understood, which was dominant. But both did have a role.

Ecologist Christopher Doughty, of the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, led a study that links early hunters with animal extinctions and climate change, 15,000 years ago. In this EarthSky’s Clear Voices for Science interview, spoke about the study with EarthSky’s Jorge Salazar.

Chris Doughty: I have the hypothesis, is this the first human-caused global warming? This kind of goes back to the issue of, people are affecting climate now by burning fossil fuels, increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. There have been studies in the past that have shown, maybe people actually started affecting climate through agriculture. And there’s some pretty interesting studies that show, when man first started agriculture, you see some changes in climate. I started thinking, well, people might have caused some of these extinctions. This is a contentious issue. People had a role in these extinctions, and climate had a role. As of now it’s not totally understood, which was dominant. But both did have a role.

Jorge Salazar