Environment Ancient tree throws shade on polar opposite theory

Ancient tree throws shade on polar opposite theory

A reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles was a turning point in the planet’s history, Australian scientists studying ancient tree rings have discovered.

Widespread electrical storms, mass extinctions and drastic climate change were triggered when the North Pole temporarily wandered down to the Southern Hemisphere about 42,000 years ago.

While scientists have known that the Earth’s magnetic poles have reversed multiple times, they were stumped about its global impact.

Now researchers at the University of Wollongong and UNSW Sydney have got to the root of the matter.

The rings of ancient Kauri trees preserved in New Zealand wetlands show the transition period was harder on the natural environment than the reversal itself.

The climatic discovery could explain the extinction of Australian megafauna and the end of the Neanderthals in Europe.

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