Palaeolithic extinctions and the Taurid Complex, by Bill Napier


The Living Force
Just wanted to mention that there is a new paper out by Bill Napier here:

Here is the abstract:

Intersection with the debris of a large (50-100 km) short-period comet during the Upper Palaeolithic provides a satisfactory explanation for the catastrophe of celestial origin which has been postulated to have occurred around 12900 BP, and which presaged a return to ice age conditions of duration ~1300 years. The Taurid Complex appears to be the debris of this erstwhile comet; it includes at least 19 of the brightest near-Earth objects. Sub-kilometre bodies in meteor streams may present the greatest regional impact hazard on timescales of human concern.

Michael B-C

FOTCM Member
Randall Carlson discusses:

Taurid complex smoking gun: Detection of cometary activity

Ferrín, Ignacio
Orofino, Vincenzo

Planetary and Space Science, Volume 207, article id. 105306​

Pub Date: November 2021
45 pages, 16 Figures, 9 Tables


Using the Secular Light Curve (SLC) formalism (Ferrín, 2010), we have catalogued 88 probable members of the Taurid Complex (TC). 51 of them have useful SLCs and 34 of these (67%) exhibit cometary activity. This high percentage of active asteroids gives support to the hypothesis of a catastrophe that took place during the Upper Paleolithic (Clube and Napier, 1984), when a large short-period comet, arriving in the inner Solar System from the Kuiper Belt, experienced, starting from 20 thousand years ago, a series of fragmentations that produced the present 2P/Encke comet, together with a large number of other members of the TC. The fragmentation of the progenitor body was facilitated by its heterogeneous structure (very similar to a rubble pile) and this also explains the current coexistence in the complex of fragments of different composition and origin. We have found that (2212) Hephaistos and 169P/NEAT are active and members of the TC with their own sub-group. Other components of the complex are groups of meteoroids, that often give rise to meteor showers when they enter the terrestrial atmosphere, and very probably also the small asteroid that in 1908 exploded in the terrestrial atmosphere over Tunguska. What we see today of the TC are the remnants of a very varied and numerous complex of objects, characterized by an intense past of collisions with the Earth which may continue to represent a danger for our planet.

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