It was most likely frightening experiences for people. Unusual cold, chaotic climate and northern lights over large parts of the globe.
42,000 years ago, humans, whether Homo sapiens or Neanderthals, did not know that the Earth’s magnetic field was so weak, that dangerous radiation from the Sun and the universe penetrated far from the surface. This is because the poles have changed position: the north has become south, and vice versa. It took a thousand years for the poles to stabilize and the magnetic field to start protecting the Earth again.
Humans may have settled in caves
Now a group of researchers in Australia has researched and found other traces, especially in ancient New Zealand kauri trees. In wood, it can be seen that carbon-14 levels have increased for about a thousand years due to the influx of high-energy particles into the atmosphere. At the same time, there was also a longer period of reduced activity on the sun. Chemical changes in the atmosphere have led, among other things, to the growth of ice sheets in North America and to the drying up of Australia.
Researchers also have theories about how life may be affected. Humans may have responded by settling for longer periods in caves and beginning to paint on the walls of the caves. Radiation may have contributed to the extinction of Neanderthals. And Australia’s megafauna – the three-meter-high kangaroo, among other things – became extinct around this time.
Paleontologist Lars Weerdelen at the Swedish Museum of Natural History thinks this is something interesting:
The extinction of megafauna in Australia is a controversial event. Was it the climate or was it a man? We know Australia is getting drier at this time. Both of these things seemed to work together to knock out the big animals.
However, he does not believe in ideas about the consequences for humans:
It is wild speculation that humans have sought refuge in caves due to the radiation. If we have a connection between two events, A and B, does A cause B? For certain types of plants there are known mechanisms one can talk about causation.