Discovery News (September 25, 2009)
"If you've ever eaten a sandy batch of shellfish, you know the feeling: the terrible crunching and grinding that cracks through your jaw, making you question the wisdom of your choice of food. Now imagine that feeling with every bite you take, every meal of every day.
"If a new study is right, that's what early humans and animals felt after the Laacher See supervolcano exploded in central Europe 13,000 years ago, and it drove them out of the region.
"Laacher See was a tremendous blast. It devastated 540 square miles of forested land right around the crater and conservative estimates suggest an area the size of Minnesota was covered in a blanket of ash and rock bits...."
That's where the sandy shellfish comparison comes in.
All that grit on the plants, animals, and everything else, would have not only have reduced the pleasure of eating - it would wear down teeth. Fast.
Bad news for grazing animals, and anything that ate them - including people who lived in what we've been calling Germany, the Netherlands and southern Sweden recently.
The human population dropped like a rock: and survivors apparently stopped using bows and arrows.
About 300 years later, the grit had probably been washed away - but who can wait that long?
- "WIDE ANGLE: The Supereruptions"
- "Change, American Culture, Trilobites, Humanity's History, and the Big Picture"
(September 26, 2009)