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The researchers proposed that besides changing the plumbing of the North Atlantic, the impact also ignited wildfires across two continents that led to the extinction of large mammals and the disappearance of the mammoth-hunting Clovis people of North America.Proponents of a Younger Dryas impact now feel vindicated."I'd unequivocally predict that this crater is the same age as the Younger Dryas," says James Kennett, a marine geologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, one of the idea's original boosters.Though not as cataclysmic as the dinosaur-killing Chicxulub impact, which carved out a 200-kilometer-wide crater in Mexico about 66 million years ago, the Hiawatha impactor, too, may have left an imprint on the planet's history.The timing is still up for debate, but some researchers on the discovery team believe the asteroid struck at a crucial moment: roughly 13,000 years ago, just as the world was thawing from the last ice age.
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A decade ago, a small group of scientists proposed a similar scenario.