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Walrus shortage led to medieval Norse collapse: study

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Greenland’s medieval Norse society vanished from the Earth in the 15th Century after they hunted walrus populations to near extinction, researchers said Monday in a possible explanation for the mysterious disappearance.

Norse communities thrived for more than 400 years in the Arctic, hunting walruses for their tusks, a valuable medieval commodity.

But a mixture of overexploitation and economic pressure from a flood of elephant ivory into European markets in the 13th Century contributed to their downfall, according to a new study.

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A team of researchers from the universities of Cambridge, Oslo and Trondheim examined pre-1400s walrus tusk artefacts from across Europe and found that almost all of them came from walruses hunted in seas only accessible to Greenland Norse communities.

They also found that later items were hunted from smaller animals — likely females and infants — signalling that stocks were rapidly dwindling.

“Norse Greenlanders needed to trade with Europe for iron and timber, and mainly had walrus products to export in exchange,” said James Barrett, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology.

“Norse hunters were forced to venture deeper into the Arctic Circle for increasingly meagre ivory harvests.”

As the walrus populations declined, so did the Norse communities.

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Authors of the study, published in the Quarternary Science Reviews journal, said there were likely other factors that contributed to the eventual disappearance of Norse Greenlanders.

These include climate change as the northern hemisphere underwent a “Little Ice Age”, and unsustainable farming techniques.

“If both the population and price of walrus started to tumble, it must have badly undermined the resilience of the settlements,” said Bastiaan Star of the University of Oslo.

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“Our study suggests the writing was on the wall.”


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Virginia mayor faces calls to resign after claiming Joe Biden had picked Aunt Jemima for VP

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On Monday, WTOP reported that Barry Presgraves, the mayor of Luray, Virginia, faces calls to resign following his post on social media that "Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick."

"Mayor Barry Presgraves has been in office since 2008, but earlier announced he would not seek reelection in 2020. A lifelong town resident, he had previously served on the town council," reported Neal Augenstein. "A screenshot, purportedly from Presgraves’ personal Facebook page, was shared with WTOP but was not online Monday."

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Trump appointee has a Twitter meltdown after public reporting on her far-right beliefs

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A bigoted Trump appointee at the famed U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has just quit but not before announcing she is teaming up with infamous conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman at a Thursday press conference, where she will discuss her "Christian beliefs."

Merritt Corrigan, who once complained the U.S. is in the clutches of a “homo-empire” that pushes a “tyrannical LGBT agenda,” according to Pro-Publica, made several announcements via her now unlocked but mostly-all deleted Twitter account.

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MSNBC’s ‘demotion’ of ‘feckless’ Chuck Todd celebrated: ‘Hurray! More Nicolle, less Chuck’

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MSNBC host Chuck Todd was moved to an earlier timeslot where his show, "Meet the Press Daily," will likely earn lower ratings. Meanwhile, Nicolle Wallace seems to have been promoted to a two-hour timeslot leading into primetime.

Wallace, who has extensive experience in Washington, previously served in George W. Bush's White House until abandoning the GOP as the era of Trump came to power.

Todd has made several missteps where he's been unwilling to press GOP leaders who lie openly and obviously on camera.

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