No doubt it was all those V8-powered yaks that further changed the changing climate they were exploiting. Will people never learn…
Climate change led to the collapse of the ancient Indus civilization more than 4,000 years ago, archaeologists believe.
The Indus civilization was the largest – but least known – of the first great urban cultures that also included Egypt and Mesopotamia.
The empire stretched over more than a million square kilometers across the plains of the Indus River from the Arabian Sea to the Ganges, over what is now Pakistan, northwest India and eastern Afghanistan.
Now for the first time scientists believe they have discovered that climate change was a key ingredient in the collapse of the civilisation.
The study also resolves a long-standing debate over the source and fate of the Sarasvati, the sacred river of Hindu mythology, the authors believe.
Dr Liviu Giosan, a geologist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and lead author of the study, said: ‘We reconstructed the dynamic landscape of the plain where the Indus civilization developed 5200 years ago, built its cities, and slowly disintegrated between 3900 and 3000 years ago.
‘Until now, speculations abounded about the links between this mysterious ancient culture and its life-giving mighty rivers.’
Like their contemporaries, the Harappans, who may have made up 10 per cent of the world’s population, the group lived next to rivers, owing their livelihoods to the fertility of annually watered lands.
But the remains of their settlements are located in a vast desert region far from any flowing river.
The civilisation was forgotten until the 1920s. But since then, a flurry of research has uncovered a sophisticated urban culture with myriad internal trade routes and well-established sea links with Mesopotamia.