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December 4 2012

200-year-long drought may have killed Sumerian language


SAN FRANCISCO A 200-year-long drought 4,200 years ago may have killed off the ancient Sumerian language, one geologist says.

Because no written accounts explicitly mention drought as the reason for the Sumerian demise, the conclusions rely on indirect clues. But several pieces of archaeological and geological evidence tie the gradual decline of the Sumerian civilization to a drought.

The findings, which were presented Monday here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, show how vulnerable human society may be to climate change, including human-caused change.

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