Thursday, June 02, 2005

"Australia's Megafauna Coexisted With Humans"

Some interesting news that puts to bed the 'blitzkrieg' model of near instantaneous mass extinction of megafauna through human hunting.

"In Australia, as in America, megafaunal extinctions broadly correlated with the arrival of humans on the island continent. In Australia around 50 outsized species became extinct.

Judith Field (U. Sydney) & Clive Trueman (U. Portsmouth) establish that some Australian megafauna, including the largest animals, persisted until around 30,000 years ago, coexisting with humans for at least 15,000 years.

"These findings demonstrate that extinction was a gradual process, strongly implicating climate change as the driving mechanism," said Dr Field, 'and the role of humans in this process has yet to be established'. "More broadly, this finding suggests that the spread of modern humans to new regions did not necessarily result in unsustainable hunting and mass extinction of the native fauna.""

Read the entire report at Science Daily; abstract at PNAS.

No comments: