Climate change not to blame for late Quaternary megafauna extinctions in Australia
MetadataShow full item record
Late Quaternary megafauna extinctions impoverished mammalian diversity worldwide. The causes of these extinctions in Australia are most controversial but essential to resolve, because this continent-wide event presaged similar losses that occurred thousands of years later on other continents. Here we apply a rigorous metadata analysis and new ensemble-hindcasting approach to 659 Australian megafauna fossil ages. When coupled with analysis of several high-resolution climate records, we show that megafaunal extinctions were broadly synchronous among genera and independent of climate aridity and variability in Australia over the last 120,000 years. Our results reject climate change as the primary driver of megafauna extinctions in the world's most controversial context, and instead estimate that the megafauna disappeared Australia-wide ~13,500 years after human arrival, with shorter periods of coexistence in some regions. This is the first comprehensive approach to incorporate uncertainty in fossil ages, extinction timing and climatology, to quantify mechanisms of prehistorical extinctions.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Douglass, K.; Zinke, Jens (2015)Madagascar is an exceptional example of island biogeography. Though a large island, Madagascar’s landmass is small relative to other places in the world with comparable levels of biodiversity, endemicity, and topographic ...
Allentoft, M.; Heller, R.; Oskam, C.; Lorenzen, E.; Hale, M.; Gilbert, M.; Jacomb, C.; Holdaway, R.; Bunce, Michael (2014)The extinction of New Zealand's moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes) followed the arrival of humans in the late 13th century and was the final event of the prehistoric Late Quaternary megafauna extinctions. Determining the state ...
Human predation contributed to the extinction of the Australian megafaunal bird Genyornis newtoni ~47 kaMiller, Gifford; Magee, J.; Smith, M.; Spooner, N.; Baynes, A.; Lehman, S.; Fogel, M.; Johnston, H.; Williams, D.; Clark, P.; Florian, C.; Holst, R.; DeVogel, S. (2016)Although the temporal overlap between human dispersal across Australia and the disappearance of its largest animals is well established, the lack of unambiguous evidence for human–megafauna interactions has led some to ...