A Brief History of the Extintion of Large Pleistocene Mammals

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Many of the world`s scientists believe we are in the middle of another great extinction event. Such extinctions have happened periodically throughout Earths history of life. Most infamously is the K-T (Cretaceous Tertiary) event, which killed of our beloved dinosaurs. Pacing back in time, there were five known events; one at the Triassic (which may have gave way to the rise of the dinosaurs), another at the end of the Permian that produced a vanishing of species (approx 95%) never equaled until today as some will argue. Yet still other extinctions, occurred during the end of the Devonian and Ordovician periods. These past events have happened "naturally" to the history of life on the planet. Root causes taking center stage are large comet or asteroid impacts, deadly disease transversing the continents and huge amounts of volcanism; all in combination with or in addition to, global climate change of the planet. The extinction event of today however is different, as many believe homo sapiens are the main culprit, unfortunately this is not our first time at bat on the extinction mound. The disappearance of the mega-fauna during the late Pleistocene may have been our first go at eradicating entire species of animals from the planet. However, questions arise, did we act alone or with an outside accomplice? Did we even play a part or did nature simply run its course? As far as we know, this is the first time in Earth's history, a single species is responsible for the complete vanishing of many others. One of the greatest debates among scientist today is the root cause of the Pleistocene Megafauna extinction. Human hunting tops the list with certain disciplines of science, archeologist for example who study human prehistory (the Clov... ... middle of paper ... ... (Barnosky et al., 2004) Rapid body size decline in Alaskan Pleistocene horses before extinction R. Dale Guthrie Nature Sept 2003 (Guthrie 2003) Range sizes and shifts of North American Pleistocene mammals are not consistent with a climatic explanation for extinction (Brigid S. Grund, Todd A. Surovell and S. Kathleen Lyons) (Grund, et al., 2012) Extinctions of herbivorous mammals in the late Pleistocene of Australia in relation to their feeding ecology: No evidence for environmental change as cause of extinction C. N. JOHNSON AND G. J. PRIDEAUX (Johnson and Prideaux 2004) Was a hyper-disease responsible for the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction? Ecology Letters (2004) 7: 859–868 (Lyons, Smith, Wagner, White, Brown) Palaeolithic extinctions and the Taurid Complex W. M. Napier 2010 February 21 Copyright of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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