Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ancient Humans Pushed Large Mammals to Extinction

New research adds to  evidence that humans were responsible for the extinction of megafauna such as woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed cats. Previous research argued that human hunting pushed large mammals to start disappearing earlier and faster than smaller ones – a phenomenon called size-based extinction – in Australia around 35,000 years ago. The latest study is claiming that this size-based extinction started in Africa at least 125,000 years ago.
Cave bearAs humans migrated out of Africa, the average mammal size in the newly occupied continents started to shrink, often to sizes even smaller than those found in Africa. A clear pattern emerged – the animals that survived tended to be smaller than those that did not.

From a life-history standpoint, it makes sense. If you kill a rabbit, you’re going to feed your family for a day. If you can kill a large mammal, you’re going to feed your entire village for a week.
Cave Lion