Hmm… not too convinced marsupial lions would have best been described as “gentle giants” but here’s another piece on Australia’s megafauna extinction – not claiming climate change this time
HUMAN hunters were mainly responsible for wiping out Australia’s megafauna, a study has concluded.
The reasons behind the demise of the giant animals that once roamed the continent – such as rhinoceros-sized diprotodons, towering kangaroos, marsupial lions and birds twice the size of emus – have long been hotly debated, with hunting, the human use of fire, and climate change blamed.
Chris Johnson, of the University of Tasmania, said his team had solved the extinction mystery by studying fungi that thrive in the dung of large herbivores.
The team examined two cores of sediment from Lynch’s Crater, a swamp in north-east Queensland, dating back 130,000 years.
They counted the spores of these fungi and looked for pollen and charcoal in the sediments as indicators of vegetation change and fire.
Professor Johnson said the research showed megafauna numbers were stable until about 40,000 years ago, despite several periods of drying.
“This rules out climate change as a cause of extinction,” he said
A contentious conclusion, to say the least.