Via the Economist:
Between 50,000 and 5,000 years ago roughly half of the earth’s larger mammals (species that were sheep-sized or bigger) went extinct. The distribution of these extinctions in time and space suggests strongly that humans were responsible.
Large mammals in Africa, which had evolved alongside humans for millions of years, were for the most part spared. The species which died out elsewhere — 178 of them, possibly more — tended to do so at around the time that they first encountered modern humans coming forth out of Africa with pointy sticks, good throwing arms and large appetites.
Ecologists have shown that wiping out big animals is surprisingly easy, since big animals reproduce slowly, which means that a small increase in the rate at which predators pick them off can have a large effect on the population, especially if the predators prefer hunting juveniles. Hence the now widely accepted argument that humans come with original ecological sin built in.
Read More: Economist
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