Imagine if our ancestors hadn’t stumbled upon Australia, and the continent were still populated with its magically large fauna of thousands of years ago. UPI writes:
Human hunting caused the extinction of ancient giant animals, or “megafauna,” in Australia about 40,000 years ago, scientists say. A study has put the blame for the extinction of 600-pound kangaroos and birds twice the size of modern emus on humans rather than on climate change as was once thought.
“The debate really should be over now,” John Alroy, from Macquarie University in Sydney, said. “Hunting did it, end of story.” The researchers studied fungi found in the dung of large herbivores in cores of sediment from a fossilized swamp in Queensland dating back 130,000 years.
The study shows numbers of megafauna species were stable until 40,000 years ago despite two periods of climate change, the researchers said, suggesting newly arrived humans hunted the animals to extinction. Still, some scientists say they’re not convinced and that the presence of the ancient spores does not reflect an abundance of the giant animals.
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