Human Arrival Blamed For Extinction Of Australia’s Giant Creatures

P1030968Imagine 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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  • humbug

    “The debate really should be over now,” John Alroy, from Macquarie University in Sydney, said. “Hunting did it, end of story.”
    he sounds like a dogmatic ass

    there is some good evidence that suggests climate changes and other catastrophes could have played a significant part as well, so coming to such solid conclusions is pretty stupid

    • Jesus Borg

      Because otherwise….what? We can’t romanticize indiginous people?

      • Columna

        como pedazo de mierda?

        • Jesus Borg

          tell me you aren’t a pissed off Indigenous person cursing me out in a colonial language?

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Isn’t English the colonial language?

            My family may be muck savages, but we came by it honestly.  None of us spoke English before 1850 or so.

          • Jesus Borg

            Gaylick? Is that how you spel it?

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Wow!  Gather ’round everybody!  We’ve got the reincarnated wit of an Oscar Wilde or George Bernard Shaw in the house!

            Or at least a reincarnated half wit.

            Okay, so you’ve got a chip on your shoulder. No big whoop.  Everybody’s paying their karmic debt on the installment plan.  But isn’t it time you sought to refinance with your inner broker, instead of airing all your dirty laundry in front of us?

          • Jesus Borg

            I can’t make fun of irish people and indigenous people in the same thread what?

          • Jesus Borg

            rednecks?
            Is that all that’s left?

          • Liam_McGonagle

            I’m not offended by the mere fact of a joke.  Only that it was so shabbily put together.

            Honestly, anyone with enough active brain cells to tie their own shoes ought to be able to cobble together something a little more thoughtful than “Gaylick”.

            You may feel that my (historically accurate) description of English as a colonial language is a bit gratiuitous.  Eh, may be–but only if it was so horribly obvious as to render itself offensive.

            But I’m gambling that a goodly portion of readers neither know nor care about the history of cultural extinctions wrought by European colonialism. 

            So I regard my comment as a potentially useful reminder, but one I am willing to accept as possibly futile.  Pure self-indulgence on my part.  You are free to regard it or disregard it as you wish.  I grant you this liberty. 

          • Jesus Borg

            at least you aren’t verbose, eh?

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Well, Gramma was right after all:  “Brevity is the soul of shit.”

            That’s what she’d say until she put in her dentures, anyhow.

          • Jesus Borg

            From now on I shall name you “Tonto Murphy”

          • Jesus Borg

            catchy!

          • Jesus Borg

            And Indian and an Irishman, a Pollack and a wooly mammoth walk into a bar…

          • Jesus Borg

            You guys probably killed all the mammoths in Ireland.

        • Jesus Borg

          Hey, when somebody litters do you get a tear in your eye?

      • Andrew

        Because then we might have to admit responsibility, and responsibility impinges on freedumb.

    • rtb61

       It works like this. In good times, people develop habits hunting certain favourable species. Nto so dangerous, feed the whole tribe, easy to track, pursue and kill.
      This works somewhat well when combined with nomadic hunting practices. However when human numbers build up and more established human enforced regional constraints are established limiting nomadic movements, species get readily eliminated.
      Now combine that with harsher environmental times, and far more violently human enforced regional constraints and species extinction becomes inevitable.
      The only real limiting impact up predation by humans, is when humans starve and they become regionally extinct.
      It is pretty uniform, that throughout the globe, human societies working together, started to impose limits on behaviour based upon harsh lessons learned from over exploiting mega fauna.
      In the Australian context, fire stick farming http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_Stick_Farming was also pretty disastrous when it comes to maintaining the original no human ecology.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1180747740 Dan Muench

    Perhaps, after getting lead astray by old, College-bound white guys for hundreds of years into the mess we’re in today, we’d like to hear a different perspective.

    In Vine Deloria, Jr’s, ‘Red Earth, White Lies’, he addresses this specific issue in detail – and aside from there being a political axe to grind (ie the fact that European despoilers wish to hold up native peoples as an excuse for their current atrocities, ie ‘it’s ok for us to do it – look what THEY did to the Mammoth!’), many of these assumptions are based on – you guessed it – BAD SCIENCE.

    Any computer nerd will tell you that the basic rule of computing is GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out. Many of these suppositions are based on other suppositions going back hundreds of years that, if anyone were paying attention, were overturned decades – if not centuries – ago.”The debate is over”, indeed.

    FWIW, Deloria points out that these ‘different species’ that grew so gigantic were, in fact, the current species we are familiar with – ie that a ‘giant armadillo’ is essentially the same animal that roams now, it’s just due to changes in atmospheric composition that they don’t grow as large anymore. Not only were wolves, deer, beaver, etc found in giant form – but humans as well.

    The difference in the atmosphere? “Oh noes, it’s more CO2, right?”

    Actually, less. CO2 is not only ‘plant food’, and giant plants produce more oxygen, but the fact is that higher CO2 levels stimulate plant AND animal growth. That ‘Golden Age’ we’re all trying to get back to? Full of CO2, which was leeched out of the air after the oceans cooled during the last Ice Age.

    And what are the Elites pushing? “CO2 = BAD!”

    Anyone ever think that what the assholes are promoting (looking at you, Gore) might not be the best thing for the rest of us to buy into?

    Nah, I’m sure they have our best interests at heart…I mean, look at all of the evidence for such a positi….never mind :D

  • Jesus Borg

    Besides the fact that humor (never mind sick, “off color” humor) doesn’t always translate online, I actually have a pretty sophisticated view  of  the indigenous peoples of the world.  I find it interesting that prejudice is usually interpreted when various ethnic minorities are designated as being “different.” but when it comes to indigenopus people, its considered prejudiced to describe them as the same as everyone else, “everyone else” being the majority population, i.e. white people, in Europe/North America. 

    So I don’t want to be considered prejudiced by this anonymous online fringe community here. So I retract my statement that indiginous people probably killed off the megafauna as they moved into areas previously unoccupied by Homo sapiens sapiens. I mean sure, it makes perfect logical sense that that megafauna that co-evolved with humans in Africa were able to survive human hunting pressure, by gradually adapting to it, and that the megafauna in North America, Australia were unable to survive the hunting pressure visited upon them by humans suddently arriving into their habitat.

    But that would go against the hackneyed, nostalgic, patronistic, “Noble Savage” stereotype many liberals hold dear. I humbly stand corrected.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1180747740 Dan Muench

      So, you prefer to reinforce the hackneyed, nostalgic, patronistic stereotype of the “Noble White Man Who ‘Liberated’ Indiginous Peoples From Their Own Ignorance And Savagery”? Frankly, let me put it this way – are you ‘white’ to the people who run and control the show on this planet? Are you some super-elite ‘pureblood’ royal? If not, then you’re in the same boat as the rest of us undesirables. As Deloria pointed out, the same force that conqured the Plains Indians hundreds of years ago conquered Pagan Europe a thousand years before Columbus. That force is called Christianity.

      If you speak English as a primary language, you’re a conquered people. Since almost none of us are involved in the exclusive ‘string puller’ club, this goes for English people as well. Many ‘English’ are conquered Celts and other peoples and even the purest of English peasants is conquered by their own Monarchy.

      Across the border you can substitute ‘Spanish’ for ‘English’. Different empire, same results. Makes me laugh when I see people talking really seriously about ‘reconquista’. At least the US isn’t the only country actively fighting against it’s own interests for those of their oppressors.

      If you’re going to put in effort to make the world safer for someone, why would it be for the Larry the Cable Guy clones and Henry Kissingers of the world? Does Rush Limbaugh really need someone to come to his defense? Because that’s the type of folks that eat up the ‘those savages did that so every atrocity we commit is thus justified’ argument.

      • Jesus Borg

        Yeah, I am actually a direct descendant of Charlemagne through and old line of Norman nobility. So basically yes I am better than you.

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