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Rapid megafaunal extinction following human arrival throughout the New World


Johnson, CN and Bradshaw, CJA and Cooper, A and Gillespie, R and Brook, BW, Rapid megafaunal extinction following human arrival throughout the New World, Quaternary International, 308-309 pp. 273-277. ISSN 1040-6182 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.06.022


Lima-Ribeiro and Diniz-Filho (2013) present a new compilation and analysis of the chronologies of human arrival and megafaunal extinction throughout the Americas. They find that in many places megafauna were apparently extinct before humans arrived; in many others, megafauna coexisted with humans for thousands of years before going extinct. They conclude that human impact made at most a minor and geographically restricted contribution to megafaunal extinction. We argue that Lima-Ribeiro and Diniz-Filho's (2013) conclusions are unreliable because they have not adequately accounted for uncertainties and biases that affect the estimation of extinction dates from fossil data and human-arrival dates from archeological data. We re-analyze their data taking these problems into account, and reach the opposite conclusion to theirs: extinction consistently followed human arrival with a delay of around one or two thousand years, in agreement with the overkill model of megafaunal extinction.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:megafaunal extinction
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
ID Code:87820
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2013-12-09
Last Modified:2017-11-01
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