Humans may have led to the extinction of the Australian megafauna
(Mirror Daily, United States) – There have been various ways in which animal went extinct in time but this is a first: humans ate giant bird’s eggs to extinction.
A very long time ago, there lived a giant bird that laid huge eggs of about 3.5 pounds each. Apparently humans found those eggs to be tasty and nourishing for they ate them all, which obviously led to the extinction of the giant bird.
This giant bird we’re speaking was called by scientists Genyornis newtoni and was about seven feet tall, weighing around 500 pounds. It looks like in those times, this wasn’t the only giant animal around. Many other populated the earth and are collectively called megafauna.
The megafauna, although giant animals were in other places of the world as well, was located in Australia. For example, another massive animal in the past was a 1,000 pound kangaroo or a wombat as big as a car. However, their big size was of no help for them when the humans arrived. Humans back then were agile hunters with a huge appetite so the animals had no chance, about 85% going extinct soon after the humans’ arrival.
Although scientists knew about the Australian megafauna, they were never quite sure about how the animals went extinct. Thanks to this new research made by a team of Australian and American scientists, they now have evidence that the humans had something to do with it. The evidence consists in burns found on some eggshell fragments. As we know, the humans are the only ones playing with fire, so they were clearly responsible.
So far, it was believed that the megafauna could have been affected by some climate changes, a form of severe continental drying that happened about 40,000-60,000 years ago. However, it seems that even more dangerous climate changes have happened previously, so the animals couldn’t have gone extinct because of this.
Although it is not sure when humans first arrived to Australia, the first signs of their existence on this continent dates back to about 47,000 years ago, while the eggshells found by the scientists have an age in between 44,000 and 54,000 years.
The way the eggshells were burnt, more on one side than the other, indicated that they were cooked rather than caught in a wildfire. Eggshells of emu birds have also been found previously displaying the same marks of burning which means this new theory is much more likely to be true.
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