What caused extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna of Sahul?

Christopher Johnson, John Alroy, Nicholas Beeton, Michael Bird, Barry Brook, Alan Cooper, Richard Gillespie, Salvador Herrando-Pérez, Zenobia Jacobs, Gifford Miller, Gavin Prideaux, Richard Roberts, Marta Rodríguez-Rey, Frédérik Saltré, Christian Turney, Corey Bradshaw

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    During the Pleistocene, Australia and New Guinea supported a rich assemblage of large vertebrates. Why these animals disappeared has been debated for more than a century and remains controversial. Previous synthetic reviews of this problem have typically focused heavily on particular types of evidence, such as the dating of extinction and human arrival, and have frequently ignored uncertainties and biases that can lead to misinterpretation of this evidence. Here, we review diverse evidence bearing on this issue and conclude that, although many knowledge gaps remain, multiple independent lines of evidence point to direct human impact as the most likely cause of extinction.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20152399
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalProceedings of The Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
    Volume283
    Issue number1824
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2016

    Keywords

    • Archeology
    • Climate change
    • Human impacts
    • Palaeoecology
    • Prehistory
    • Quaternary

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