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Keyword: megafauna

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  • Bush tucker feeds an ancient mystery

    07/13/2012 7:38:52 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    HeritageDaily ^ | Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | Contributing Source: UNSW
    As sabre tooth tigers and woolly mammoths were wandering around Europe, unique, giant prehistoric animals were living in Australia -- three metre tall kangaroos and wombat-like creatures, the size of a four-wheel drive, were just some of the curious creatures Down Under. Yet mysteriously, sometime during the last 100,000 years, they disappeared forever. The extinction of these giant animals, known as megafauna, has generated great debate. One group advocates "human blitzkrieg" -- those asserting the first Australians hunted these beasts to extinction. Others, myself included, find there is too little evidence to confidently attribute responsibility to any particular factor. Nonetheless,...
  • First Australians did not boost fire activity

    12/08/2010 7:23:50 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    PhysOrg ^ | Monday, December 6, 2010 | Bob Beale
    The arrival of the first people in Australia about 50,000 years ago did not result in significantly greater fire activity, according to a landmark new research report on the continent's fire history going back 70,000 years. Despite a widely held belief that the frequent use of fire by Aboriginal people resulted in vegetation change and other environmental impacts in prehistoric times, the most comprehensive study of Australian charcoal records has found they had no major impact on fire regimes... On large time scales, overall fire activity in Australia predominantly reflects prevailing climate, with less activity in colder glacial periods and...
  • Aboriginal folklore leads to meteorite crater

    01/12/2010 9:59:26 AM PST · by Palter · 17 replies · 968+ views
    COSMOS ^ | 07 Jan 2010 | Aaron Cook
    SYDNEY: An Australian Aboriginal 'Dreaming' story has helped experts uncover a meteorite impact crater in the outback of the Northern Territory. Duane Hamacher, an astrophysicist studying Aboriginal astronomy at Sydney's Macquarie University, used Google Maps to search for the signs of impact craters in areas related to Aboriginal stories of stars or stones falling from the sky. One story, from the folklore of the Arrernte people, is about a star falling to Earth at a site called Puka. This led to a search on Google Maps of Palm Valley, about 130 km southwest of Alice Springs. Here Hamacher discovered what...
  • Ancient penguin DNA raises doubts about accuracy of genetic dating techniques

    11/10/2009 10:54:53 AM PST · by decimon · 155 replies · 2,464+ views
    Oregon State University ^ | Nov 10, 2009 | Unknown
    CORVALLIS, Ore. - Penguins that died 44,000 years ago in Antarctica have provided extraordinary frozen DNA samples that challenge the accuracy of traditional genetic aging measurements, and suggest those approaches have been routinely underestimating the age of many specimens by 200 to 600 percent. In other words, a biological specimen determined by traditional DNA testing to be 100,000 years old may actually be 200,000 to 600,000 years old, researchers suggest in a new report in Trends in Genetics, a professional journal. The findings raise doubts about the accuracy of many evolutionary rates based on conventional types of genetic analysis. “Some...
  • Mega-Tsunami Theory Disputed (Australia)

    02/03/2008 4:35:17 PM PST · by blam · 47 replies · 256+ views
    The Australian ^ | 2-3-2008
    Mega-tsunami theory disputed February 03, 2008 SUPPOSED evidence Australia has been subject to prehistoric tsunamis up to 20m in height over the past 10,000 years could just be the result of Aboriginal occupation, a major conference is set to hear tomorrow. Archaeologists from the Australian National University say the theory about the mega-tsunamis, which has influenced the development of emergency service plans in Western Australia, is not supported by evidence. In 2003 Australian geological researchers suggested prehistoric tsunamis over the past 10,000 years were much larger than those recorded since European settlement, including findings of surges up to 20m in...
  • 'Fires wiped out' ancient mammals

    07/08/2005 9:39:15 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 33 replies · 967+ views
    BBC ^ | 7/8/05 | Helen Briggs
    The first humans to arrive in Australia destroyed the pristine landscape, probably by lighting huge fires, the latest research suggests.The evidence, published in Science magazine, comes from ancient eggshells. These show birds changed their diets drastically when humans came on the scene, switching from grass to the type of plants that thrive on scrubland. The study supports others that have blamed humans for mass extinctions across the world 10-50,000 years ago. Many scientists believe the causes are actually more complex and relate to climate changes during that period, but, according to Dr Marilyn Fogel, of the Carnegie Institution in Washington,...
  • Megafauna cave painting could be 40,000 years old

    05/31/2010 1:31:34 AM PDT · by Palter · 23 replies · 717+ views
    ABC ^ | 31 May 2010 | Emma Masters
    Scientists say an Aboriginal rock art depiction of an extinct giant bird could be Australia's oldest painting. The red ochre painting, which depicts two emu-like birds with their necks outstretched, could date back to the earliest days of settlement on the continent. It was rediscovered at the centre of the Arnhem Land plateau about two years ago, but archaeologists first visited the site a fortnight ago. A palaeontologist has confirmed the animals depicted are the megafauna species Genyornis. Archaeologist Ben Gunn said the giant birds became extinct more than 40,000 years ago. "The details on this painting indicate that it...
  • Human role in big kangaroo demise

    06/27/2009 9:09:29 PM PDT · by Fred Nerks · 15 replies · 1,633+ views
    BBC Science and Technology ^ | Monday, 22 June 2009 22:25 UK | By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News
    Debate has raged about the demise of “whopper hopper” P. goliah A fossil study of the extinct giant kangaroo has added weight to the theory that humans were responsible for the demise of “megafauna” 46,000 years ago. The decline of plants through widespread fire or changes toward an arid climate have also played into the debate about the animals’ demise. But an analysis of kangaroo fossils suggested they ate saltbush, which would have thrived in those conditions. The research is in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. There has long been dissent in the palaeontology community about the cause...
  • Catastrophic Comet Chilled and Killed Ice Age Beasts (and Clovis people)

    05/21/2007 10:16:48 PM PDT · by TigerLikesRooster · 45 replies · 3,335+ views
    Live Science ^ | 05/21/07 | Jeanna Bryner
    Catastrophic Comet Chilled and Killed Ice Age Beasts Jeanna Bryner LiveScience Staff Writer LiveScience.com Mon May 21, 9:30 AM ET An extraterrestrial object with a three-mile girth might have exploded over southern Canada nearly 13,000 years ago, wiping out an ancient Stone Age culture as well as megafauna like mastodons and mammoths. The blast could be to blame for a major cold spell called the Younger Dryas that occurred at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch, a period of time spanning from about 1.8 million years ago to 11,500 years ago. Research, presented today at a meeting of the American...
  • What killed the mammoths and other behemoths?

    06/05/2002 3:34:28 PM PDT · by vannrox · 95 replies · 3,710+ views
    FR Post 6-6-2 | Interview with Ross MacPhee
    Interview with Ross MacPhee What killed the mammoths and other behemoths that once roamed the Americas? This mammalogist thinks it may have been hyperlethal disease Image: Clare Flemming Around 11,000 years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, North America witnessed an extinction that claimed its mammoths, giant ground sloths, camels and numerous other large-bodied animals. Exactly what happened to these megafauna is unknown. Indeed, researchers have puzzled over their disappearance for decades. Traditional explanations hold that either dramatic climate shifts, or human hunting (overkill) extinguished these species. But in recent years a new hypothesis has emerged. According...