Pleistocene Extinction of Genyornis newtoni: Human Impact on Australian Megafauna

Date

1999

Authors

Miller, Gifford Hubbs
Magee, John
Johnson, Beverley J.
Fogel, Marilyn L
Spooner, Nigel
McCulloch, Malcolm
Ayliffe, Linda

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Abstract

More than 85 percent of Australian terrestrial genera with a body mass exceeding 44 kilograms became extinct in the Late Pleistocene. Although most were marsupials, the list includes the large, flightless mihirung Genyornis newtoni. More than 700 dates on Genyornis eggshells from three different climate regions document the continuous presence of Genyornis from more than 100,000 years ago until their sudden disappearance 50,000 years ago, about the same time that humans arrived in Australia. Simultaneous extinction of Genyornis at all sites during an interval of modest climate change implies that human impact, not climate, was responsible.

Description

Keywords

Keywords: anthropogenic effect; mass extinction; Pleistocene; article; Australia; biodiversity; ecosystem; environmental factor; fauna; geographic distribution; marsupial; nonhuman; predation; priority journal; Australia; Aves; Genyornis; Genyornis newtoni; Metathe

Citation

Source

Science

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1126/science.283.5399.205

Restricted until

2037-12-31