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Megafauna Collapse

6 July 2024
Biology, Catastrophism, Geology, Palaeontology

At https://www.sciencealert.com/humans-to-blame-for-megafauna-extinctions-new-study-suggests …. another study  is keen to blame humans for the disappearance of megafauna such as woolly mammoths, sabre toothed cats, and the like. It is a recurring feature, one theory challenges the other main theory, following each new study. However, it is noticeable that catastrophism is studiously ignored by both theories. It plays no role in their thinking. In this latest research article they argue against the alternative mainstream theory – climate change. However, climate change can come in the wake of catastrophic events of one sort or the other – the elephant in the room. Indeed, they do say that between 50,000 years ago and 10,000 years ago most of the world’s megafauna disappeared. Its episodic occurrence is ignored – unless it coincided with the recent arrival of humans in new areas. They also completely ignore the nature of the Laschamp Event at 42,000 years ago – when mass die-off of animals occurred in many locations. Not just megafauna. They also ignore the event at the start of the Late Glacial Maximum and another at its ending, the so called  Oldest Dryas event – or Heinrich One, and even the Younger Dryas event a few thousand years later- marking the end of the Pleistocene and the boundary with the Holocene.

Some 50,000 years ago, we are told, there were at least 57 species of mega herbivores. Today, some 11 remain – such as hippos, giraffe, elephants and rhinos. As human population pressure, and farming, is causing their numbers to shrink, they argue human pressure, and hunting, was responsible for earlier wipe-outs. Hence, it would have been a slow and gradual process, rather than an episodic one. Quite how Palaeolithic hunting bands managed to wipe out so many large animals is something marvellous in itself, as they were small in numbers and equipped with spears, and bows and arrows. Nevertheless, we do know that humans arrived in Australia around 60,000 years ago, according to current thinking. However, it may have been long before that when you take into account Neanderthals and Denisovans that lived prior to the Laschamp Event. They were around for many thousands of years. What was their impact on megafauna. Apparently, none.

In spite of being sceptical of the above theory , we do have another theory that may indicate catastrophism. This  concerns a Holocene event, around 4000 years ago – or a bit more. At https://www.livescience.com/animals/mammoths/mystery-random-event-killed-off-earths-last-woolly-mammoths-in-siberia-study-claims … the survival of mammoths on Wrangel Island, off the coast of Siberia, is something of a miracle. Just 8 animals survived the demise of the mammoths at the Younger Dryas boundary event, it seems, and lived on in isolated splendour, increasing their numbers. As in other islands, stranded animals developed into a pygmy species as pasture was limited. However, their demise came suddenly, is the claim. It is described as a mysterious and random event – towards the end of the third millennium BC. The date coincides with the crashing of civilisations across the ancient world, followed by numerous migrations of people in various locations around the globe. The researchers rejected the uniformitarian idea of inbreeding and now intend to look for clues about what happened via buried mammoth remains, from their final 300 year occupation of the island.

See also https://phys.org/news/2024-06-surviving-woolly-mammoths-inbred-doomed.html …or go to the full article at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2024.05.033 … or https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(24)00577-4


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