Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Genyornis newtoni Extinction in the Pleistocene - Human Impact on the Australian Megafauna 

In the Late Pleistocene more than 85 % of the land genera of Australia having a body mass of more than 44 kg became extinct. Genyornis newtoni, a large flightless bird was among the marsupial megafauna that went extinct. Genyornis had been present continuously for more than 100,000 years, according to more than 700 dates that have been obtained  from their eggshells from 3 different climate regions, then at about 50,000 years they suddenly disappeared, about the time humans were dispersing throughout Australia. The authors1 suggest it is indicted by the simultaneous extinction of Genyornis from all known sites, in a interval when the climate was modest, suggests the impact of humans was responsible, instead of climate that has often been associated with such widespread extinction of the megafauna.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Miller, Gifford H., John W. Magee, Beverly J. Johnson, Marilyn L. Fogel, Nigel A. Spooner, Malcolm T. McCulloch, and Linda K. Ayliffe. "Pleistocene Extinction of Genyornis Newtoni: Human Impact on Australian Megafauna." Science 283, no. 5399 (January 8, 1999 1999): 205-08.


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 24/05/2013
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