Did humans wipe out the megafauna?

Jan Freedman at the Twilight Beasts blog has a nice, well-balanced essay about the roles humans and climate change may have played in the extinction of really big animals tens of thousands of years ago. Spoiler Alert: Humans might not be innocent. But the jury is still deliberating…


The wonderful thing about writing for Twilight Beasts is the chance to bring back some truly incredible creatures. Here we are allowed to be taken back to a time when the largest land lizard ever walked the Earth: Megalania. We can feel the heat of the Australian sun, as we watch this oversized komodo dragon stalk a marsupial the size of a VW Beetle, the wonderful Diprotodon. Or perhaps we enjoy imagining we are sitting on the edge of a rich lagoon, with enormous tank-like Glyptodon taking a drink, unaware of a pride of Smilodon in the bushes. Or for those who like a more chilly time, step back onto the cold Steppes of Eurasia to see herds of Mammoths lolloping across the grassy plains, as a lone woolly rhinoceros munches quietly on the low shrubs.

A quick hop across the globe just a few tens of thousands…

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About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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