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View Diary: Ancient America: Hunting Mastodons (62 comments)

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    i saw an old tree today, petral

    (Just so you don't call me a terrible communicator like you did previously--mastodons never forget, ya know)

    evidence suggests that the intersection of human impacts with pronounced climatic change drove the precise timing and geography of extinction in the Northern Hemisphere. http://www.sciencemag.org.silk/...
    Results of the population models also show that the collapse of the climatic niche of the mammoth caused a significant drop in their population size, making woolly mammoths more vulnerable to the increasing hunting pressure from human populations. The coincidence of the disappearance of climatically suitable areas for woolly mammoths and the increase in anthropogenic impacts in the Holocene, the coup de grâce, likely set the place and time for the extinction of the woolly mammoth.  http://www.plosbiology.org/...
    This one is a simulation, but it demonstrates my point that the slow reproduction of large mammals means that low hunting pressure can tip the scales towards extinction:
    A computer simulation of North American end-Pleistocene human and large herbivore population dynamics correctly predicts the extinction or survival of 32 out of 41 prey species. Slow human population growth rates, random hunting, and low maximum hunting effort are assumed; additional parameters are based on published values. Predictions are close to observed values for overall extinction rates, human population densities, game consumption rates, and the temporal overlap of humans and extinct species.  http://www.sciencemag.org/...
    The thing to remember is that all of these large animals had survived countless (well, there is a count, but I'm too lazy to look it up) previous glacial cycles.  There is little reason to think that the most recent glacial cycle would have eliminated all of those species without human's messing things up.  Ergo, humans are responsible, even if they didn't kill every last large animal.

    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

    by Scott in NAZ on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 09:24:04 AM PDT

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