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STATES CHRONICLE – New data reveals that humans are responsible for destroying the Australian megafauna. Ancient creatures which once lived in Australia are thought to be extinct due to humans, not global warming. These animals populated Australia 45,000 years ago. A new study led by scientists at the University of Colorado and researchers at the Monash University in Victoria, Australia revealed that they managed to extract data from sediments found in the Indian Ocean.
They were bound to reconstruct the ecosystems which existed in the past and to determine the effects of global warming back then. Professor Gifford Miller from the CU-Boulder noted that a sediment core was drilled and it was proved to contain successive layers of matter washed into the ocean including spores from fungi, ash, pollen and dust.
Miller, who helped at developing the study led by Sander van der Kaars of Monash University, stated that the primary sediment helped scientists travel back in time, being able to analyze data about ancient animals. They have managed to reveal what was happening on Earth approximately 150,000 years ago during the last glacial cycle.
Miller, a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, claimed that fungal spores were revealed to pertain to mammals which used to eat only plants. These spores were present in large quantities in the sediment core layers from approximately 150,000 years back to 45,000 years ago. He also argued that these spores’ abundance represents evidence of the fact that many large species of mammals on the southwestern Australian area have lived up until 45,000 years ago.
Then, just a few thousand years ago, the megafauna was affected by humans. A new study was developed in this sense, and it was published on January 20 in Nature Communications magazine. The Australian megafauna from 50,000 years ago included hundred-pound kangaroos, huge tortoise, 300-pound marsupial lions, 400-pound flightless birds, 25-foot-long lizards and two-tone wombats.
More than 85% of all Australian mammals, reptiles, and birds weighed more than a hundred pound. Miller stated that they became extinct after the arrival of first humans. The sediment core of the ocean proved that the Southwest is one of the few areas on this continent which had dense forests 45,000 years ago and also today. Thus, this was considered the reservoir of biodiversity.
Image courtesy of: flickr