A new study performed by researchers on some fossils in the Bahamas region shows that humans impacted animal extinction more than climate change did.
It is classically believed that climate change was responsible for the disappearance of most animal species. Overheating of the planet or different ice ages it was plunged into, definitely changed animals’ life. They lacked food and water and so they slowly went extinct. And it was a perfectly good and reasonable explanation until now.
More and more evidence is coming out that humans actually had a stronger word to say in making animals disappear form their environment, than changes in the weather pattern.
David Steadman is a curator and an ornithologist with the Museum of National History in Florida. He has recently studied several fossils recovered from the Bahamas islands and what he found was surprising enough to be made public. From his finds, a few are worthy of being noted, such as the fact that out of the 39 species that went extinct, less than half were due to climate change. This means that more than half of them disappeared forever because of humans.
Humans are also responsible for hunting off woolly mammoths, the big cats, saber toothed at that time, giant sloths and the list can continue. The human race might have hunted them or might have helped their extinction by modifying their home environment. For example, they might have deforested huge areas where the animals lived, when they first came to the island.
Or they might have burnt down big areas, to make room for their house and crops. Mammoths would have been hunted down for their meat, fur and fangs, the big saber-toothed cats might have been hunted down simply because they were natural predators, huge in size and they represented danger to humans, their families and their domesticated animals.
Humans also hunted down the giant tortoises, which caused a great disturbance in the eco-system. Therefore, humans impacted animal extinction more than climate change. It would seem as if wherever humans appeared, the majority of animals seemed to soon die out.
Having found out already all these things, the researchers in charge of this study, meaning David Steadman and his team say they will continue it, owing also to the $375 000 grant they received from the National Science Foundation. They will explore deeper and deeper into the Caribbean islands, starting December 2015.
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