Aboriginals Did Not Wipe Out Megafauna

The argument continues over whether humans were responsible for the extinction of megafauna. Giant emus, large kangaroos, marsupial lions and diprodons were destroyed by Aboriginals in Australia according to new research. This claim is based on fungi in dung of herbivores. For 130,00 years, despite dry periods, charcoal and pollen levels in dung remained the same until Aboriginals arrived. This means that climate change was not responsible for the extinction of megafauna 40,000 years ago.

There is a problem with this. When Captain Cook arrived in Australia the Aboriginal population was extremely low. Forty thousand years ago there would have been only a few hundred thousand of them. How could this low number possibly destroy all of the large animals? Some megafauna would have survived in regions where Aboriginals did not go. Australia is a very large continent.

It is claimed that when the megafauna died out the vegetation changed with more fires, and eucalyptus forests spread out killing off rainforests. Spores in dung is flimsy evidence to support a claim that human arrival led to the demise of megafauna. Rainforests being taken over by eucalyptus sounds very much like climate change. Furthermore. prevailing evidence shows no human remains among megafauna fossils.

Saying that the dung research proves humans destroyed giant animals is still not proven beyond doubt. Gavin Prideaux's announcement that the study "supported mounting evidence that climate change was not to blame" is premature.
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