Humans have been killing off animal species for way longer than we thought
A definitive answer has finally arrived surrounding the question of whether megafauna such as woolly mammoths and sabre tooth tigers went extinct due to climate change or human activity.
By comparing the possible moments of climate-induced extinction for each species with timing of human arrival, scientists can clearly say that humans caused their decline.
Species such as the mammoth, sabre tooth tiger and giant armadillo began declining around 80,000 years ago. Around 10,000 years ago, none of them remained.
One question still lingers. Why exactly did humans kill them off?
“Were they killing them for food, was it early use of fire or were they driven out of their habitats?" asks Lewis Bartlett, from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Ecology and Conservation, "Our analysis doesn’t differentiate, but we can say that it was caused by human activity more than by climate change. It debunks the myth of early humans living in harmony with nature.”
Facts about megafauna:
Megafauna is a term that means "big animals."
Humans hunted woolly mammoths for nearly all their resources. Their wool was used to keep entire families warm, their bones for tools and shelter, and their meat for food.
Sabre-tooth cats are only distantly related to tigers. Their fangs could be up to seven inches long.
Cover image: Wikimedia Commons