Would the Australian megafauna have become extinct if humans had never colonised the continent? Comments on "A review of the evidence for a human role in the extinction of Australian megafauna and an alternative explanation" by S. Wroe and J. Field

Barry W. Brook*, David M J S Bowman, David A. Burney, Timothy F. Flannery, Michael K. Gagan, Richard Gillespie, Christopher N. Johnson, Peter Kershaw, John W. Magee, Paul S. Martin, Gifford H. Miller, Benny Peiser, Richard G. Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A critical comment on 'A review of the evidence for a human role in the extinction of Australian megafauna and an alternative explanation' by S. Wroe and J. Field is presented. The authors have highlighted a range of ideas under consideration, and provided a selective interpretation which does not come to terms with biology and ignores or misinterprets current evidence. They rely heavily on the ages reported by Roberts et al. (2001) to argue for a gradual attenuation of the megafauna. They propose a staggered series of extinctions throughout the Middle and Late Pleistocene, with many taxa lost during the Penultimate Glacial Maximum (PGM) 140 130 ka, and relatively few species persisting. They ignore measurement uncertainties associated with the ages, which, when properly considered, means that 20, rather than eight of the species they list have last appearance ages consistent with ́45 ka.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-564
Number of pages5
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume26
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

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