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By Gary (Ed.) Haynes, Gary Haynes

The quantity comprises summaries of evidence, theories, and unsolved difficulties referring to the unexplained extinction of dozens of genera of often huge terrestrial mammals, which happened ca. 13,000 calendar years in the past in North the US and approximately 1,000 years later in South the United States. one other both mysterious wave of extinctions affected huge Caribbean islands round 5,000 years in the past. The coupling of those extinctions with the earliest visual appeal of people has resulted in the advice that foraging people are accountable, even though significant climatic shifts have been additionally occurring within the Americas in the course of many of the extinctions. The final released quantity with comparable (but no longer exact) topics -- Extinctions in close to Time -- seemed in 1999; in view that then loads of cutting edge, intriguing new examine has been performed yet has now not but been compiled and summarized. varied chapters during this quantity offer in-depth resum?s of the chronology of the extinctions in North and South the US, the prospective insights into animal ecology supplied by means of reviews of sturdy isotopes and anatomical/physiological features comparable to development increments in great and mastodont tusks, the clues from taphonomic study approximately large-mammal biology, the purposes of courting ways to the extinctions debate, and archeological controversies relating human looking of enormous mammals.

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Additional resources for American Megafaunal Extinctions at the End of the Pleistocene (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology)

Example text

In South America, a ramp-like amelioration toward warmer and wetter Holocene climate started about 20,000 BP, but megafauna survived for 8 kyr during this gradual process. In North America, proponents of climate change as the agent of mass death at least might argue that the rapid onset of the Younger Dryas, combined with opening of the ice-free corridor, subjected plants and animals to unprecedented cold winters. No such dramatic change can be postulated for South America. At present, it has not been demonstrated that the gradual climate change there reached a critical threshold at 12,500 cal bp that would have caused the disappearance of 37 or more mammalian genera within a few centuries.

2. Sudden Deaths: The Chronology of Terminal Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinction For now, only about half of the extinct Pleistocene genera in North America can be demonstrated to have survived down to the time of sudden death. Even so, the simultaneous disappearance of at least 17 genera can hardly be brushed aside as a freakish coincidence (contra Grayson, 2007). I venture to predict that, as dates accumulate, the extinction dates of the less common Pleistocene species will come ever closer to the same ca.

If Martin’s blitzkrieg model is correct as originally formulated (Martin, 1967; Mosimann and Martin, 1975), we would anticipate a pattern of decreasing age of final megafauna with increasing distance south and east of the Paleoindians’ presumed entry point in southern Alberta. However, Beck (1996), using the dates then available and unaware of calibration and plateau effects, did not observe this expected pattern. Four dates have been reported recently on bones from the Wally’s Beach site at the St.

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