Pushed into oblivion

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

This time, there are no excuses. It was not climate change, not a meteor and not global warming. Humans, and not any other agent, may have pushed Genyornis , an ostrich-sized Australian bird, into extinction some 50,000 years ago, recent research has revealed. More than 40 of Australia's animals disappeared around the same time, say Now Gifford Miller and his team from the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA. Miller and his team have dated thousand of eggshell fragments from the extinct bird. "Eggshells are vastly superior medium for dating," he says. The team thinks the bird began suffering population losses when the Australian climate was relatively stable. However, says Miller, the continent's early human inhabitants were also spreading at that time. He thinks that these early human inhabitants could have hunted the birds to extinction.

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