Author Topic: Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths  (Read 982 times)

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Offline TylerDurden

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Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths
« on: August 14, 2015, 04:44:53 am »
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3196817/It-humans-killed-mammoths-Spread-mankind-coincides-extinction-ice-age-beasts-claims-study.html

What I find interesting is that the disappearance of the megafauna caused unpleasant changes in climate so that Australia became more of a desert, for example. Anyway, it debunks the noble savage theory, that human hunter-gatherers  in the palaeolithic era and onwards   were ever  in tune with Nature.
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Offline cherimoya_kid

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Re: Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2015, 06:31:55 am »
Good find.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2015, 07:53:18 am »
Indeed. Thanks for finding that, Tyler. I tried to discuss that megafauna extinction hypothesis in the past, such as with Lex, and there was little interest.
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Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2015, 10:36:33 am »
Is this something like the introduction of foreign species recently to Australia and New Zealand?

Humans are a foreign species the mega fauna creatures had no defense from?
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Offline cherimoya_kid

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Re: Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2015, 12:19:51 pm »
Is this something like the introduction of foreign species recently to Australia and New Zealand?

Humans are a foreign species the mega fauna creatures had no defense from?

No species has any real defense against humans, except by being submissive and tasting good.

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2015, 04:28:57 pm »
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/08/12/3823463.htm


This was the article I was thinking of. It shows that environmental destruction by humans happened even in the Palaeolithic era, not just in modern times.
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Offline dariorpl

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Re: Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2015, 07:48:10 pm »
Well it's still "living in harmony with nature" to hunt one species to extinction so that another can flourish.

But in any case, I'm skeptical of these claims. I think it's much more likely that the end of the ice age was what wiped out the wooly mamoth. Notice how elephants were not hunted to extinction in Africa and Asia.

Have you thought about how ridiculously hard it must have been to hunt an adult wooly mammoth with nothing but primitive spears and rocks? Those things were massive beasts. The slightest touch would kill a human on impact, and driving a spear through such thick fur, skin and muscles in order to get to the organs inside must've been next to impossible. Even if you had modern spears, it would be pretty hard. And with those primitive spears they would've had then, I just don't see it happening all that often. I realize those humans were much healthier, quicker, stronger and resilient than today's humans. But still.

One way I can see to hunt such a massive beast with the tools available at the time, would be to set up a pit-trap and then fool the wooly mammoth into walking over it. But even digging such a massive pit-trap with the tools available at the time must've been quite a feat. Let alone the actually finding a wooly mammoth that just happened to be nearby, and then convincing it to run straight over it somehow.

I suppose another way might be to get it to run around to exhaustion (either being chased around, or making it chase the human hunters, or both), the way the San people of the Kalahari Desert do with some animals there, such as kudus. But elephants are much more resilient over long distances, and I assume wooly mammoths must've been as well. So I'm not sure it would be the mammoth that would get exhausted first. I haven't heard of african tribes hunting elephants or rhinos in this way. And of course, africans are much better long-distance runners than europeans, so there's that as well.

And then another way would be to use poison, if they could find it in the wild. But it would take a tremendous amount of poison to hunt such a large animal. The poison could combine well with the exhaustion hunt.

In order to eat mammoths, more likely than all that, would be to wait for them to die from natural causes, and then find and eat the carcass. High meat :)
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 08:15:04 pm by dariorpl »
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Offline Eric

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Re: Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2015, 02:19:14 am »
For another perspective, watch these two podcasts where Joe Rogan interviews Randall Carlson. They talk about a range of things, but one thing that comes up is how the climate change that started the last ice age was probably caused by an asteroid or comet impact, which also happened to cause the extinction of many large mammals around the world. I thought both interviews were well done:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R31SXuFeX0A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0Cp7DrvNLQ

Offline Iguana

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Re: Humans did indeed wipe out megafauna like mammoths
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2015, 04:47:55 am »
Anyway, it debunks the noble savage theory, that human hunter-gatherers  in the palaeolithic era and onwards   were ever  in tune with Nature.

The megafauna extinction happened much after humans used fire. The articles you quote speak of 12,000 - 10,000 years ago, but I think it started about 50,000 years ago. It's is estimated that the mastery of fire began about 400,000 years ago.
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

 

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