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What Killed the Great Beasts of North America?

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the mostly-spears dept.

Earth 214

sciencehabit writes "Until about 11,000 years ago, mammoths, giant beavers, and other massive mammals roamed North America. Many researchers have blamed their demise on incoming Paleoindians, the first Americans, who allegedly hunted them to extinction. But a new study points to climate and environmental changes instead. The findings could have implications for conservation strategies, including controversial proposals for 'rewilding' lions and elephants into North America."

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214 comments

It's the orbit, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102109)

Re:It's the orbit, stupid (4, Informative)

emagery (914122) | about 3 months ago | (#46102281)

Oh, the orbit matters... but the orbit is EXTREMELY predictable even its wobble and orientation. It might, perhaps tip the scale during the (likely ongoing) pleistocene (Where 90% of our time is spent in ice age with 10% warm snaps that should have already ended by now, contrary to spiking upwards instead) but ebbs on a timeline that should have had the pleistocene happening essentially since beginning of observable time (which it has not.) So, it's a factor, but not a decisive one. Continental arrangements and landmasses propensity for temperature extremity vs. oceanic propensity for temperature moderation and long-distance transport matter far more (even than tilt, given measuring the southern hemisphere vs. northern.) And yet, in spite of the fact that the continents and oceanic currents are still in the same messy tangle they have been for the entirety of the multi-million year pleistocene, these beasts didn't go extinct during an of the previous warm-snaps... just the one we arrived in... and now that we should be quickly descending into ice age, instead we're headed the other way. This article is of interest, but it is not argument against anthropogenic extinctions or climate change.

Re:It's the orbit, stupid (4, Interesting)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 3 months ago | (#46103353)

My personal theory is that the pleistocene has been so cold because of the historically (4 billion years) high oxygen levels and the significant amount of historical carbon that has been sequestered underground.

Humans are changing that, we're sucking all the sequestered carbon out and putting it into the atmosphere where it hasn't been since the dinosaurs. Before all the science deniers reply, this is scary because humanity was born in the ice ages of the Pleistocene we've never experienced a planet as warm as the dinosaurs where there weren't any ice caps and it was 100 degrees in the northern reaches of Canada (yes I know the continents were in different places so Canada was at a lower latitude).

Humans will survive a warmer earth I have no doubt, but the potential for massive disruption to the food supply is there and if that happens there's going to be some really ugly war that humanity might not survive. The reason to be scared of global warming is because of those changing fertile zones, humanity goes batshit crazy when starvation is eminent.

Re:It's the orbit, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102813)

There was an interesting episode of In Our Time on recently about Ice Ages. Apparently, one of the biggest factors creating an ice age is the presence of continental land masses at the poles. Antarctica collects ice and snow, which then doesn't melt, reflects sunlight, cools the whole planet, etc.

And one definition of whether you're in an ice age is if there are polar ice caps year-round. Guess what? We're in an ice age now!

WHAT!!! (2, Funny)

PortHaven (242123) | about 3 months ago | (#46102847)

You'd have to be crazy.....

Seriously...the earth is hotter than it's ever been before...so I was told, by Mr. Al Gore.

We're in an ice age now! (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 3 months ago | (#46103047)

Yep, I looked outside and theres snow and ice everywhere,
however it is warming slightly. In the past couple of days the temperature has risen from 243 to 267 thats a 10% increase

People! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102127)

People killed them. Either by direct means or global warming.

Or, I blame God.

Re:People! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102261)

But Soylent Green is people...

Re:People! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 months ago | (#46102387)

People killed them. Either by direct means or global warming.

Or, I blame God.

What about Justin Bieber, I'm sure he had something to do with the extinction of the mammoths.

To be on the safe side, sign this petition [whitehouse.gov] The species you save may be your own.

Re:People! (2)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 3 months ago | (#46102571)

When will someone kill two birds with one stone. . .and make Soylent Bieber ???

Re:People! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 months ago | (#46102699)

When will someone kill two birds with one stone. . .and make Soylent Bieber ???

Potentially answering one question with another... Would you eat it?

Re:People! (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 3 months ago | (#46102739)

Best slashdotting message I've seen yet:
We are currently experiencing a service outage due to unforeseen technical issues and are working to resolve them as soon as possible. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

The entire point of the original article was supposed to be that People didn't do it, but it appears that People killed the whitepaper, or at least, slashdotters did. Whether slashdotters are people remains to be proven.

Re:People! (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 3 months ago | (#46102803)

We know it was people. They just used to think it was the paleoindians, but now they are thinking it was 20th and 21st century man that killed them with their manmade global warming.

Re:People! (2)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#46102845)

People killed them. Either by direct means or global warming.

Or, I blame God.

There were never enough Paleoindians, or even Pre-Columbian indians in north america to have killed all of these animals.
The indigenous populations of the Americas (north and south) was somewhere well under 112 million prior 1492 [bxscience.edu].
(Yup the Columbus gets the blame for native population collapse, even though far earlier arrivals could certainly have been the vector for deadly diseases).

I never believed the hunted to extinction nonsense. (Not that Native Americans were very good stewards of the land, they had been known to stampede entire herds of buffalo over cliffs just for their tongues, and a few hides, leaving the vast majority to rot.) But their population density simply was never great enough to exhaust the resources.

I don't find the idea that a steadily improving (more benign) climate over the time of these species demise seems likely either. With the retreat of the ice age glaciation opening more and more land the pressure on these species would have been less and less as time went on. We are always quick to blame man kind, (but apparently only western European man-kind) for every tragedy befalling the environment, (or the indians), without considering that disease could have been just as likely.
 

Re:People! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102873)

God did it? Pish posh! They were intelligently designed out of the ecosystem. Just ask any bible banger with the science education of a four year old and they'll give you all the details you need to make a theme park.

war hero scott olsen to get peace prize too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102129)

he walks the walk. with service in at least two battles at home & abroad who is more deserving of a standing ovation etc...? http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=scott%20olsen&sm=3

Slashdot only allows anonymous users to post 10 times per day (more or less, depending on moderation). A user from your IP has already shared his or her thoughts with us that many times. Take a breather, and come back and see us in 24 hours or so.never ends badly hopefully

who killled the millions of original campers here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102181)

teepeeleaks etchings (native genocides) now a motion picture http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=unrepentant&sm=3

Global Warming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102137)

Or Was it Global Cooling?

I guess it depends on which "great beasts" you are referring to.

It was me. Sorry. (3, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 3 months ago | (#46102153)

My bad. Sabertooth tiger and Mammoth just tasted so good.

Re:It was me. Sorry. (2)

crow (16139) | about 3 months ago | (#46102363)

What's wrong with you?

Sure, mammoths are tasty, but my dogs won't even touch sabertooth meat. That stuff is nasty.

Seriously.

In general, herbivores are tasty. Carnivores and omnivores? No way. A friend of mine in Alaska had to kill the neighborhood grizzly bear, and, indeed, even his dogs wouldn't eat the meet. They ended up having to bury it (though I suppose burning would have worked, too).

Re:It was me. Sorry. (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 3 months ago | (#46102615)

In general, herbivores are tasty. Carnivores and omnivores? No way.

This is at least partly cultural. Cats, dogs, bears, various reptiles, fish, whales, insects -- just to name a few animals off the top of my head that are carnivorous or omnivorous and are used as food with some frequency. If it's possible to eat it, chances are that somebody does -- and even considers it a delicacy.

Re:It was me. Sorry. (2)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#46102893)

What's wrong with you?

Sure, mammoths are tasty, but my dogs won't even touch sabertooth meat. That stuff is nasty.

Seriously.

In general, herbivores are tasty. Carnivores and omnivores? No way. A friend of mine in Alaska had to kill the neighborhood grizzly bear, and, indeed, even his dogs wouldn't eat the meet. They ended up having to bury it (though I suppose burning would have worked, too).

Black bear is often eaten.
And Grizzly Bear, (usually called Brown bears in Alaska) are mostly herbaceous except when the salmon are running.

Re:It was me. Sorry. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#46102967)

Black bear is often eaten.

You can stomach bear, if it's spiced up in a meatball, but it's not what you'd call great. Compared with, say, elk.

But dogs? C'mon, my dog will eat a rotting squirrel. Maybe the "neighborhood grizzly" was sick - grizzlies don't ordinarily inhabit human neighborhoods, save the usual caveats about garbage.

Re:It was me. Sorry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103505)

While not having a woody stem does make brown bears easier to eat, they still have all those bones and that fur.

And Grizzly Bear, (usually called Brown bears in Alaska) are mostly herbaceous except when the salmon are running.

Re:It was me. Sorry. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 3 months ago | (#46102991)

What's wrong with you?

Sure, mammoths are tasty, but my dogs won't even touch sabertooth meat. That stuff is nasty.

Seriously.

In general, herbivores are tasty. Carnivores and omnivores? No way. A friend of mine in Alaska had to kill the neighborhood grizzly bear, and, indeed, even his dogs wouldn't eat the meet. They ended up having to bury it (though I suppose burning would have worked, too).

So.. no bacon for you?

WTF are they talking about? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102161)

I see great hambeasts of North America roaming about everytime I go to Walmart. Largest in the world.

We have no shortage of large, XL, XXL, XXXL, or XXXXL wildlife.

Re:WTF are they talking about? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102321)

I resemble that remark, asshole!

Re:WTF are they talking about? (4, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | about 3 months ago | (#46102437)

Those are the elephants. They now want to introduce lions to thin the herds.

Re:WTF are they talking about? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102469)

Glad to not say it first, but that was my thought... the WalMart candy aisle has substantial populations of mammoths, and on backpage.com you can find any number of giant beavers.

Re:WTF are they talking about? (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 3 months ago | (#46103313)

I see great hambeasts of North America roaming about everytime I go to Walmart. Largest in the world.

You should visit the Muskogee, Oklahoma Walmart - it's like WALL-E meets Deliverance...

rewilding? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#46102173)

Lions and Elephants? Time to get a 450 WinMag!

Seriously, nobody is actually proposing this, are they? Just some PETA dweeb, smoking crack.

Re:rewilding? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 months ago | (#46102247)

Seriously, nobody is actually proposing this, are they?

Yup. Read the article.

Re:rewilding? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#46102311)

GTF out. Read the article. What has /. come to?

Re:rewilding? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102543)

Read the article. What has /. come to?

Waiting for someone with a four digit UID to reply "you must be new here"

Re:rewilding? (5, Funny)

clovis (4684) | about 3 months ago | (#46102581)

Read the article. What has /. come to?

Waiting for someone with a four digit UID to reply "you must be new here"

I'm on it!

You must be new here.

Re:rewilding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103399)

I thought that skipping the reading of the article was largely considered an act of politeness, to avoid taking the hosting server down with too many requests from Slashdot.

Clicking those links is outright rude. No decent slashdotter would consider such a thing.

Re:rewilding? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 3 months ago | (#46102763)

What article?

We are currently experiencing a service outage due to unforeseen technical issues and are working to resolve them as soon as possible. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

Re:rewilding? (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 3 months ago | (#46102263)

Yeah, that's real shocker in the story. Someone wants to introduce elephants and lions to what is now cattle ranch territory? There has already been a crazy amount of push back when reintroducing wolfs into different areas.

Something tells me elephants won't pay attention to barbed wire fences.

Plus, aren't we already having a difficult time keeping mountain lions alive?

Re:rewilding? (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 3 months ago | (#46103005)

Something tells me elephants won't pay attention to barbed wire fences.

I dunno. Elephants are supposed to be pretty thin-skinned.

Assuming they don't just rip the posts out of the ground or something. They're also relatively smart.

Re:rewilding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103625)

Plus, aren't we already having a difficult time keeping mountain lions alive?

Not in the Bay Area. This is an urban area with parks, large estates and other quasi-rural properties right up against the cities. Deer thrive, and mountain lions eat deer. They'd never have a deer hunt here in bleedin' heart country even though it could be safely conducted on many of the larger tracts. Thus, mountain lions are doing quite well despite all the cars that can hit them. They just recently decided to tranquilize and relocate them, after years of saying that was pointless because the relocated lions would just become a problem again and/or fight with resident lions and get killed. I tend to believe their former position, and figure they just bowed to bleeding-heart pressure.

Re:rewilding? (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 3 months ago | (#46102393)

Seriously, nobody is actually proposing this, are they?

Artificially tampering with Mother Nature by bringing back extinct species into modern environs is probably even worse in the end than (maybe) helping to drive them into extinction to begin with. Sometimes, it's best to just let it go. Much as I would love to see the beautiful Carolina Parakeet [wikipedia.org] back in the wild (and maybe even own one as a pet), I know it's best not to go tampering around where my good intentions could lead to very unexpected (and perhaps very unpleasant) results.

Re:rewilding? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 3 months ago | (#46102897)

Artificially tampering with Mother Nature by bringing back extinct species into modern environs is probably even worse in the end than (maybe) helping to drive them into extinction to begin with.

Jurassic Park anybody?

Re:rewilding? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#46102473)

'nobody' is a pretty big space. Anyone can propose anything, just look at any slashdot thread. The question really is, is someone with any significant chance of being taken seriously or who has actual political power proposing it?

Though it sounds like the elephant one is not all that crazy since the idea would be to take a particular species of elephant that is currently endangered and start a colony of it in the southwest where it would fill a niche by eating types of plants that are threatening other types of plants that people want. Others are saying the ecological estimates are flaws, so looks like there is legitimate debate over if it would be a project that would help rebalance things or throw them further out of whack.

Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103291)

I live in the southwest and would love the chance to draw an elephant tag!

Re:rewilding? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 months ago | (#46102593)

I'd rather have a .270, thank you very much. Ye Olde Elephant Gun is highly over rated. That little old .270 can be wildcatted to take on the biggest of game, or it can be light loaded for squirrel hunting. And, the .270 is amazingly accurate at long range, no matter how you load it. My second choice is the .308, but it's less versatile as a varmint gun. Squirrels, rabbits, and prairie dogs just go splat when you hit them.

Re:rewilding? (1)

confused one (671304) | about 3 months ago | (#46103091)

You have to be careful with elephants. If you don't kill one outright, it will run over and flatten you. Plus, let's not forget they are herd animals -- miss one and you're now dealing with a dozen angry, upset, intelligent, truck sized animals. I'm not saying a .270 isn't good enough -- frankly I don't know; but, I suspect there's a reason hunters of old liked to use the very large caliber, high weight, magnum rounds.

So it WAS the Paleoindians after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102177)

But a new study points to climate and environmental changes instead.

So it WAS the Paleoindians after all, driving their SUVs.

Re:So it WAS the Paleoindians after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102795)

Was it the Cherokee? Or the Grand Cherokee?

IT WAS BEAUTY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102201)

That is what killed the beasts !! But what killed slashdot ?? Crap articles is what did that !!

Re-wilding elephants and lions... (-1, Troll)

inject_hotmail.com (843637) | about 3 months ago | (#46102215)

Re-wilding elephants and lions in North America...seriously? Oh, and it was anthropogenic climate -change-, too, I suppose. I know, the problem back then was that Al Gore wasn't around yet to pay carbon taxes to (jeezus christ, they didn't even have money yet, that too was a big problem), so, they all died. At least now we can save the planet from...uh...nature.

Someone paid those ass-hats to come up with that? Oh, I think they're going to say we should re-wild the dinosaurs while we're at it...I mean, it was an unnatural event that extincted those guys, too, right?

If they died out because of NATURAL GOD DAMNED CHANGES in the environment, then, they deserve to be extinct on this on this continent.

These scientists, or whomever they are, are like the tooth fairy. If everyone stops believing in them, they'll stop terrorizing the children (even the 40-year-old children).

...into the wind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102223)

Species go extinct. It's how evolution works. Why are we fighting this, to artificially support particular ones we humans subjectively like? Survival of the Cutest?

Re:...into the wind (1)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#46102491)

Well, most of human existence is fighting one thing or another. Artificiality is pretty much by definition anything we do.

Re:...into the wind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102701)

It's how evolution works

What did the North American elephants evolve into? Javalinas? (The theory of evolution frowns on the concept of an apex species' extinction, so elephants must have become something)

Re:...into the wind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102989)

If they didnt/werent able to adapt to the changing climate in N.America, they evolved into an extinct species.

lets not (0)

FudRucker (866063) | about 3 months ago | (#46102239)

we dont need more wild animals capable of eating us in the wild

Re:lets not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102395)

we dont need more wild animals capable of eating us in the wild

I think we don't have enough. Something needs to keep the surplus population in check. Help weed out some of the slow and stupid as well.

Re:lets not (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 3 months ago | (#46102863)

Something needs to keep the surplus population in check. Help weed out some of the slow and stupid as well.

We spend billions of dollars a year making sure that the slow and stupid are protected from themselves and others and even encouraged to breed in order to get more handouts. Why would we suddenly decide to thin them out?

Re:lets not (1)

hrvatska (790627) | about 3 months ago | (#46102531)

It hardly seems wild if there aren't wild things that can eat people in it.

Re:lets not (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 3 months ago | (#46103227)

There are wolves, bears, snakes, mountain lions, and alligators out there. There are plenty of things to eat you without introducing new problems. One more thing to consider is that these creatures don't respect boundaries on a map. If you introduce lions to the US, they'll probably find their way into Mexico and even further south.

the link does not seem to work at the moment (0)

Maimun (631984) | about 3 months ago | (#46102245)

Is that the article?

http://news.sciencemag.org/arc... [sciencemag.org]

If so, TFS is wrong (4, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 3 months ago | (#46103195)

Seems likely that this is the article. If so, I've only read the abstract so far, but TFS seems to misrepresent the authors' conclusion.

TFS claims:

the first Americans, who allegedly hunted them to extinction. But a new study points to climate and environmental changes instead.

whereas the abstract says:

Chronological data,Sporormiella abundance, genetics, and paleoclimatic data suggest megafauna populations declined prior to human colonization and people were only briefly contemporaneous with megafauna. Local Paleoindians may have only delivered the coup de grace to small scattered and isolated populations of megafauna.

In other words, the authors are not saying humans were not involved in the extinctions. They are saying human predation cannot be the *sole* cause.

Elephants! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102269)

Yes, that's what we need in North America right now, non-native lions and elephants. That makes perfect sense- if our lions have been dead for ELEVEN THOUSAND YEARS and mammoths for FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED, we need to get right on with importing them by the truckload to make up for lost time. Lions are top predators, so we can spend defense money on this, too! And elephants are adorable, so we can spend healthcare money on them!

What could go wrong!?

Re:Elephants! (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 3 months ago | (#46102855)

Actually, I think it'd be rather cool to have some wild elephants in North America.

I say we bring Asian male elephants and African females, the result will be a unique hybrid to N. America.

Re:Elephants! (2)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 3 months ago | (#46103115)

Great, that's just what we need. Africanized Asian elephants. Have you not heard what happened when we Africanized honeybees? We'll have swarms of tempermental pachyderms stampeding through every village in the Great Plains before mid-century.

Wild North American Elephants!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102285)

Finally an equal to the current alpha-predator family of Sierra Uniform Victor.

Too much of a coincidence (3)

Novogrudok (2486718) | about 3 months ago | (#46102317)

Large mammals managed to survive for a long, long time before people came to Americas and then, shortly after people came, they were killed off by "climate and environmental changes"? Sounds a bit fishy to me!

Re:Too much of a coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102467)

Oh!, Oh, Oh! Mr. Potter, the great flood!!!

Re:Too much of a coincidence (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#46102507)

To be fair, humans were able to migrate to the Americas because of a shift in the climate, so it is plausible that both effects had the same cause rather then one causing the other.

Re:Too much of a coincidence (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 3 months ago | (#46102799)

Large mammals managed to survive for a long, long time before people came to Americas and then, shortly after people came, they were killed off by "climate and environmental changes"? Sounds a bit fishy to me!

This is exactly the problem, and I don't see anything in these "new findings" addressing it. What I'm seeing here is two-fold:

1) There were actually two megafauna die-offs, and the first happened before there were humans in the Americas. This is actually a reasonable argument, but it only addresses half the issue.

2)There's a part of the continent where we have found megafauna from before the second die-off, but we haven't yet found a lot of evidence in those specimens of human predation. This argument I find inherently specious, unless you for some weird reason really want to believe humans had nothing to do with it. It makes no attempt to explain why the timing is so coincidental with human occupation. It makes no attempt to explain why humans, known to be hunters and to have hunted megafauna in other parts of the contienent, decided to leave it alone in the NorthEast to prosper if not for (???). Wouldn't a much simpler explanation be that you just haven't happened to find the evidence yet?

In other words, a decisive amount of circumstantial evidence is already pointing us toward humans as at least a part of the cause of the second die-off. The burden of proof is on those who want to claim humans had nothing to do with it. But all they are claiming here is, "lack of evidence" (and only in a small area too, there's plenty of that evidence elsewhere), but that does not help them.

Re:Too much of a coincidence (1)

Alomex (148003) | about 3 months ago | (#46103367)

In other words, a decisive amount of circumstantial evidence is already pointing us toward humans as at least a part of the cause of the second die-off. The burden of proof is on those who want to claim humans had nothing to do with it. But all they are claiming here is, "lack of evidence" (and only in a small area too, there's plenty of that evidence elsewhere), but that does not help them.

Exactly. I've been studying science for long enough to know that there are times when it gives rather surprising novel explanations to phenomena we thought we had explained away. So while it would be a surprise to learn that it wasn't humans, as a scientist I'm prepared to be blown out of the water any time.

However, this is not the first study trying to argue that "humans didn't do it" and none of them have the weight of evidence nor the "aha!" explanatory power of conventional-wisdom turning discoveries. To make matters worse, said studies too often seem to be punctuated with some sort of "noble savage" morality play, suggesting that only modern western humans are capable of environmental destruction.

In all likelihood humans ran into a system of weakened prey species (ice age anyone?) that might or might not have survived if we hadn't shown up, and we delivered the coup de grace by hunting them down.

Re:Too much of a coincidence (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 3 months ago | (#46103021)

Large mammals managed to survive for a long, long time before people came to Americas and then, shortly after people came, they were killed off by "climate and environmental changes"? Sounds a bit fishy to me!

Tobacco comes from the Americas. They obviously all died of smoking-related illnesses!

Climate change?! (1, Troll)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 3 months ago | (#46102415)

Is this to say that the Earth's climate has gone through natural changes over the centuries? Warming and cooling? All by itself?! I thought global warming - I mean - climate change - was caused by man burning fossil fuels.

Re:Climate change?! (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 3 months ago | (#46102481)

Yeah well they will postulate a theory and then pretend its true the Woolly Mammoths, Lions, Tigers were actually capitalists and conspired to rape the Earth of natural resources because all they could to was fart methane causing global warming in their time.

Re:Climate change?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102505)

I assume there is a funny missing from this post? If we assume that you mean generation of CO2 then note there are non-anthropomorphic means of doing so. And, given the spells of vulcanism in the geologic record, it's not surprising that gasses that are opaque in the IR region caused problems when present.

Giants, etc. (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#46102457)

Forget the "giant beasts". I want to know what happened to the giant humans.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Anci... [amazon.com]

I heard an interview with the guy the other night and he didn't sound like a crackpot. There seems to be evidence that there were some giant people living in North America over 10,000 years ago, who were advanced enough to do mummification and sophisticated pottery. The Smithsonian covered it up because they wanted to advance the theory that there were only savages living here when the Europeans came.

I have no idea, but the "Bering Land Bridge" theory never made sense to me. I just don't see people walking across Alaska and Canada and finally settling in South America in the course of a few thousand years.

Re:Giants, etc. (1)

confused one (671304) | about 3 months ago | (#46103113)

I'm sure he sounded perfectly reasonable. The ancient aliens theorists do a credible job sometimes. Where's the evidence. That's all I'm asking for... verifiable, peer reviewed evidence.

Re:Giants, etc. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#46103317)

He's not talking about "ancient aliens". There is nothing in his book about "ancient aliens". His entire thesis is based upon the people who were extra-tall in the Americas being 100% human.

Typical pop skeptic. Create a red herring, ignore actual argument, and then claim "verifiable, peer reviewed".

And by the way, the book cites, "verifiable, peer-reviewed" articles about the archaeological findings.

Obviously it was the Vikings and China (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 3 months ago | (#46102525)

They found a wormhole in the Pacific at this strange black temple on an island and went back in time to hunt.

Duh.

Gay beast marriage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102545)

Isn't it obvious?

rewilding lions and elephants into North America (1)

machineghost (622031) | about 3 months ago | (#46102659)

Am I the only one who pictured Bruce Willis in Twelve Monkeys, staring dumbfoundedly at a lion in the ruins of Baltimore, after reading that?

Wrong question, corrected and answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102695)

Incorrect: What Killed the Great Beasts of North America?
Correct: Who Killed the Great Beasts of North America?
Answer: The lesser Beasts from Europa that invade America.

And like a disease they continue doing the same things today.

(OK, Im not trolling. Its a sad fact)
>;P

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102771)

RTFA? I guess not. :::Posted from same IP, different reader.

Re-wilding? (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#46102723)

There are very few cases where introducing a non-native species into the wild has turned out to be a good thing. There are hundreds of examples of things going wrong. Just look up invasive species [wikipedia.org]. Our track record is not good.

slashdotted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102775)

If you are going to suggest mega fauna died from climate and not humans, the burden is on you so answer why that mega fauna survived all the previous climate swings, only to be brought down by the one which brought humans.

Re:slashdotted... (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 3 months ago | (#46102935)

The research was funded by the no-limit hunting lobby. "Unrestricted hunting doesn't wipe out entire animal populations - climate (and legislative) change do!"

The obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102819)

Chuck Norris.

Giant beavers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102973)

Do we really want giant beavers? That will just cause a rise in compensatory purchasing. Time to buy stock in sports cars and firearms I suppose.

Slashdotted (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 3 months ago | (#46103081)

Unfortunately TFA is Slashdotted, so an informed discussion of the actual science will not happen today.

Before reading this study, I was learning heavily to the human-predation side of the debate, because as I understand it multiple climate zones of North America were affected simultaneously and over a very short time period that happens to coincide with the development of Clovis spearpoints [wikipedia.org].

No doubt the researchers have a rebuttal for this explanation, but like I said ... it's slashdotted.

already here (1)

confused one (671304) | about 3 months ago | (#46103151)

There are several hundred elephants already in the United States. The number of big cats is startling as well -- for some species there may be a greater number in the U.S. than left in the wild. All we need now is a couple of releases... (queue the PETA folks doing something stupid).

now if only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103273)

climate change could rid us of the urban metrosexual foot-tapping, panty waisted Euro-worshipper we'd be happy, precious!

It's 2013... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 3 months ago | (#46103359)

...of COURSE the explanation (today) is 'climate change'.

My shoe was untied this morning, I'm pretty sure it was due to climate change.

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