DNA evidence proves climate change killed off prehistoric megafauna

| August 15, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Item Link: Access the Resource

Media Type: Article - Recent

Date of Publication: July 23, 2015

Year of Publication: 2015

Publisher: The Conversation US ,Inc.

Author(s): Chris Turney, Alan Cooper

Categories: , ,

Analysis of ancient megafauna DNA reveals that a series of events throughout the past 50,000 years occurred in which major parts of a species’ genetic diversity, or even the species itself, disappeared. These events were previously obscured by reliance on fossil record alone.

More accurate carbon dating placed these events in time and space, showing that they coincided with the inerstadials, rapid warming periods when temperatures would jump from 4 to 16˚C within just a few decades. This suggests that rapidly increasing temperatures, like those linked to anthropogenic climate change, are especially difficult for megafauna to survive.

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