Saturday, 24 March 2012

Human Invasion Ended Reign Of Australia's 'Giants'

Humans landed on the shores of Australia more than 45,000 years ago. The land they encountered was full of huge plant-eating animals, such as the 6,000-pound rhinoceros wombat and  giant kangaroo. Sadly, things would soon change.

Soon after humans settled on Australia, some 55 giant animal species vanished from Australia, with various theories, from climate change to human hunting, put forth to explain the extinction.
Now, researchers have discovered that the arrival of these humans was likely the driver of intense changes to the region, which led to the annihilation of Australia's giant herbivoresand drastic changes to the habitat that turned a patchy, shrub-filled landscape into a fire-prone grassy eucalyptus forest.
"People turn up in Australia and it's quite soon after that you start to see this series of events unfolding," study researcher Christopher Johnson, of the University of Tasmania in Australia, told LiveScience. "There were big changes in the way everything looked and what plants and animals you would have seen."

Jennifer Welsh, LiveScience Staff Writer 

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