January 27, 2007


Extinction of Australian 'megafauna' linked to humans: From fossils of dozens of species, researchers suggest man's use of fire is a more likely cause of death than climate change (Alan Zarembo, January 27, 2007, LA Times)

Three Australian caves have yielded a treasure trove of fossils of ancient kangaroos, marsupial lions and giant lizards that roamed the outback for hundreds of thousands of years.

These so-called megafauna went extinct about 45,000 years ago, shortly after humans arrived on the continent.

Researchers, writing in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, suggest that the extinction was the result of the human use of fire for hunting -- and not climate change, as some scientists have suggested.

Darwinism's Dilemma is much deeper than even his critics understood.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 27, 2007 8:12 AM

This gem was in the comments at the Free Republic thread Orrin linked;

"The evolutionary purpose for these traits is success at war. Darwin knew that humans were a special case, that the discovery of war is what caused humans to develop intelligence far in excess of what is needed to find food. If two tribes go to battle, usually the smarter tribe wins, and the genetically inferior tribe dies off. And it isn't just intelligence, but group loyalty, self-sacrifice, cooperation, morality, even lifespan, are all genetically honed for success at war. War is in effect very high speed evolution, and is the only reason humans have become the most genetically advanced animal to ever live.

Darwin wrote about all this. I don't know why this key discovery about who we are and where we come from is never taught.[?]"

My guess would be that if one accepts that war is the engine of evolution, one must explain why ants, wasps, and bees aren't the dominant species on the planet.

Especially ants....just ask Edmund Gwen.

Posted by: carl at January 27, 2007 9:25 AM

Also, weren't American Indains introducing fire to this continent about the time its megafauna disappeared? Some have argued that they weren't "hunted to extinction", but it was just a coincidence, caused by some other factor like "climate change.". This implies that it wasn't a coincidence, but more of an "unintended consequence" of humans changing the ecosystem(s).

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 27, 2007 12:40 PM

Those darn Indians and their penchant for spray deodorants!

Posted by: erp at January 27, 2007 5:31 PM