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Climate-human interaction associated with southeast Australian megafauna extinction patterns

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Saltre, F, Chadoeuf, J, Peters, KJ, McDowell, MC ORCID: 0000-0001-8009-4171, Friedrich, T, Timmermann, A, Ulm, S and Bradshaw, CJA 2019 , 'Climate-human interaction associated with southeast Australian megafauna extinction patterns' , Nature Communications, vol. 10 , pp. 1-9 , doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13277-0.

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Abstract

The mechanisms leading to megafauna (>44 kg) extinctions in Late Pleistocene (126,000—12,000 years ago) Australia are highly contested because standard chronological analyses relyon scarce data of varying quality and ignore spatial complexity. Relevant archaeological andpalaeontological records are most often also biased by differential preservation resulting inunder-representated older events. Chronological analyses have attributed megafaunalextinctions to climate change, humans, or a combination of the two, but rarely consider spatialvariation in extinction patterns, initial human appearance trajectories, and palaeoclimatechange together. Here we develop a statistical approach to infer spatio-temporal trajectoriesof megafauna extirpations (local extinctions) and initial human appearance in south-easternAustralia. We identify a combined climate-human effect on regional extirpation patternssuggesting that small, mobile Aboriginal populations potentially needed access to drinkablewater to survive arid ecosystems, but were simultaneously constrained by climate-dependentnet landscape primary productivity. Thus, the co-drivers of megafauna extirpations werethemselves constrained by the spatial distribution of climate-dependent water sources.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Saltre, F and Chadoeuf, J and Peters, KJ and McDowell, MC and Friedrich, T and Timmermann, A and Ulm, S and Bradshaw, CJA
Keywords: palaeoecology, modeling, megafauna, extinction, Australia
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Communications
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2041-1723
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/s41467-019-13277-0
Copyright Information:

© The Author(s) 2019. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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