Re: Large animal extinctions caused by early man

Bob Keeter (
Sat, 29 Jun 1996 18:18:38 GMT

Sounds reasonable to me! While I might not go so far as to
say that mankind didnt contribute to the demise of at least
some of the mentioned megafauna, but to give a scattering of
nomads armed with stone tools credit for killing off the
megafauna is a bit of an ego trip. Case in counter-point,
animals that must definitely be classified as megafauna (i.e.
elephants, rhinos, giraffes, hippos, etc) survived the
human "stone age" quite nicely in an equatoial band reaching
across Africa, the middle east, the Indian sub-contiinent
and southern Asia. If the theoies of paleoanthropology are
correct, these areas probably had man as a preditor, gnawing
at the food chain, far longer than the American Great Plains.

I have even seen some articles that even suggest that at least one
species of Mastodon may have survived in South America until
fairly recent times, and supposedly an unknown animal that
could be a ground sloth has been reported from the north
western areas of Brazil. Not saying either actually exists,
but would not be surprised.

Here's a radical idea that just occurred to me. If there were
a "band of survival" determined by latitude, i.e. if somehow
survival during this period of extinction were somehow
fostered by geographical location, could it explain why some
megafauna survived in Africa/Asia and practically none in
New World? If the "good spot" ran from about the equator to
about 20 degress of north latitude, the Asian and African continents
have a lot more surface area here, and therefore a lot more habitat
in that zone, than Europe or the New World. Could that have provided
the shelter for those megafauna species?