Lessons Learned From Dought Deaths 40,000 Years Ago (AUS)
Lessons Learned From Drought Deaths 40,000 Years Ago
ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2006) — Drought-stricken Australia should heed a warning from a new study that shows a series of massive droughts killed giant kangaroos and other "megafauna" in south-east Queensland 40,000 years ago, according to researchers from the Queensland University of Technology.
Scientists Dr Gilbert Price and Dr Gregory Webb believe understanding how the prehistoric big dry caused extinctions could help predict how and if animals battling current climate change will survive.
The QUT research into the giant Australian marsupials and reptiles and the impact of climate change will be published in the December issue of the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences.
Dr Price and Dr Webb studied the fossil-rich Darling Downs area of south-east Queensland with the help of palaeontologists from the Queensland Museum and an amateur local fossil hunter, Ian Sobbe.
Dr Price said what the team unearthed showed that giant kangaroos and other large wildlife that roamed the area in the late Pleistocene age were drought-stressed when they died.
"What makes this research so relevant to climate change theories today is that the profile of the fossil kangaroo populations is identical to that of a modern drought-stressed kangaroo mob," he said.
"It provides, for the first time, evidence which suggests that the megafauna kangaroos were greatly affected by a series of catastrophic droughts.
"These animals of the prehistoric Australian bush were the largest of their time and included gigantic wombats the size of cars, kangaroos that reached almost 2.5 metres tall, and massive emus and goannas.
"There's nothing we can do now to save these animals - they're all extinct.
"But if we can understand how those animals responded to the massive droughts and climate change events of the past, we might be able to go some way in predicting the effects of future climate changes and its impact on the way that we manage and conserve the precious habitats and wildlife of the Australian bush."<SNIP>
View entire article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061128093019.htm
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