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.From the press release:
Scientists studied the fossil-rich Darling Downs area of south-east Queensland and unearthed giant kangaroos and other large wildlife that roamed the area in the late Pleistocene age that were drought-stressed when they died.
"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.
Dr Price said the layers of fossils in the dig area at the Darling Downs were not consistent with some theories that humans had wiped out megafauna.
"Some scientists believe in the 'blitzkrieg' megafauna extinction hypothesis which blames humans for over-hunting these giant marsupials," he said.
"If that was the case, these fossils dating back thousands of years would show the animals dying out at the same point in time. But they don't. These layers of fossils buried at a single site under the Darling Downs show a progressive, three-stage extinction over time that relates to periods of climate change."
"The research found no evidence of humans being involved in the accumulation of fossils in the catchment at the time of deposition, but is perfectly consistent with their decline being caused by increasing aridity.
The findings will be published next month in the Australian Journal of Earth Science.