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Humans are "Off the Hook" For African Extinction

This article talks about how Africa, millions of years ago, contained many more large mammals, not just Rhinos, Hippos, Giraffes, and elephants. Many researchers blamed the slow decline of them over the past thousands of years, on early versions of humans. Now, scientists are starting to think that the decline in these large animals happened way before these early humans were present, and able to actually hunt these huge mammals.  A common reason hypothesized by experts is is the decreasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the course of the years these mammals started declining in numbers.  The decreasing CO2 levels help grasslands flourish, but negatively effect trees, which these ancient mammals mainly fed on. 

This slow decrease in large mammals in Africa occurred over the course of millions of years, this is obviously way before even the earliest of human-like species existed, so it becomes clear that humans did not fully cause this extinction process. Eventually, these early humans started hunting, once this decline in large mammals was already occurring. Now with more predators, these mammal's decrease in numbers increased, and about 28 lineages of species went extinct. Furthermore, some large predators, like the saber tooth cat, may have adapted to hunting certain large mammal groups, and once these mammals decreased in numbers, and eventually became extinct, the cat's had no food source, and eventually became extinct themselves. This extinction of predators in this region, of course, was most likely aided by early human species hunting these predators as well.  

Finally, I agree with the fact that climate change (CO2 levels) aided in the extinction of these large African mammals. I do not believe that early humans, with their limited tools to hunt, could single handedly wipe out up to 28 lineages of large mammal species. These humans, even with the help of predators in the region were not well equipped enough to pull off this kind of extinction, to this many kinds of creatures.

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Humans are "Off the Hook" For African Extinction - by Blake Cherpin - 11-23-2018, 11:23 AM

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