The Environment Institute’s Dr Frédérik Saltré will present a seminar entitled “Unravelling what (or who) killed the world’s largest mammals over the last 50,000 years”
Title: Unravelling what (or who) killed the world’s largest mammals over the last 50,000 years
When: 12pm Friday, October 28, 2016
Where: Lecture Theatre G10, Benham Building
Megafauna extinctions during the Late Quaternary impoverished mammalian diversity worldwide. While climatic shifts likely influenced some of the largest mass extinctions earlier in Earth’s history, the role of climate in Quaternary faunal collapse is still debated because many of these extinctions coincided with human colonisation. Despite recent evidence from the Holarctic and South America of climate-human synergies, advances in genetic and fossil data, and better modelling approaches, assessing the relative importance of climate variation and human pressure on megafauna extinction remains a challenge. After giving a brief overview of the main hypotheses to explain megafauna extinctions worldwide, I will provide new insights on continent-wide causes of these extinctions in Australia, one of the most highly contested in terms of dominant drivers. I will finish by presenting new leads and modelling approaches to address similar questions at more regional scales using the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) in Eurasia as an example.