HABITAT LOSS AND HUMANS: CAUSE OF MASS EXTINCTIONS

IN THE FAUNA OF NORTH AMERICA


Geography 361 - Natural Hazards
By Jake McDonald


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Megafauna

Approximately 11,000 years ago 73.3% of the megafauna, or animals that weigh over 100 kg., that roamed across North America went extinct, this equaled about 35 different kinds of animals. What sets this extinction apart from past extinctions is that the animals that died were mainly large terrestrial animals with very few marine or plant extinctions. Another strange thing is that many of the animals that did go extinct had survived previous interglacial periods with little disturbance.

Some examples of the megafauna who lived and died in North America at the end of the last ice age:

Giant Sloth    American Camel

Giant Bison                Bush Oxen

Mammoth           Direwolf

     
These are just some examples of the megafauna that inhabited North America at the end of the last ice age. Many of their ancestors had lived through previous interglacial periods. What could have caused this mass extinction?

For more information on these megafauna go to: http://www.saguaro-juniper.com/i_and_i/history/megafauna.html

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