Dietary responses of Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea) megafauna to climate and environmental change

@article{Desantis2017DietaryRO,
  title={Dietary responses of Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea) megafauna to climate and environmental change},
  author={Larisa R.G. Desantis and Judith H. Field and Stephen Wroe and John Dodson},
  journal={Paleobiology},
  year={2017},
  volume={43},
  pages={181 - 195}
}
Abstract. Throughout the late Quaternary, the Sahul (Pleistocene Australia—New Guinea) vertebrate fauna was dominated by a diversity of large mammals, birds, and reptiles, commonly referred to as megafauna. Since ca. 450–400Ka, approximately 88 species disappeared in Sahul, including kangaroos exceeding 200 kg in size, wombat-like animals the size of hippopotamuses, flightless birds, and giant monitor lizards that were likely venomous. Ongoing debates over the primary cause of these… 

Micro Methods for Megafauna: Novel Approaches to Late Quaternary Extinctions and Their Contributions to Faunal Conservation in the Anthropocene

TLDR
This article highlights how developments in five methodologies (radiocarbon approaches, stable isotope analysis, ancient DNA, ancient proteomics, microscopy) have helped drive detailed analysis of specific megafaunal species, their particular ecological settings, and responses to new competitors or predators, climate change, and other external phenomena.

Seasonal migration of marsupial megafauna in Pleistocene Sahul (Australia–New Guinea)

TLDR
This work presents new geochemical analyses which show that the largest of the extinct marsupial herbivores, the enormous wombat-like Diprotodon optatum, undertook seasonal, two-way latitudinal migration in eastern Sahul (Pleistocene Australia–New Guinea).

Rapid Pliocene adaptive radiation of modern kangaroos

TLDR
The results implicate warm-to-cool climatic oscillations as a trigger for adaptive radiation and refute arguments attributing Pleistocene megafaunal extinction to aridity-forced dietary change.

The Paleoecological Impact of Grazing and Browsing: Consequences of the Late Quaternary Large Herbivore Extinctions

  • John RowanJ. Faith
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    The Ecology of Browsing and Grazing II
  • 2019
As recently as ~50,000 years ago, a great diversity of large-bodied mammalian herbivores (species >44 kg) occupied nearly all of Earth’s terrestrial realms. Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, the vast

Rapid Pliocene Diversification of Modern Kangaroos

TLDR
It is shown that the most iconic of Australia’s terrestrial mammals, ‘true’ kangaroos and wallabies (Macropodini), diversified in response to Pliocene grassland emergence and undermines arguments attributing Pleistocene megafaunal extinction to aridity-forced dietary change.

The Palaeontology of Browsing and Grazing

  • J. Saarinen
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    The Ecology of Browsing and Grazing II
  • 2019
TLDR
This chapter will provide an up-to-date assessment of the analytical methods of determining the diet of extinct large herbivorous mammal taxa, and provide insights into changes in the assemblages of browsing and grazing mammals and how these relate to changes to climate and the evolution of different plant forms.

Sahul’s megafauna were vulnerable to plant-community changes due to their position in the trophic network

Extinctions stemming from environmental change often trigger trophic cascades and coextinctions. However, it remains unclear whether trophic cascades were a large contributor to the megafauna

Introduced herbivores restore Late Pleistocene ecological functions

TLDR
The extent to which introduced herbivore species restore lost—or contribute novel—functions relative to preextinction LP assemblages is assessed, indicating that they may, in part, restore ecological functions reflective of the past several million years before widespread human-driven extinctions.

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 101 REFERENCES

Aridity, faunal adaptations and Australian Late Pleistocene extinctions

Abstract The faunal extinctions of the Late Pleistocene saw the disappearance of a suite of giant marsupials, birds and reptiles from the Australian landscape. Attempts to explain these extinctions

Extinction implications of a chenopod browse diet for a giant Pleistocene kangaroo

TLDR
Craniodental morphology, stable-isotopic, and dental microwear data are combined to reveal that the largest-ever kangaroo, Procoptodon goliah, was a chenopod browse specialist, which may have had a preference for Atriplex (saltbushes), one of a few dicots using the C4 photosynthetic pathway.

An arid-adapted middle Pleistocene vertebrate fauna from south-central Australia

TLDR
A diverse and exceptionally well preserved middle Pleistocene vertebrate assemblage from caves beneath the arid, treeless Nullarbor plain of south-central Australia, which implies substantially greater floristic diversity than that of the modern shrub steppe.

Climate change frames debate over the extinction of megafauna in Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea)

  • S. WroeJ. Field S. Mooney
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2013
TLDR
Mounting evidence points to the loss of most species before the peopling of Sahul and a significant role for climate change in the disappearance of the continent’s megafauna.

Prolonged coexistence of humans and megafauna in Pleistocene Australia.

TLDR
Geochemical evidence is presented that demonstrates the coexistence of humans and now-extinct megafaunal species on the Australian continent for a minimum of 15 ka and would effectively refute the rapid-overkill model and necessitate reconsideration of the regional impacts of global climatic change on megafauna and humans in the lead up to the last glacial maximum.
...