What Became of the Megafauna?

Robert S. Feranec in American Scientist:

Fullimage_20063309748_866Between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, during the final millennia of the Pleistocene Epoch, roughly 100 genera of megafauna (animals weighing more than 100 pounds) became extinct worldwide. Among them are such well-known creatures as mammoths and saber-toothed tigers and the more obscure, though no less significant, Diprotodon (an Australian marsupial the size of a hippopotamus) and Coelodonta (a woolly rhinoceros found in Europe). Whether their disappearance was caused by changes in climate or by “overkill” (being hunted to extinction by humans) has been hotly debated for the past 40 years. In Twilight of the Mammoths: Ice Age Extinctions and the Rewilding of America, Paul S. Martin reviews the end-Pleistocene extinction, arguing that overkill is the more likely explanation.

More here.