Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Extinctions update Prehistoric giant animals killed by man, not climate: study
The debate centres on the skull of a giant kangaroo found in a cave in the thick rainforest of the rugged northwest of Tasmania in 2000.

Scientists dated the find at 41,000 years old, some 2,000 years after humans first began to live in the area.

"Up until now, people thought that the Tasmanian mega-fauna had actually gone extinct before people arrived on the island," a member of the British and Australian study, Professor Richard Roberts, told AFP Tuesday.

He said that it was likely that hunting killed off Tasmania's mega-fauna -- including the long-muzzled, 120 kilogram (264 pound) giant kangaroo, a rhinoceros-sized wombat and marsupial 'lions' which resembled leopards.

The article doesn't say whether or not the skull shows any evidence of hunting, so it's an inference in that regard (noted in the article, indirectly, by a skeptic). Need to see the original paper though.