Would the Australian megafauna have become extinct if humans had never colonised the continent? Comments on 'A review of the evidence for a human role in the extinction of Australian megafauna and an alternative explanation' by S.Wroe and J.Field
The problem of the worldwide extinction of a diverse assemblage of Late Pleistocene and Holocene large-bodied animals continues to cause debate (Brook and Bowman, 2002; Barnosky et al., 2004; Burney and Flannery, 2005; Koch and Barnosky, 2006). The most recent contribution on the Australian megafaunal extinction (Wroe and Field, 2006), argues for a staggered series of extinctions over multiple glacial cycles, with most megafaunal extinctions predating the arrival of humans and driven primarily by climate change eventually causing a ‘hydrological threshold’ to be breached. At this point, accessible water became too scarce for megafauna to forage successfully. Although Wroe and Field (2006) highlight a range of ideas under consideration, they provide a selective interpretation which does not come to terms with biology and ignores or misinterprets current evidence.