Pleistocene Extinction of Genyornis newtoni:
Human Impact on Australian Megafauna
Science, January 8, 1999.

Gifford H. Miller, John W. Magee, Beverly J. Johnson,  Marilyn L. Fogel, Nigel A. Spooner, Malcolm T. McCulloch, Linda K. Ayliffe

More than 85 percent of Australian terrestrial genera with a body mass exceeding 44 kilograms
became extinct in the Late Pleistocene. Although most were marsupials, the list includes the large,
flightless mihirung Genyornis newtoni. More than 700 dates on Genyornis eggshells from three
different climate regions document the continuous presence of Genyornis from more than
100,000 years ago until their sudden disappearance 50,000 years ago, about the same time that
humans arrived in Australia. Simultaneous extinction of Genyornis at all sites during an interval of
modest climate change implies that human impact, not climate, was responsible.


Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles