Last recorded evidence for megafauna at Wet Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia 45,000 years ago

01st June 2002

F. Donald Pate, Matthew C. McDowell, Rod T. Wells and Andrew M. Smith

Introduction

Over 85 percent of Australian terrestrial vertebrate genera with a body mass greater than 44 kg became extinct during the late Pleistocene. These included all marsupials exceeding 100 kg (19 species) and 22 of the 38 species between 10 and 100 kg. Dwarfing occurred in many other species (Flannery 1990; Miller et al. 1999). The larger of these extinct animals have been categorised as megafauna.

Roberts et al. (2001) provide chronometric evidence for a continent-wide extinction of these megafauna at about 46,000 years ago. Others argue for regional variability in the timing of Australian megafaunal extinctions and the survival of some species to much later periods, e.g. Genyornis newtoni, Diprotodon sp. and Sthenurus sp. present from 36-27 ka BP at Cuddie Springs in northwestern New South Wales (Field and Dodson 1999; Horton 2000; Wroe and Field 2001).

F. Donald Pate, Matthew C. McDowell, Rod T. Wells and Andrew M. Smith
Last recorded evidence for megafauna at Wet Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia 45,000 years ago
June 2002
54
53-55
Short Report
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