Skip to content

Species-specific responses of Late Quaternary megafauna to climate and humans

by Eline D. Lorenzen, David Nogués-Bravo, Ludovic Orlando, Jaco Weinstock, Jonas Binladen, Katharine a. Marske, Andrew Ugan, Michael K. Borregaard, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Rasmus Nielsen, Simon Y. W. Ho, Ted Goebel, Kelly E. Graf, David Byers, Jesper T. Stenderup, Morten Rasmussen, Paula F. Campos, Jennifer a. Leonard, Klaus-Peter Koepfli, Duane Froese, Grant Zazula, Thomas W. Stafford, Kim Aaris-Sørensen, Persaram Batra, Alan M. Haywood, Joy S. Singarayer, Paul J. Valdes, Gennady Boeskorov, James a. Burns, Sergey P. Davydov, James Haile, Dennis L. Jenkins, Pavel a Kosintsev, Tatyana Kuznetsova, Xulong Lai, Larry D. Martin, H. Gregory McDonald, Dick Mol, Morten Meldgaard, Kasper Munch, Elisabeth Stephan, Mikhail Sablin, Robert S. Sommer, Taras Sipko, Eric Scott, Marc a. Suchard, Alexei Tikhonov, Rane Willerslev, Robert K. Wayne, Alan Cooper, Michael Hofreiter, Andrei Sher, Beth Shapiro, Carsten Rahbek, Eske Willerslev, Thomas W Stafford Jr show all authors
Nature ()
Get full text at journal

Abstract

Despite decades of research, the roles of climate and humans in driving the dramatic extinctions of large-bodied mammals during the Late Quaternary period remain contentious. Here we use ancient DNA, species distribution models and the human fossil record to elucidate how climate and humans shaped the demographic history of woolly rhinoceros, woolly mammoth, wild horse, reindeer, bison and musk ox. We show that climate has been a major driver of population change over the past 50,000 years. However, each species responds differently to the effects of climatic shifts, habitat redistribution and human encroachment. Although climate change alone can explain the extinction of some species, such as Eurasian musk ox and woolly rhinoceros, a combination of climatic and anthropogenic effects appears to be responsible for the extinction of others, including Eurasian steppe bison and wild horse. We find no genetic signature or any distinctive range dynamics distinguishing extinct from surviving species, emphasizing the challenges associated with predicting future responses of extant mammals to climate and human-mediated habitat change.

Cite this document (BETA)

Authors on Mendeley

Readership Statistics

560 Readers on Mendeley
by Discipline
 
63% Agricultural and Biological Sciences
 
14% Environmental Science
 
12% Earth and Planetary Sciences
by Academic Status
 
27% Student > Ph. D. Student
 
26% Researcher
 
12% Student > Master
by Country
 
4% United States
 
2% Brazil
 
2% United Kingdom

Sign up today - FREE

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research. Learn more

  • All your research in one place
  • Add and import papers easily
  • Access it anywhere, anytime

Start using Mendeley in seconds!

Sign up & Download

Already have an account? Sign in