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Megafauna extinction not caused by human beings, after all

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Contrary to what some scientists have asserted previously (see here and here), there’s no good evidence that humans were responsible for the extinctions of around 90 giant animal species that once roamed Australia – including the Diprotodon pictured above, a hippopotamus-sized giant wombat that roamed Australia until 46,000 years ago. In fact, most of these species had already disappeared by the time people arrived. That’s the conclusion reached by an international team of scientists in a major review of the available evidence, and published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (abstract here). The study concludes that climate change, rather than overhunting by the first human beings to settle in Australia, was what brought about the demise of these species.

The study, which is titled, Climate change frames debate over the extinction of megafauna in Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea), was led by the University of New South Wales, and which included researchers at the University of Queensland, the University of New England, and the University of Washington. The study’s title refers to the continent of Sahul, which comprised mainland Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania, during the Pleistocene epoch (popularly known as the “Ice Age”), when the sea level was as much as 150 meters lower than it is today.

“The interpretation that humans drove the extinction rests on assumptions that increasingly have been shown to be incorrect. Humans may have played some role in the loss of those species that were still surviving when people arrived about 45,000 to 50,000 years ago — but this also needs to be demonstrated,” said Associate Professor Stephen Wroe, from the University of New South Wales, the lead author of the study. “There has never been any direct evidence of humans preying on extinct megafauna in Sahul, or even of a tool-kit that was appropriate for big-game hunting,” he said.

The term “megafauna” refers to giant animals weighing more than 100 kilograms, or 220 pounds.

Of the 90 or so megafauna (“giant animal”) species that became extinct, about 50 are completely absent from the fossil record of the past 130,000 years, which is about 80,000 years before the first human beings are believed to have arrived in Australia and New Guinea. There is only firm evidence for 8 to 14 megafauna species still existing when Aboriginal people arrived in Australia, and there is no evidence to suggest the Aborigines were responsible for their dying out.

Summing up the conclusion reached the study, lead author Stephen Wroe stated: “It is now increasingly clear that the disappearance of the megafauna of Sahul took place over tens, if not hundreds, of millennia under the influence of inexorable, albeit erratic, climatic deterioration.”

The study’s conclusion adds to a growing mass of evidence suggesting that human beings are not the ecological “baddies” that they are often made out to be. The extinction of the North American megafauna some 13,000 years ago has been blamed on overhunting by the first human settlers – but now this theory looks increasingly unlikely (see here).

How animal extinctions are being used as anti-human science propaganda: the myth of the “Sixth Wave”, and the man who exposed it

In more recent times, the threat of large-scale species extinction, caused by the destruction of animals’ habitats, is often put forward as an argument for human population control. It is said that we are now in the middle of a great wave of species extinctions, unparalleled since the extinction of the dinosaurs. These claims have been thoroughly debunked by amateur scientist Willis Eschenbach, over at Watts Up With That?, the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change. In a January 2013 post titled, Always Trust Your Gut Extinct, Eschenbach writes:

…[T]this is the first scientific question I seriously researched. It is also the reason I don’t trust the “experts” or the “consensus”. In 1988, E. O. Wilson, an ant expert with little knowledge of extinction, made a startling claim that extinction rates were through the roof. He claimed there was a “Sixth Wave” of extinctions going on, and that we were losing a huge amount, 2.7% of all the species per year. This claim quickly went viral and soon was believed by everyone. So back in 2003, a decade ago now, I researched the question, found that Wilson was wrong by orders of magnitude, wrote it up, sent it around to the journals to see if they would publish it, and … well, let me just say that I was not received kindly. I was a voice crying in the wilderness. They didn’t give me a look-in, I was challenging the consensus. As far as I know, I was the only one saying that Emperor Wilson had no clothes … and as a result, I was not encouraged to continue publicizing my views.

But the world goes on, and three years ago I simplified and streamlined my work and published it as a post on WUWT entitled ““Where Are The Corpses“. In it, I argued that there was no “Sixth Wave” of extinctions, that Wilson’s numbers were wildly exaggerated, and that current extinction rates (except in isolated islands and Australia) are not unusual in any way. Dr. Craig Loehle rewrote and developed the ideas, and he got it peer-reviewed and published in Diversity and Distributions, available here. Craig wrote about it in a post entitled “New paper from Loehle & Eschenbach shows extinction data has been wrongly blamed on climate change due to island species sensitivity“. Title says it all …

Instead of 33 mammals and 80 birds going extinct on the continents per decade, in the last 500 years on the great continental landmasses of the world, we’ve only seen three mammals and six birds go extinct. Only nine continental mammal and bird species are known to have gone extinct in 500 years. Three mammals and six birds in 500 years, that’s less than one continental mammal extinction per century, and these highly scientific folks are claiming that 30 mammals and 80 birds are going extinct per decade? … once again I’m forced to ask, where are the corpses?

… Because the reality is that despite humans cutting down the forests of the world at a rate of knots for hundreds and hundreds of years, despite clearcutting for lumber, despite slash-and-burn, despite conversions to cropland, despite building hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and fences, despite everything … only nine continental mammal and bird species have gone extinct.

Eschenbach is greatly concerned that his findings will be misused to justify deforestation, and in his article, ““Where Are The Corpses“, he emphatically declared that he intends no such thing:

None of this implies that habitat destruction, forest fragmentation, or loss of species diversity are incidental or unimportant issues…

None of this implies that extinctions will either rise or fall in the future…

And finally, none of this implies that habitat destruction has no effect on the risk of extinction.

Nevertheless, he felt compelled to state:

Extinction records do show that on all the continents of the world, there are no recorded cases of a forest bird or mammal that has gone extinct from any cause. This is despite the fact that humans have been reducing and fragmenting all natural habitats, including first the continental temperate forests and lately the continental tropical forests, for the 500 years covered by our extinction record.

More alarmism in the name of “science”: “Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?”

Back in 1988, evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson’s claim that a “Sixth Wave” of extinctions was already well underway. Claims like Wilson’s have continued down to the present day. Two years ago, a team of scientists led by Anthony D. Barnosky warned that another mass extinction was imminent, in an article published in the journal Nature (Volume 471, pp. 51–57, 3 March 2011, DOI:
doi:10.1038/nature09678, published online 02 March 2011), entitled, Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?. The authors concluded that most of the world’s creatures are in danger of becoming extinct. Here is an excerpt from the abstract of their paper:

Palaeontologists characterize mass extinctions as times when the Earth loses more than three-quarters of its species in a geologically short interval, as has happened only five times in the past 540 million years or so. Biologists now suggest that a sixth mass extinction may be under way, given the known species losses over the past few centuries and millennia. Here we review how differences between fossil and modern data and the addition of recently available palaeontological information influence our understanding of the current extinction crisis. Our results confirm that current extinction rates are higher than would be expected from the fossil record, highlighting the need for effective conservation measures.

Other scientists weren’t impressed by the alarmists’ arguments. Barnosky’s paper received damning reviews from other researchers, and even from some ecologists. Greenpeace co-founder and ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore sharply criticized the new study for claiming that an irreversible mass extinction of species was already underway. “This [journal Nature] article should never have made it through the peer-review process,” Moore told Climate Depot in an interview. “The fact that the study did make it through peer-review indicates that the peer review process has become corrupted,” he said.

Dr. Moore has also criticized biologist E. O. Wilson for claiming that a sixth extinction event has already begun. Back in 2000, when Wilson estimated that up to 50,000 species go extinct every year based on computer models of the number of potential but as yet undiscovered species in the world, Moore commented: “There’s no scientific basis for saying that 50,000 species are going extinct. The only place you can find them is in Edward O. Wilson’s computer at Harvard University. They’re actually electrons on a hard drive. I want a list of Latin names of actual species.”

A recent study in Science magazine, titled, Can We Name Earth’s Species Before They Go Extinct? (M. J. Costello et al., Science 25 January 2013: Vol. 339 no. 6118 pp. 413-416), acknowledges that alarmist claims of a sixth wave of extinctions are overblown:

Some people despair that most species will go extinct before they are discovered. However, such worries result from overestimates of how many species may exist, beliefs that the expertise to describe species is decreasing, and alarmist estimates of extinction rates.

Even this study, though, suggests a figure of “500 to 50,000 extinctions per decade if there are 5 million species on Earth.” Eschenbach takes the study’s authors to task for their methodological bias:

Like many modern scientists, rather than trying to find the most probable, they simply assume the worst. So they give their calculations assuming a 1% decadal extinction rate. Here’s the problem. That’s no more believable than Wilson’s 2.7% per decade rate. There are about 3,300 mammal species living on the continents (excluding Australia). If we assume that one percent of them go extinct per decade, that would mean that we should be seeing about 33 continental mammal extinctions per decade. It’s worse for birds, a 1% extinction rate for birds would be about 80 continental birds per decade. We have seen absolutely nothing even vaguely resembling that. That’s only slightly below Wilson’s estimate of a 2.7% extinction rate, and is still ridiculously high…

This kind of world-blindness astounds me. I’ve heard of living in an ivory tower, but if you were making the claim that it’s raining, wouldn’t you at least look out the ivory windows to see if water were actually falling from the sky? How can you seriously claim that we’re losing dozens and dozens of species per year when there is absolutely no sign of that in the records?

The power of one – and why you should trust your gut instincts

At the end of his post, Eschenbach talks about his one-man fight against the scientific establishment:

People are always giving me grief about how I’m not getting with the picture, I’m not following the herd, I’m not kowtowing to the consensus. I have no problem doing that, particularly given my experience regarding extinctions. For years I was the only person I knew of who was making the claim that E. O. Wilson should have stuck to his ants and left extinctions alone. Wherever I looked scientists disagreed with my findings. I didn’t have one person I knew, or one person I read, who thought I was right. Heck, even now, a decade later, the nettle still hasn’t been grasped, people are just beginning to realize that they were fools to blindly believe Wilson, and to try to manage a graceful climb down from the positions they took.

What I learned in that episode was that my bad number detector works quite well, that I should stick to my guns if I think I’m right, and that I should never, ever, ever place any faith in the opinions of the experts. They were all wrong, every single last swingin’ Richard of them, and I was right. Doesn’t mean I’ll be right next time, I’ve been wrong plenty both before and since … but it has given me the courage to hold on to some extremely minority positions.

It is my strong belief that I will also be vindicated in my claim that the earth’s temperature is regulated, not by CO2, but by a host of interlocking and mutually supportive homeostatic mechanisms that maintain the temperature within a fairly narrow range … time will tell. In my opinion, the experts in the climate field have shown that they don’t know a whole lot more about the real underpinnings of the climate than E. O. Wilson knew about extinctions … but that’s just me, and YMMV.

Maybe there is a message here for us in the Intelligent Design movement. What do readers think?

5 Replies to “Megafauna extinction not caused by human beings, after all

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    It shows figuring out things in the past is done by committees of truth.
    If any thing its likely they are SENSITIVE to blaming non white natives for the extinctions. Knowing the times.
    Anyways indeed people did not wipe out these creatures. There was too little time.
    People only moved into Australia about 1800-1600 BC.
    It was the climate/environment that went into decay and killed off the greater biological energy from previous centuries.
    Australia is a desert today. Thats what happened.
    Marsupials were simply in all sizes as elsewhere and they were simply the same creatures as elsewhere with minor minor differences collectively adapted upon migration to the area from the north.
    That is the reason they are bang on same looking as creatures as elsewhere on earth. nOT because of wild ideas of CONVERGENT evolution.
    They all came from the same kinds off the ark.
    Creationism needs to examine better the claims of evolutionists using marsupials for their their hypothesis.
    I submit all watch the moving/still pictures of the last marsupial WOLF.
    Just youtube. dEcide if its a wolf or a funny looking kangaroo.

  2. 2
    OldArmy94 says:

    I am always fascinated by the evolutionists handwringing and fretting about extinction. WHY do they worry over it? It’s just all part of the materialistic, aimless, purposeless progression of life. Their anxiety belies their instincts, hidden beneath their prideful rejection of a Creator.

  3. 3
    goodusername says:

    in the last 500 years on the great continental landmasses of the world, we’ve only seen three mammals and six birds go extinct.

    3 mammals? I could list more than just by listing some of those that have gone extinct during my lifetime that I can remember from watching the news. Here’s a list from wikipedia of over 100. All the ones I looked at seemed legit:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....ct_mammals

  4. 4
    vjtorley says:

    Hi goodusername,

    Thank you for your post. May I suggest that you read what Willis Eschenbach said, a little more carefully? Here’s what he wrote in his January 2013 post, Always trust your gut extinct:

    Instead of 33 mammals and 80 birds going extinct on the continents per decade, in the last 500 years on the great continental landmasses of the world, we’ve only seen three mammals and six birds go extinct. Only nine continental mammal and bird species are known to have gone extinct in 500 years. (Emphases mine.)

    Australia might be the world’s sixth largest country, but it is the world’s smallest continent. It is certainly not a great continent. If you look at the species on the Wikipedia list that you linked to, you’ll find that nearly all of them are either island species or species from Australia that were killed off by European settlers.

    I’d now like to go back to Willis Eschenbach’s 2010 WattsUpWithThat post, Where are the corpses?, in order to explain his methodology.

    Where did Willis Eschenbach get his data on extinctions from?

    There are two main lists used by scientists to keep track of the facts of extinction. One is the “Red List”, maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), which lists species which are either extinct or at risk of extinction. The Red List database can be searched online at redlist.org.

    The other is the CREO list, from the Committee on Recently Extinct Organisms at the American Museum of Natural History. Their database is online at creo.amnh.org. The CREO has established very clear criteria for declaring a species extinct, not extinct, or unresolved. The criteria include precise definitions for such things as adequate taxonomy (including DNA comparisons if available), sufficient hypodigm (actual specimens of the species), and adequate surveying of the species’ habitat to verify extinction. Starting afresh, they have then uniformly applied these criteria to the historical record of purported extinctions of mammals and fish in the last 500 years. The conclusions of the CREO list are noted in the Red List, and vice versa.

    Mr. Eschenbach decided to use the CREO list for mammal extinctions (it does not yet cover birds), because he found it to be more thoroughly investigated and more uniformly and scientifically based than the Red List.

    Which kinds of animals did Willis Eschenbach choose to examine?

    Willis Eschenbach decided to confine his survey to mammals and birds living on continents, as opposed to islands. In choosing to focus on mammals and birds, Eschenbach was simply taking his cue from biologist E. O. Wilson, as he notes:

    Wilson … wrote, “Some groups, like the larger birds and mammals, are more susceptible to extinction than most.” (Wilson 1995) So, following Wilson’s lead to see if the extinction claims are true, I have investigated the timing and number of mammal and bird extinctions in modern times (the last 500 years) which are due to habitat reduction.

    Wilson’s claim that 27,000 extinctions per year have been occurring since at least 1980 means that there should be 26 bird extinctions and 13 mammal extinctions per year, a total of 39 bird and mammal extinctions per year.

    Eschenbach derived the figures of 26 bird extinctions and 13 mammal extinctions per year from IUCN figures from 2000, noting that “Bird species make up about 0.1% of all species, and mammal species are about 0.05% of all species”, and then multiplying these percentages by Wilson’s figure of 27,000 extinctions per year:

    Bird species make up about .1% of all species, and mammal species are about .05% of all species (IUCN 2000). Using Wilson’s figure of 10 million total species, he is claiming about 16 continental bird extinctions (27,000 species doomed times 8,433 continental bird species per 10,000,000 species) and 11 continental mammal extinctions (27,000 species doomed times 3,921 continental mammal species per 10,000,000 species) per year, for a total of 34 predicted continental bird and mammal extinctions per year.

    Eschenbach goes on to drily note:

    The historical extinction rate, however, has never been greater than 1.8 per year, far below the 39 extinctions per year claimed. In addition, the most recent rate is lower than it has been since about 1830. Looking at the entire bird and mammal extinction record, there is no sign of the hundreds of extinctions that Wilson says have already occurred.

    I was not interested, however, in all of the mammal and bird extinctions. In particular, I was not interested in mammals and birds that had gone extinct on islands from the introduction of alien species. I was looking for Wilson’s predicted extinctions, those due to habitat reduction.

    Eschenbach decided to exclude extinctions occurring on islands or in Australia, because the vast majority of these were caused not by habitat destruction but by the introduction of foreign species of competitors and predators, as well as new human, animal and plant diseases. He decided to focus on continental extinctions occurring in Europe, Asia, North and South America and Antarctica (not Australia, because most of the extinctions occurring there were caused by introduced exotic species and predators rather than habitat destruction).

    What did Eschenbach find out about the rate of extinctions?

    After filtering out island extinctions, the number of mammals and bird extinctions over the past few hundred years proved to be surprisingly small:

    Count of Extinct Mammal Species

    Island vs. Continental Country Total

    Extinct Island Mammal Species Various 58
    Extinct Continental Mammal Species Mexico 1
    Extinct Continental Mammal Species Algeria 1
    Extinct Continental Mammal Species South Africa 1
    Extinct Continental Mammal Species Subtotal 3
    Grand Total Extinct Mammal Species 61

    Data – http://creo.amnh.org

    Count of Extinct Bird Species

    Island vs. Continental Country Total

    Extinct Island Bird Species Various 123
    Extinct Continental Bird Species Mexico 1
    Extinct Continental Bird Species Guatemala 1
    Extinct Continental Bird Species Colombia 1
    Extinct Continental Bird Species US 2
    Extinct Continental Bird Species Canada, US 1
    Extinct Continental Bird Species Total 6
    Grand Total Extinct Bird Species 129

    Data – http://www.redlist.org

    Eschenbach found that the historical extinction rate for all species of mammals and birds has never been greater than 1.8 species per year. What’s more, the vast majority of these species extinctions were the result of imported alien species being introduced to Australia and to various islands around the world, and were not caused by habitat reduction.

    If we look at continental species of birds and mammals that have gone extinct over the last 500 years, we find that there are less than a dozen – and most of these were made extinct by hunting, rather than habitat reduction. Finally, if we look at forest species of birds and mammals on the world’s continents, we find that there are no recorded continental forest bird or mammal extinctions from any cause.

    Summarizing his findings for the past 500 years, Eschenbach wrote:

    1) When European species met isolated local species, a number of the local species died. The Australian and island species were extremely vulnerable to pressure from imported humans, mammals, birds, plants, and diseases. 95% of all recorded bird and mammal extinctions are island or Australian species.

    2) When the European species arrived, Australia and most islands had been separated from the continents for forty million years or so. The initial introduction of European species into island habitats was a one-time event. While alien species will always a problem for islands, this massive onslaught of the first coming of the European species will never be repeated — there are no places left with forty million years of isolation.

    3) Total habitat destruction drove one bird to extinction.

    4) While habitat reduction has been claimed as contributing (in an unknown degree) to three continental bird extinctions, to date no continental mammal or bird has been seen to go extinct due to habitat reduction alone.

    Three continental mammals have gone extinct — one antelope hunted to extinction, and a rare rabbit and a rarer antelope gone from unknown causes.

    Six continental birds have gone extinct — 3 prolific terrestrial bird species hunted to extinction, and 3 single-habitat freshwater bird species hunted, drained dry, eaten by fish, and polluted to extinction. (Emphases mine.)

    In response to a critic who suggested that he may have missed a few mammalian and bird extinctions, Eschenbach wrote:

    Again I reiterate: if we were to find one or four or even a dozen species that have in fact gone extinct, it would not invalidate what I am saying. The claim is made, over and over again, by Wilson and others, that we should be seeing a dozen or more species [of mammals and birds] going extinct every year. We’re not missing a dozen. We’re missing a couple dozen per year, every year, for decade after decade. This is supposed to be a huge “sixth wave” of extinction. A few overlooked extinctions in Uganda or DR Congo will not rehabilitate that wildly inaccurate claim.

    I hope that answers your questions, goodusername. Cheers.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr. Torley, I would hold that the ‘sub-species’ extinction rate may be higher than Eschenbach estimated (simply because of deforestation in the Amazon if for no other reason). Thus, the drastically different numbers between the two estimates may be partly attributable to the way species are classified in the two different studies. With one study putting more emphasis on a higher level classification of what a species is and the other putting more emphasis on a lower level classification of what a species is. ,,, Darwinists tend to try to classify any variation from a parent species into a sub-species as a brand new species. So the question becomes, does the evidence support this lower level classification scheme of Darwinists? And the answer is no to that question. In fact it is now known that the fossil record runs completely opposite of the Darwinian scheme, with higher levels appearing first and lower levels appearing later:

    The unscientific hegemony of uniformitarianism – David Tyler – May 2011
    Excerpt: The pervasive pattern of natural history: disparity precedes diversity,,,, The summary of results for phyla is as follows. The pattern reinforces earlier research that concluded the Explosion is not an artefact of sampling. Much the same finding applies to the appearance of classes. These data are presented in Figures 1 and 2 in the paper.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....niformitar

    Creation and Evolution: The Biological Evidence – Dr. Marc Surtees – Disparity precedes Diversity – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....age#t=402s

    Investigating Evolution: The Cambrian Explosion PART 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....XRY#t=168s

    Jerry Coyne’s Chapter on the Fossil Record Fails to Show “Why Evolution is True” – Jonathan M. – December 4, 2012
    Excerpt: Taxonomists classify organisms into categories: species are the very lowest taxonomic category. Species are classified into different genera. Genera are classified into different families. Families are classified into different orders. Orders are classified into different classes. And classes are classified into different phyla. Phyla are among the very highest taxonomic categories (only kingdom and domain are higher), and correspond to the high level of morphological disparity that exists between different animal body plans. Phyla include such groupings as chordates, arthropods, mollusks, and echinoderms.
    Darwin’s theory would predict a cone of diversity whereby the major body-plan differences (morphological disparity) would only appear in the fossil record following numerous lower-level speciation events. What is interesting about the fossil record is that it shows the appearance of the higher taxonomic categories first (virtually all of the major skeletonized phyla appear in the Cambrian, with no obvious fossil transitional precursors, within a relatively small span of geological time). As Roger Lewin (1988) explains in Science,
    “Several possible patterns exist for the establishment of higher taxa, the two most obvious of which are the bottom-up and the top-down approaches. In the first, evolutionary novelties emerge, bit by bit. The Cambrian explosion appears to conform to the second pattern, the top-down effect.”
    Erwin et al. (1987), in their study of marine invertebrates, similarly conclude that,
    “The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, orders before that of families. The higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa.”
    Indeed, the existence of numerous small and soft-bodied animals in the Precambrian strata undermines one of the most popular responses that these missing transitions can be accounted for by them being too small and too-soft bodied to be preserved.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....67021.html

    And contrary to what Charles Darwin claimed, the Cambrian fossil record is turning out to be surprisingly complete:

    All skeletalised metazoan phyla appeared in the Cambrian – David Tyler – 2010
    Excerpt: This means that Cambrian strata can be said to record examples of all the skeletalized metazoan phyla.,,, Subsequent periods of Earth history may have had more dramatic radiations at the Order, Class or Family level, but there were no further bauplan innovations affecting skeletalized metazoan organisms.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....a_appeared

    Moreover this pattern of the sudden appearance of higher levels preceding lower level diversification in the fossil record is found to be pervasive subsequently to the Cambrian,,,

    Punctuated Equilibrium and Patterns from the Fossil Record – Casey Luskin
    Excerpt: “The Cambrian Explosion is by no means the only “explosion” in the fossil record. One evolutionist concedes that for the origin of fishes, “this is one count in the creationists’ charge that can only evoke in unison from paleontologists a plea of nolo contendere [no contest].” Plant biologists have called the origin of plants an “explosion,” saying, “the … radiation of land (plant) biotas is the terrestrial equivalent of the much-debated Cambrian ‘explosion’ of marine faunas.” Vertebrate paleontologists believe there was a mammal explosion because of the few transitional forms between major mammal groups: “There are all sorts of gaps: absence of gradationally intermediate ‘transitional’ forms between species, but also between larger groups — between, say, families of carnivores, or the orders of mammals.” Another study, “Evolutionary Explosions and the Phylogenetic Fuse,” found a bird (as well as a mammal) “Early Tertiary ‘explosion’” because many bird and mammal groups appear in a short time period lacking immediately recognizable ancestral forms. Finally, others have called the origin of our own genus Homo, “a genetic revolution” where “no australopithecine (ape) species is obviously transitional” leading one commentator to call it, like others called the Cambrian Explosion, a “big bang theory” of human evolution.”
    http://www.ideacenter.org/cont.....hp/id/1232

    Of related interest to ‘mega’ fauna:

    Another Phylum Found in Cambrian Explosion – January 17, 2013
    Excerpt: The oldest certain fossils from phylum entoprocta are in Jurassic strata, (at) 145 million years old. ,, Now, according to Live Science, hundreds of clearly-identifiable entoprocts have been found in Cambrian strata in China, dated in the evolutionary scale at 520 million years old – three and a half times older than previously assumed.,,
    According to reporter Stephanie Pappas, the fossil animals have a body plan that is “almost identical” to living species – except that the fossils were up to 8 times larger – as much as 56 mm. (and more complex),,,
    http://crev.info/2013/01/anoth.....explosion/

    Don Patton – Entropy, Information, and The ‘Deteriorating’ Fossil Record – video (Notes on many different ‘giant’ fossils in the video description)
    http://www.vimeo.com/17050184

    Giants among us: Paper explores evolution of the world’s largest mammals
    Excerpt: The researchers found that the pattern was indeed consistent, not only globally but across time and across trophic groups and lineages—that is, animals with differing diets and descended from different ancestors—(were giant) as well.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....world.html

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