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

Lorenzen, Eline D., Nogués-Bravo, David, Orlando, Ludovic, Weinstock, Jaco, Binladen, Jonas, Marske, Katharine A., Ugan, Andrew, Borregaard, Michael K., Gilbert, M. Thomas P., Nielsen, Rasmus, Ho, Simon Y W, Goebel, Ted, Graf, Kelly E., Byers, David, Stenderup, Jesper T., Rasmussen, Morten, Campos, Paula F, Leonard, Jennifer A, Koepfli, Klaus-Peter, Froese, Duane, Zazula, Grant, Stafford, Thomas W, Aaris-Sørensen, Kim, Batra, Persaram, Haywood, Alan M., Singarayer, Joy S., Valdes, Paul J., Boeskorov, Gennady, Burns, James A., Davydov, Sergey P., Haile, James, Jenkins, Dennis L, Kosintsev, Pavel, Kuznetsova, Tatyana, Lai, Xulong, Martin, Larry D., McDonald, H Gregory, Mol, Dick, Meldgaard, Morten, Munch, Kasper, Stephan, Elisabeth, Sablin, Mikhail, Sommer, Robert S., Sipko, Taras, Scott, Eric, Suchard, Marc A.., Tikhonov, Alexei, Willerslev, Rane, Wayne, Robert K., Cooper, Alan, Hofreiter, Michael, Sher, Andrei, Shapiro, Beth, Rahbek, Carsten and Willerslev, Eske (2011) Species-specific responses of Late Quaternary megafauna to climate and humans Nature, 479, (7373), pp. 359-364. (doi:10.1038/nature10574). (PMID:22048313).

Record type: Article


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

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e-pub ahead of print date: 2 November 2011
Published date: 17 November 2011
Organisations: Archaeology


Local EPrints ID: 204217
ISSN: 0028-0836
PURE UUID: b62cd88e-899a-4129-9924-897507b2da43

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Date deposited: 25 Nov 2011 08:59
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:06

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

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