A recent research has suggested that humans who arrived in Australia about 40,000 years ago hunted the region’s giant vertebrates to extinction.
The study published in the journal Science shows that hunting and fire were the causes of the widespread extinction of Australia’s megafauna species including giant kangaroos, marsupial lions, giant birds and giant reptiles.
Scientists analyzed dung samples from 130,000 and 41,000 years ago as well as pollen and charcoal from Lynch's Crater.
The results revealed that Sporormiella spores in the area disappeared 41,000 years ago when no major climate change was taking place.
"Any climate change at those times was modest and highly unlikely to affect the outcome," said lead author Matt McGlone.
Researchers also found that major ecological changes to the landscape took place after the arrival of humans and the extinction of the animals.
“Big animals have big impacts on plants. It follows that removing big animals should produce significant changes in vegetation," noted Chris Johnson of the University of Tasmania.
He added that the removal of large herbivores altered the structure and composition of vegetation, making it more dense and uniform.
Scientists believe the findings will help them get a better understanding of environmental changes as well as the way contemporary ecosystems are formed or altered.