The Sixth Extinction: First Pulse
In the beginning
Just before humans left Africa around 50-100,000 years ago, Pleistocene mammals were at their peak. Large mammals including many species of elephants, cats, camels, cattle, deers, horses, antelopes, and wolves wandered all the five continents. That age has ended with the rise of Homo sapiens. No longer roaming the earth, the large Pleistocene mammals today survive squeezed into reserves and parks in pockets of Africa.
We are now in the Holocene, the age of Humans, and the Sixth Extinction is upon us now.
Large mammals: Tasty and Unafraid
During the first pulse of the Sixth Extinction, large mammals were the hardest hit.
In Africa, humans and large mammals evolved together over the last five million years. As humans gradually developed better hunting techniques and tools, the animals simultaneously evolved defensive tactics and fear of humans. But large mammals outside of Africa had no fear or knowledge of humans. One imagines the mammoth, the ground sloth, the xx deer, did not run away when first encountering these strange creatures wielding long sticks and stones. And so quite rapidly large mammals became extinct.
|Image||Species||Date Extinct||Geographic Region||Cause of Extinction|
|Woolly Mammoth||1700 BC||North America, Northern Eurasia||Climate Change & Overhunting|
|Woolly Rhinoceros||8000 BC||Northern Eurasia||Climate Change & Overhunting|
|Glyptodon||10,000 BP||North & South America||Climate Change|
|Ground Sloth||4,000 BP||North & South America||Overhunting|
|Saber Tooth Tiger||10,000 BP||North & South America, Eurasia, Africa||Overhunting & Competition|
|American Lion||11,000 BP||North & South America||Overhunting & Competition|
|Camelops||10,000 BP||North America||Overhunting|
|Neanderthal||25,000 BP||North America||Climate Change & Human Competition|
|Moa||1500 AD||New Zealand||Overhunting|