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Evolution 2nd Edition

Evolution (2nd Edition)

Book Edition2nd Edition
Author(s)Bergstrom, Dugatkin
ISBN9780393937930
PublisherW. W. Norton
SubjectBiology
Start of Chapter
KEY CONCEPT QUESTION
Section 15.1: The Concept of Extinction
KEY CONCEPT QUESTION
Section 15.4: Factors Correlated with Extinction
KEY CONCEPT QUESTION
Section 15.5: Rates of Evolutionary Change and Evolutionary Trends
KEY CONCEPT QUESTION

Chapter 15, Start of Chapter, KEY CONCEPT QUESTION, Exercise 15.1

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Explanation

More than 50,000 years ago, large animals known as the megafauna lived on the earth as suggested by the discovery of giant fossils. However, 10,000 years later, the megafauna disappeared and the event is known as the P megafauna extinction.

The cause of the disappearance is unknown but several theories suggest excessive human hunting as the probable cause of the extinction. This theory is supported by the archaeological discoveries of sharper and tougher hunting weapons. Moreover, the extreme temperature changes could have accelerated the process of extinction combined with hunting activities. Some theories also suggest that the use of fire or divisions in the habitat region could be the cause of extinction. The survival of local species was endangered because of exotic species' introduction, which could have taken over the food resources and pushed the local species toward extinction.

Sample Response

The discovery of sharper weapons suggests that excessive hunting along with extreme climatic changes is the possible reasons for the dramatic extinction of the megafauna more than 40,000 years ago. Other reasons for the extinction could be the use of fire, division of habitats, and introduction of exotic species into the environment of the megafauna, which would have indirectly affected the survival rate, thereby leading to P megafauna extinction.

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