Causes of extinction of vertebrates during the Holocene of mainland Australia: arrival of the dingo, or human impact?

Johnson, C.N., and Wroe, S. (2003) Causes of extinction of vertebrates during the Holocene of mainland Australia: arrival of the dingo, or human impact? The Holocene, 13 (6). pp. 941-948.

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Abstract

The arrival of the dingo in mainland Australia is believed to have caused the extinction of three native vertebrates: the thylacine, the Tasmanian devil and the Tasmanian native hen. The dingo is implicated in these extinctions because, while these three species disappeared during the late Holocene of mainland Australia in the presence of the dingo, they persisted in Tasmania in its absence. Moreover, the dingo might plausibly have competed with the thylacine and devil, and preyed on the native hen. However, another variable is similarly correlated with these extinctions: there is evidence for an increase in the human population on the mainland that gathered pace about 4000 years ago and was associated with innovations in hunting technology and more intensive use of resources. These changes may have combined to put increased hunting pressure on large vertebrates, and to reduce population size of many species that were hunted by people on the mainland. We suggest that these changes, which were quite dramatic on mainland Australia but were muted or absent in Tasmania, could have led to the mainland extinctions of the thylacine, devil and hen.

Item ID: 4419
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Australia; Canis lupus dingo; dingo; Gallinula mortiertii; Holocene; human impact; intensification; Sarcophilus harrisii; Thylacinus cynocephalus; vertebrate extinction
ISSN: 0959-6836
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2009 22:52
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060899 Zoology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 32
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