Australia's Mammal Extinctions: A 50,000-Year History

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 2, 2006 - Nature - 278 pages
Of the forty mammal species known to have vanished in the world in the last 200 years, almost half have been Australian. Our continent has the worst record of mammal extinctions, with over 65 mammal species having vanished in the last 50 000 years. It began with the great wave of megafauna extinctions in the last ice-age, and continues today, with many mammal species vulnerable to extinction. The question of why mammals became extinct, and why so many became extinct in Australia has been debated by experts for over a century and a half and we are no closer to agreement on the causes. This book introduces readers to the great mammal extinction debate. Chris Johnson takes us on a detective-like tour of these extinctions, uncovering how, why and when they occurred.
 

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Contents

A brief history of Australias mammals
1
MAMMALS AND PEOPLE IN ICEAGE AUSTRALIA
15
What caused the megafauna extinctions?
36
human arrival and megafauna
55
The changing environment of the Pleistocene
76
Testing hypotheses on megafauna extinction
96
THE LATE PREHISTORIC PERIOD
131
Dingoes people and other mammals
148
EUROPEANS AND THEIR NEW MAMMALS
168
What caused the recent extinctions?
187
rabbits sheep and dingoes
207
Conclusions
228
References
237
Glossary
264
Index
270
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About the author (2006)

Dr Chris Johnson is a Reader in the School of Tropical Biology at James Cook University

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