See Monsters We Met – Eternal Frontier – Part 5

When our early ancestors entered new lands they encountered a variety of strange new creatures, monsters that no longer exist. What were they like and where are they now? What are the real answers to the mystery of the missing megafauna?

100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens first ventured out of Africa. The world they entered was the domain of giants: monstrous marsupials, huge eagles, savage short-faced bears and the terrifying 5.5 metre long ripper lizard, Megalania.

These monsters now exist only in our imagination or as long dead bones in a museum.
In some areas of the world over 70% of large mammals became extinct around the time that humans arrived on the continent. But why? Was it man’s arrival or was it coincidence?

What are the real answers to the mystery of the missing megafauna?

Extinctions caused by humans In contrast, the extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene seem to target large animals, with the small to medium ones escaping relatively lightly. Scientists that support the overkill hypothesis believe that this evidence points to humans as the culprits. The impact of human hunters on populations of large, slow-maturing, slow-breeding animals, such as mammoths and diprotodons, was bound to be far greater than any effect they might have had on small, rapidly breeding prey such as hares or squirrels.

Therefore, the overkill theory seems to explain why only the megafauna died out.

-Eternal Frontier-

North America – 13,000 years ago While the world was still in the grip of the last ice age, humans first crossed Siberia and entered the New World. They encountered creatures familiar to them from their travels, such as the woolly mammoth and the steppe bison, but also a whole host of new marvels. The Americas was the only continent where humans ever came face to face with sabre-toothed cats, giant ground sloths or the massive short-faced bears. As the climate warmed and the ice melted, all these megafaunal marvels vanished. What or who was responsible for their demise?