Hydrological transformation coincided with megafaunal extinction in central Australia

Cohen, Tim J., Jansen, John D., Gliganic, Luke A., Larsen, Joshua R., Nanson, Gerald C., May, Jan-Hendrik, Jones, Brian G. and Price, David M. (2015) Hydrological transformation coincided with megafaunal extinction in central Australia. Geology, 43 3: 195-198. doi:10.1130/G36346.1

Author Cohen, Tim J.
Jansen, John D.
Gliganic, Luke A.
Larsen, Joshua R.
Nanson, Gerald C.
May, Jan-Hendrik
Jones, Brian G.
Price, David M.
Title Hydrological transformation coincided with megafaunal extinction in central Australia
Journal name Geology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1943-2682
Publication date 2015-03-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1130/G36346.1
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 43
Issue 3
Start page 195
End page 198
Total pages 4
Place of publication Boulder, CO United States
Publisher Geological Society of America
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Central to the debate over the extinction of many of Australia’s last surviving megafauna is the question: Was climate changing significantly when humans arrived and megafauna went extinct? Here we present a new perspective on variations in climate and water resources over the last glacial cycle in arid Australia based on the study of the continent’s largest lake basin and its tributaries. By dating paleoshorelines and river deposits in the Lake Eyre basin, we show that major hydrological change caused previously overflowing megalakes to enter a final and catastrophic drying phase at 48 ± 2 ka just as the giant bird, Genyornis newtoni, went extinct (50–45 ka). The disappearance of Genyornis and other megafauna has been previously attributed to “ecosystem collapse” coincident with the spread of fire-wielding humans. Our findings suggest a climate-driven hydrological transformation in the critical window of human arrival and megafaunal extinction, and the results call for a re-evaluation of a human-mediated cause for such extinctions in arid Australia.
Keyword Geology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2016 Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 19 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 20 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sat, 07 Mar 2015, 07:37:12 EST by Joshua Larsen on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management