Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Prehistoric humans suspected of wiping out largest elephant birds Aepyornis and Mullerornis

What Happened to the Largest Birds That Ever Lived Who killed the largest birds that ever lived?
Cary Marshall | 15 September, 2018, 18:44

A team of scientists led by worldwide conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) discovered that ancient bones from the extinct Madagascan elephant birds (Aepyornis and Mullerornis) show cut marks and depression fractures consistent with hunting and butchery by prehistoric humans. Nothing was more striking for the researchers than the cutting marks found "engraved" into the ancient bones, revealing that the first prehistoric humans settled in the region with about 6,000 years before initially believed. That's because they push back the date of their arrival by at least 6000 years. The marks also suggest that human hunters likely knocked the birds to the ground by hitting them very hard in the legs, before making the fatal blow.

A giant elephant bird - aepyornis - people hunted long before, according to official science, in Madagascar appeared first people.

"Traces of a sharp tool on the bones - an unmistakable marker. Ukraine", a giant egg of the extinct bird elephant accidentally discovered in the vaults of the Museum. Through radiocarbon dating of the elephant bird bones, this new study found that humans were actually present on the island around 10,500 years ago.

As well as raising questions about human history, the discovery suggests a "radically different extinction theory" is required to understand the loss of the island's unique fauna. The ostrich-like elephant creatures, which were once native to the island, stood more than 3 meters and weighed more than 350 kilograms.

There are a number of theories about why and when this happened, and how much humans were involved.

'Humans seem to have coexisted with elephant birds and other now-extinct species for over 9,000 years, apparently with limited negative impact on biodiversity for most of this period, which offers new insights for conservation today, ' said Dr Hansford.

Humans still seem to be the main culprits for the elephant bird's extinction but things are certainly not as simple as they seemed before.

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The egg volume can be up to 160 times greater than a chicken egg.

This also changes the date which we consider to mark the arrival of the first settlers on the island.

"I was amazed at how old the bones were", study author Patricia Wright of Stony Brook University, New York, told Newsweek.

'We do not know the origin of these people and won't until we find further archaeological evidence, but we know there is no evidence of their genes in modern populations.

It remains unclear who those early-arriving prehistoric people were; their presence is marked only by cuts and scrapes.

"These people were courageous and clever, if ventured to oppose such a strong and huge birds (2-5 feet tall) But why did they disappear without a trace? - asks Patricia Wright".

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