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recent extinctions...



I realize we're getting afield, but one thing that occurs to
me (it's been a long time since I looked at archeology of that
period) is that there may have been either a significant increase
in human population, or a major improvement in hunting tools, at
the end of the Pleistocene. If so, human residents who had previously
existed with both European and North American megafauna, hunting
them (or some of them--I wouldn't hunt a lion if there was anything
else around to eat) might have become more efficient predators,
thus either wiping out the other megafauna or reducing their
populations to the point where a few bad winters or a new disease
could do them in. Since humans are, after all, a tool-making
species, we have to consider changes in tools as well as the
simple presence or absence of a human population.

Vicki Rosenzweig
vr%acmcr.uucp@murphy.com
New York, NY