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Re: Genyornis: why not the bloody dingoes?




On Fri, 8 Jan 1999, Ronald Orenstein wrote:

> Without commenting on the fire idea, may I point out that it is not just
> Genyornis whose extinction is sought to be explained here, but the
> extinction of the entire Australian megafauna including giant monitors and
> snakes, diprotodont marsupials etc.  Surely you are not suggesting that
> dingoes wiped out the lot?  We are talking about animals with a wide range
> of habitat choices and (presumably) reproductive strategies.

Certainly not.  Only that it probably foolish to attribute mass
extinctions to a sole cause (fire) when, as you say, many other
possibilities exist.  And, since dingoes in Oz are implicated in limiting
other large birds (emus), and canids? are implicated in limiting ostriches
(jackals), then one ought to consider this complexity.  But then I will
wait and read their paper before commenting further.

> I might point out that a similar megafaunal extinction in Madagascar also
> occurred at roughly the same time as human arrival, and that widespread
> burning destroyed much of the Malagasy habitat.  Species lost included all
> the giant lemurs, the elephant-birds, and a hippopotamus.

I wonder which is easier to burn Madagascar or Australia?