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Re: Methane production

Good points.
Furthermore, why didn't the near extermination of the North American Bison also 
produce a mini-cooling event?  There were tens of millions of bison roaming the 
Great Plains, and within 50 years their numbers were reduced to a few hundred 
animals in Yellowstone Park.

The number of cattle that "replaced" them was only a miniscule percentage of 
the original number of bison.

Ironically, according to climatologists, the Earth was coming *out* of the 
Mini-Ice Age around the time that we were beginning to "cleanse" the bison from 
the prairies.


---------- Original Message ----------
From: Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: Methane production
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2010 08:29:13 +1000

On Fri, Jun 4th, 2010 at 1:29 AM, "Richard W. Travsky" <rtravsky@uwyo.edu> 

> http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627623.300-did-early-hunters-cause-climate-
> When hunters arrived in North America and drove mammoths and other
> large 
> mammals to extinction, the methane balance of the atmosphere could
> have 
> changed as a result, triggering the global cool spell that followed.
> The 
> large grazing animals would have produced copious amounts of methane,
> a 
> potent greenhouse gas, from their digestive systems. 
> [...]

Surely if large herbivores got rarer, wouldn't something else simply be eating 
the vegetation they 
would have otherwise consumed (like lots of smaller herbivores)? A certain 
quote from Baruch 
Spinoza comes to mind. :-)

And if not, wouldn't all that 'extra' vegetation eventually decompose to form 
methane anyway?


Dann Pigdon
GIS Specialist                         Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj

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