Australian scientists have concluded that human hunting caused the extinction of the ancient giant animals – or megafauna - that roamed the continent and vanished about 40,000 years ago.
A new study on the hotly-debated mystery, published in Science, blames humans rather than climate change for the demise of the massive plant-eating animals such as 300-kilogram kangaroos, birds that were twice the size of emus and a leopard-sized marsupial lion. Various theories have been promoted to explain the demise of the megafauna, including the use of fire and climate change.
"The debate really should be over now," said John Alroy, from Sydney's Macquarie University. "Hunting did it, end of story."