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Pleistocene extinction of megafauna not caused by paleo-indian hunters
I've often been fascinated by the megafauna of the Pleistocene, more so than any other great epoch in history. I think the reason it interest me so much is because it was not all that long ago, and that modern humans interacted and hunted these animals. In France, beautiful cave drawings were painted by skilled ancient artist in Chauvet Cave over 25,000 years ago, depicting some animals than have since gone extinct. Around 13,000 years ago, the megafauna of the late Pleistocene began to disappear. The major extinciton happened in North America, however many megafauna on other continents also became extinct. Animals that went extinct included mammoths, mastedons, giant armadillo, giant beaver, giant bears, several species of wild horse, wooly rhino, species of bison and oxen, stag-moose and many others. Is it really plausible that the first people to arrive in the americas killed millions of animals to extinction? These were a nomadic people, living in small hunter groups, not organized communities or tribes of hundreds or thousands. We know that numbers of early americans were limited because the lack of archeological sites doesn't support large numbers of paleo-indians circa 13,000 BCE. Let us ask ourselves, how many people could one mammoth support and for how long? Around 490 lbs of meat can be extracted from a 1200 lb steer. A Columbian Mammoth weighed up to 10 tons or 20,000 pounds. So conservatively it may have yielded 5,000 to 7,000 lbs of meat! Through salting or smoking the meat can be preserved, as well as preserved naturally in colder conditions. It would have greatly benefited these hunters to find ways of preserving their kill, as hunts were undoubtedly dangerous and may not have always been succesful. The large number of predators at the time would surely have had a greater impact on reducing the numbers of grazing fauna. These predators include dire wolves, north american lions, bears, saber-toothed cats, and others. So what really happened?