New biochemical research shows significant turnovers in Southeast Asian environments and animals during the Pleistocene — ScienceDaily

In a paper published today in the journal Nature, scientists from the Department of Archaeology at MPI-SHH in Germany and Griffith University’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution have found that the loss of these grasslands was instrumental in the extinction of many of the region’s megafauna, and probably of ancient humans too.

“Southeast Asia is often overlooked in global discussions of megafauna extinctions,” says Associate Professor Julien Louys who led the study, “but in fact it once had a much richer mammal community full of giants that are now all extinct.”

By looking at stable isotope records in modern and fossil mammal teeth, the researchers were able to reconstruct whether past animals predominately ate tropical grasses or leaves, as well as the climatic conditions at the time they were alive. “These types of analyses provide us with unique and unparalleled snapshots into the diets of these species and

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