American Megafaunal Extinctions at the End of the Pleistocene

Part of the series Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology pp 1-20

Introduction to the Volume

  • Gary HaynesAffiliated withAnthropology Department, University of Nevada

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Imagine elephant-like animals in ancient North America. They are hairier than the elephants of Africa or Asia, and not as easily annoyed by your close approach because they have never seen an animal like you before. They yank up coarse grass with their trunks and thump it against a foreleg to knock off the dirt. Imagine horses, too – thick-bodied with big jaws chewing bite after bite of grass and bark. Imagine one-humped camels listening to the horses bray like zebras. Then imagine something else; imagine these animals and every one like them dead and gone just a short time later.


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