Australia was once home to giant reptiles, marsupials and birds (and some not so giant), but the extinction of this megafauna has been the subject of a debate that has persisted since the 19th century.
Despite great advances in the available scientific techniques for investigating the problem, answering the key question of how they became extinct has remained elusive.
Indeed, the same questions as those asked in the 19th century by scientists, such as the British comparative anatomist Sir Richard Owen and the Prussian scientist and explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, remain: were people responsible for their demise or was it climate change?
Our new research, published in the latest Quaternary Science Reviews journal, shows that early humans to Australian lived alongside some of the megafauna for many thousands of years before the animals became extinct.
The First Australians
Many researchers have previously argued that the megafauna became extinct soon after…
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