New evidence reveals climate change killed the big animals of Australia’s ice age

During the Ice Age, things were a bit different than they are today in the land of Sahul. If the name Sahul doesn’t ring a bell, it is probably because it isn’t a place anymore. It is the landmass that includes Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea—all once connected. At times of lower sea level when water is locked up in ice, the continental shelf is exposed and merges all of these seemingly separate swathes of land.

During this last glacial maximum, the continent was teeming with giants like 500-pound kangaroos, massive fuzzy wombat-relatives, and 20-foot-long crocodiles. But around 30,000 years ago, these enormous land dwellers had almost disappeared. A whopping 88 species of mammals went extinct in Sahul between 500,000 and 30,000 years ago, but why? Read more.

Tags: Geology Oxygen isotopes