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      The past and future human impact on mammalian diversity

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          Abstract

          Human driven extinctions of recent past pale in comparison to future predictions, as a major global extinction wave is unfolding.

          Abstract

          To understand the current biodiversity crisis, it is crucial to determine how humans have affected biodiversity in the past. However, the extent of human involvement in species extinctions from the Late Pleistocene onward remains contentious. Here, we apply Bayesian models to the fossil record to estimate how mammalian extinction rates have changed over the past 126,000 years, inferring specific times of rate increases. We specifically test the hypothesis of human-caused extinctions by using posterior predictive methods. We find that human population size is able to predict past extinctions with 96% accuracy. Predictors based on past climate, in contrast, perform no better than expected by chance, suggesting that climate had a negligible impact on global mammal extinctions. Based on current trends, we predict for the near future a rate escalation of unprecedented magnitude. Our results provide a comprehensive assessment of the human impact on past and predicted future extinctions of mammals.

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          Most cited references 123

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          Assessing the causes of late Pleistocene extinctions on the continents.

          One of the great debates about extinction is whether humans or climatic change caused the demise of the Pleistocene megafauna. Evidence from paleontology, climatology, archaeology, and ecology now supports the idea that humans contributed to extinction on some continents, but human hunting was not solely responsible for the pattern of extinction everywhere. Instead, evidence suggests that the intersection of human impacts with pronounced climatic change drove the precise timing and geography of extinction in the Northern Hemisphere. The story from the Southern Hemisphere is still unfolding. New evidence from Australia supports the view that humans helped cause extinctions there, but the correlation with climate is weak or contested. Firmer chronologies, more realistic ecological models, and regional paleoecological insights still are needed to understand details of the worldwide extinction pattern and the population dynamics of the species involved.
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            The late Pleistocene dispersal of modern humans in the Americas.

            When did humans colonize the Americas? From where did they come and what routes did they take? These questions have gripped scientists for decades, but until recently answers have proven difficult to find. Current genetic evidence implies dispersal from a single Siberian population toward the Bering Land Bridge no earlier than about 30,000 years ago (and possibly after 22,000 years ago), then migration from Beringia to the Americas sometime after 16,500 years ago. The archaeological records of Siberia and Beringia generally support these findings, as do archaeological sites in North and South America dating to as early as 15,000 years ago. If this is the time of colonization, geological data from western Canada suggest that humans dispersed along the recently deglaciated Pacific coastline.
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              A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia.

              Currently, it is widely accepted that only one hominin genus, Homo, was present in Pleistocene Asia, represented by two species, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. Both species are characterized by greater brain size, increased body height and smaller teeth relative to Pliocene Australopithecus in Africa. Here we report the discovery, from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia, of an adult hominin with stature and endocranial volume approximating 1 m and 380 cm3, respectively--equal to the smallest-known australopithecines. The combination of primitive and derived features assigns this hominin to a new species, Homo floresiensis. The most likely explanation for its existence on Flores is long-term isolation, with subsequent endemic dwarfing, of an ancestral H. erectus population. Importantly, H. floresiensis shows that the genus Homo is morphologically more varied and flexible in its adaptive responses than previously thought.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Adv
                Sci Adv
                SciAdv
                advances
                Science Advances
                American Association for the Advancement of Science
                2375-2548
                September 2020
                04 September 2020
                : 6
                : 36
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden.
                [2 ]Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, Göteborg, Sweden.
                [3 ]Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, London, UK.
                [4 ]Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, UK.
                [5 ]Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland.
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Email: tobias.andermann@ 123456bioenv.gu.se
                Article
                abb2313
                10.1126/sciadv.abb2313
                7473673
                Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Funding
                Funded by: doi http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001711, Swiss National Science Foundation;
                Award ID: PCEFP3_187012
                Funded by: doi http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001711, Swiss National Science Foundation;
                Award ID: FN-1749
                Funded by: doi http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001729, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research;
                Funded by: doi http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001729, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research;
                Funded by: doi http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100004359, Vetenskapsrådet;
                Award ID: 2017-03862
                Funded by: doi http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100004359, Vetenskapsrådet;
                Award ID: B0569601
                Funded by: doi http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100004359, Vetenskapsrådet;
                Award ID: 2015-04748
                Funded by: doi http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100004359, Vetenskapsrådet;
                Award ID: 2019-04739
                Funded by: Royal Society University Research Fellowship;
                Award ID: UF080320/130573
                Funded by: Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation;
                Categories
                Research Article
                Research Articles
                SciAdv r-articles
                Ecology
                Evolutionary Biology
                Ecology
                Custom metadata
                Eunice Diego

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