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Late survival of megafauna refuted for Cloggs Cave, SE Australia: Implications for the Australian Late Pleistocene megafauna extinction debate

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 23:34 authored by David, B, Arnold, LJ, Delannoy, JJ, Freslov, J, Urwin, C, Petchey, F, Matthew McDowellMatthew McDowell, Mullett, R, Mialanes, J, Wood, R, Crouch, J, Berthet, J, Wong, VNL, Green, H, Hellstrom, J
Understanding of Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions in Australia and New Guinea (Sahul) suffers from a paucity of reliably dated bone deposits. Researchers are divided as to when, and why, large-bodied species became extinct. Critical to these interpretations are so-called 'late survivors', megafauna that are thought to have persisted for tens of thousands of years after the arrival of people. While the original dating of most sites with purported late survivors has been shown to have been erroneous or problematic, one site continues to feature: Cloggs Cave. Here we report new results that show that Cloggs Cave's youngest megafauna were deposited in sediments that date to 44,500-54,160 years ago, more than 10,000 years older than previously thought, bringing them into chronological alignment with the emerging continental pattern of megafaunal extinctions. Our results indicate that the youngest megafauna specimens excavated from Cloggs Cave date to well before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), and their demise could not have been driven by climate change leading into the LGM, the peak of the last Ice Age.


Publication title

Quaternary Science Reviews



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School of Natural Sciences


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

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Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences