Most of the mammals that lived in India 200,000 years ago still roam the subcontinent today, in spite of two ice ages, a volcanic super-eruption and the arrival of people, a study reveals.
In contrast, nearly two-thirds of mammals in northern Eurasia,
Australia, Madagascar and the Americas died out by 10,000 years ago.
findings suggest that many of India's charismatic animals, such as
bears, leopards and wolves, may have been more able to adapt to
ecological pressures than mammals elsewhere.
They also highlight
the importance of connected habitats and could help protect some of
today's most endangered Indian creatures.
India's mammals survived crises by moving between connected safe havens,
known as refugia. More stable weather in the area over the last 200,000
years compared to other parts of the world could also have played a
part in the mammals' persistence.
Until now, many researchers
thought widespread extinctions affecting far-apart places like North
America, Europe and Australia must have been worldwide phenomena, caused
by single problems like climate change or overhunting.
latest study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that
extinctions may instead be the result of multiple pressures.
of the research on mega-faunal extinctions over the last 30 or 40 years
has focused on North America, Australia and Madagascar, so that has
shaped our thinking on the topic. These places saw much more extremes of
climate change than the Indian subcontinent did. These and human
factors may have led to big changes in faunal populations,' says
Professor Michael Petraglia of the University of Oxford, who led the
study. [...] planetearth.nerc.ac.uk