The research by Matt Davis, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, on Ice Age extinctions have been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal. He found that the animals that did not survive the Ice Age had a unique functional role just like those that survived.

He also discovered that earth has reached a point where losing even some of the key mammals will make a gap equal to that of the comprehensive Ice Age mammals’ extinctions. During the Ice Age, about 38% of earth’s large-mammal, functional diversity was lost. Those species included giant beavers, stout-legged llamas, giant ground sloths, and woolly mammoths.

“You can think of it like a big tent where every animal is holding a pole to keep the tent up,” says Davis. “However, now we only have a few animals left holding up those poles. If they die, the whole tent could collapse" stated the researcher.

Ice Age extinctions were not severe on their eco-systems as the European domestic animals which were later introduced restored certain functional diversity. But such redundancies in functionality are uncommon for today’s species like giant anteaters, jaguars, and polar bears.

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