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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Aug 16;102(33):11763-8. Epub 2005 Aug 5.

Asynchronous extinction of late Quaternary sloths on continents and islands.

Author information

1
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA. dws@flmnh.ufl.edu

Abstract

Whatever the cause, it is extraordinary that dozens of genera of large mammals became extinct during the late Quaternary throughout the Western Hemisphere, including 90% of the genera of the xenarthran suborder Phyllophaga (sloths). Radiocarbon dates directly on dung, bones, or other tissue of extinct sloths place their "last appearance" datum at approximately 11,000 radiocarbon years before present (yr BP) or slightly less in North America, approximately 10,500 yr BP in South America, and approximately 4,400 yr BP on West Indian islands. This asynchronous situation is not compatible with glacial-interglacial climate change forcing these extinctions, especially given the great elevational, latitudinal, and longitudinal variation of the sloth-bearing continental sites. Instead, the chronology of last appearance of extinct sloths, whether on continents or islands, more closely tracks the first arrival of people.

PMID:
16085711
PMCID:
PMC1187974
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0502777102
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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