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

Bruno David, Lee J. Arnold, Jean Jacques Delannoy, Joanna Fresløv, Chris Urwin, Fiona Petchey, Matthew C. McDowell, Russell Mullett, Jerome Mialanes, Rachel Wood, Joe Crouch, Johan Berthet, Vanessa N.L. Wong, Helen Green, John Hellstrom, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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 datedate 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106781
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume253
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Cloggs cave
  • Landscape change
  • Late Pleistocene extinctions
  • Megafauna
  • OSL dating
  • Radiocarbon dating

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