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If humans had never set foot in the Bahamas, the islands today might be teeming with Cuban crocodiles, Albury's tortoises and rock iguanas.
These creatures survived the thawing of the last ice age, but not the arrival of people, a new study finds. On Abaco Island, a graveyard of fossils at the bottom of a flooded sinkhole suggests that humans caused more animals to go extinct than natural changes in the climate, the researchers said.
The new study, published today (Oct. 19) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that 17 species, all of them birds, disappeared from Abaco during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene epoch. But when humans showed up about 1,000 years ago, 22 more species of reptiles, birds and mammals vanished. [6 Extinct Animals That Could Be Brought Back to Life]
"These animals could make it through the natural changes of the ice age to the modern climate—the island getting smaller, the climate getting warmer and wetter —but the human-caused changes were too much for them," said David Steadman, an ornithologist and paleontologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History, who led the study.
The fossils were collected from Sawmill Sink, a forbidding blue hole in a pine forest on Abaco Island. The top 30 feet (9 meters) of the sinkhole is filled with clear freshwater that's easy to dive in. But underneath that is a 15- to 20-foot (4.5 to 6 m) layer of opaque water saturated with hydrogen sulfide that blocks out all light and is corrosive to human skin. Still below that is a layer of salt water depleted of the oxygen that would otherwise fuel the growth of bone-decaying fungus and bacteria.
originally posted by: Bluntone22
Just for perspective. 99.9% of all species that have existed on earth are now extinct. Most were gone before humans came around.
originally posted by: bobs_uruncle
a reply to: SuperFrog
More assumptions pairnting humans as the bad guys lol. Not one mention of finding human artifacts of ANY kind. But humans gone done it. It is interesting that there is a hydrogen sulfide layer, animal swims down to grab prey, overshoots, burns out eyes, dies off. No that can't be it, has to be those pesky humans.
Typical example of trying to make alleged science fit a political agenda.
Cheers - Dave
originally posted by: Nexttimemaybe
You seem to make a distinction between us and nature for some reason.
We are part of nature, although a seemingly very destructive part and therefore part of the natural cycle of things.
We will inevitably destroy most if not all of the planet at some point. But something will survive even if it's only bacteria, but a new cycle will begin none the less.
We humans prove that knowledge does not always lead to intelligence.