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Type: Journal article
Title: High-quality fossil dates support a synchronous, Late Holocene extinction of devils and thylacines in mainland Australia
Author: White, L.
Saltré, F.
Bradshaw, C.
Austin, J.
Citation: Biology Letters, 2018; 14(1):1-4
Publisher: Royal Society
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 1744-9561
Statement of
Lauren C. White, Frederik Saltre, Corey J. A. Bradshaw and Jeremy J. Austin
Abstract: The last large marsupial carnivores-the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilis harrisii) and thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus)-went extinct on mainland Australia during the mid-Holocene. Based on the youngest fossil dates (approx. 3500 years before present, BP), these extinctions are often considered synchronous and driven by a common cause. However, many published devil dates have recently been rejected as unreliable, shifting the youngest mainland fossil age to 25 500 years BP and challenging the synchronous-extinction hypothesis. Here we provide 24 and 20 new ages for devils and thylacines, respectively, and collate existing, reliable radiocarbon dates by quality-filtering available records. We use this new dataset to estimate an extinction time for both species by applying the Gaussian-resampled, inverse-weighted McInerney (GRIWM) method. Our new data and analysis definitively support the synchronous-extinction hypothesis, estimating that the mainland devil and thylacine extinctions occurred between 3179 and 3227 years BP.
Keywords: AMS dating
Rights: © 2018 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2017.0642
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 8
Environment Institute publications

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