Pleistocene Extinctions

The Quaternary period saw the extinctions of numerous predominantly larger, especially megafaunal, species, many of which occurred during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene epoch. However, the extinction wave did not stop at the end of the Pleistocene, but continued especially on isolated Islands in Holocene extinctions. Among the main causes hypothesized by paleontologists are natural climate change and overkill by humans, who appeared during the Middle Pleistocene and migrated to many regions of the world during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. A variant of the latter possibility is the second-order predation hypothesis, which focuses more on the indirect damage caused by overcompetition with nonhuman predators. The spread of disease is also discussed as a possible reason.

Talking Points

Chicago teachers vote on ending dispute

Record attempt marks 15 years since handover

Tuesday, 2 October, 2012, 2:57am

Precious find

Our junior reporters met Lyuba, the woolly mammoth, in the International Financial Centre last Saturday. Check out what they learned ...

The exhibit

18 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Mammoth mummy makes HK debut

Five men lifted Lyuba from her storage box. Hands sheathed in white gloves, they gingerly raised the 42,000-year-old remains of the woolly mammoth calf at a storage facility in Chai Wan yesterday.

'She feels hard, not soft at all,' said Thomas Yuen, the managing director of Michelle Art Services, who is more used to handling works of art than mummified corpses.

11 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Resurrecting a mammoth gift

The woolly mammoths that lived in the cold Pleistocene era may have helped humans to survive the Ice Age, but they paid a high price for it: their own extinction.

Now, the 'unselfish' extinct mammoth may help us again.

First of all let's ask: how could these 'elephants' survive the cold?

30 Oct 2011 - 12:00am

The oldest of furry rhinos

A woolly rhinoceros fossil dug up by a team of Chinese and American scientists is believed to be the oldest of its kind yet found. It was found on the Tibetan Plateau.

The find has led researchers to think that some giants such as woolly mammoths, great sloths and sabre-tooth cats may have evolved in highlands before the Ice Age.

14 Sep 2011 - 12:00am

'Evolutionary cradle' of Ice Age mammals in Tibet

A woolly rhinoceros fossil dug up by a team of Chinese and American palaeontologists on the Tibetan Plateau is believed to be the oldest specimen of its kind yet found. The extraordinary find has led researchers to hypothesise that some giants such as woolly mammoths, great sloths and sabre-tooth cats may have evolved in highlands before the Ice Age.

11 Sep 2011 - 12:00am

Giant shaggy animals roamed earth 2 million years ago

Giant woolly mammoths are thought to have roamed the earth about 2 million years ago during the ice age.

10 Oct 2010 - 12:00am

We came from Africa, but when?

Few debates have polarised scientists more than the origin of our species.

14 Dec 2003 - 12:00am

Arid climate killed off Australia's big beasts

Archaeologists say they may have finally solved one of Australian's biggest puzzles - how its giant prehistoric animals, collectively known as megafauna, were driven to extinction.

2 Oct 2003 - 12:00am


Extinct: The Sabre-Toothed Tiger

Pearl, 9pm

With 15-centimetre long teeth, the Smilodon Fatalis or sabre-toothed tiger was one of the most savage and merciless killing machines to have stalked the Earth. But why did they die out? Could these ruthless predators simply have run out of prey?

Third Watch

Pearl, 11.50pm

25 Apr 2003 - 12:00am

Bone find in caves could yield new species of long-extinct giants

Recently discovered caves containing the bones of long-extinct giant kangaroos, wombats the size of cars and prehistoric marsupial lions could yield new species of megafauna - giant animals that once roamed Australia, say palaeontologists.

31 Jul 2002 - 12:00am

An uncanny resemblance

THE entire front page of The Review (South China Morning Post, September 2) was given over to an article by Andrew Marshall headlined, 'In search of the wild man'.

9 Sep 1995 - 12:00am