A team of six scientists, including Jon M. Erlandson of the University of Oregon, pronounced their verdict in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (online, March 13) after holding court on thousands of years of archaeological testimony taken from bones of the extinct sea duck uncovered from 14 sites on islands off the California Coast and 12 mainland sites from southern California northward.
Erlandson and his co-authors from California Polytechnic State University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) demonstrated that humans first hunted the flightless sea duck (Chendytes lawi) more than 10,000 years ago, but the bird persisted until about 2,400 years ago. Their findings that Chendytes survived more than 7,500 years of human predation are based on the first radiocarbon dating of Chendytes bones from six coastal archaeological sites.
Erlandson and colleagues, along with UO alum Don Grayson, now a University of Washington archaeologist, suggest that the drawn-out road to the ducks' extinction raises serious questions about the "Pleistocene over-kill theory" that the Paleoindian Clovis culture rapidly hunted numerous large mammals and other animals to extinction on their arrival in the Americas in the late Pleistocene.
The ducks' lifestyle served them well for millennia, the researchers noted. Many of the birds nested on the Channel Islands off the California Coast, where few predators existed before humans arrived. After seafaring Paleoindians colonized the islands about 13,000 years ago, however, Chendytes may have been driven to smaller and more remote islands. Human population growth, the development of increasingly sophisticated watercraft, and the introduction of dogs and foxes to the islands probably put greater pressure on the birds. Eventually, the flightless duck, like great auk in the North Atlantic, had no place to run.
Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Loss of habitat causes double damage to species richness
02.04.2019 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Deep decarbonization of industry is possible with innovations
25.03.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.
Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
09.04.2019 | Event News
24.04.2019 | Trade Fair News
23.04.2019 | Information Technology
23.04.2019 | Earth Sciences