Sunday, January 08, 2012

Why can't modern people wipe out vertebrates?

I hope to write a bit about an issue that occurred to me recently. Claudio Tuniz and his co-authors write about the apparent wiping out of the flightless bird, Genyornis, by early Aboriginal man in "The Bone Readers" (2009). There is a longstanding debate about whether early humans in places like North America and Australia drove some prey animals to extinction through hunting. In this case, the evidence seems quite strong that they did.

What puzzles me, and what I am reading about at the moment, is why on the other hand it seems pretty generally accepted in some quarters that it is effectively impossible to eradicate pest vertebrates, such as feral pigs or feral goats, from the Australian continent, even with modern methods.

Why can modern man not do what ancient man did?



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