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Carnivores being displaced

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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 12:17   #1
andyadcock
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Carnivores being displaced

I think most people were probably aware of this

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40596729


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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 13:26   #2
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It must be (have been) anything but relaxing living with large predators!

Certainly this 'death by a thousand cuts' year by year creeping of humanity and degradation /fragmentation /loss of natural habitat is just not sustainable for carnivores, and all other species and vegetative /geological communities. With all that we know now, I honestly think the best solution is for humans to live in miles high self-powering skyscrapers, as 'islands' in the wilderness - rather than the other way around as is happening now.

Though it's not just carnivores that are being displaced /eliminated through unviable breeding populations and habitat fragmentation .... there is the probable man caused extinction of mega fauna, and the unsustainable pressure on our largest land mammals whether through poaching, competition, or habitat loss, along with our devastating effect on the plant kingdom with our clear felling of the largest, tallest, and oldest of trees in old growth and primary forests - many many 100's of years ahead of the schedule for such sizeable specimens to be replaced.

All together, this is known as 'shrinking nature'.

The article you linked said that dingoes are one species doing relatively well - sadly this is not technically so. Apart from isolated occurrences on Fraser Island, and some of the more remote areas of the top end, genetic dilution by wild dogs is a major problem. Some estimates put only 25% of the population in Southern Australia as being of pure dingo DNA. Such a change is seen as irreversible, and researchers think that the concept of the 'evolving dingo' may be here permanently .... http://goodanimalnews.com/dog-puppy/...s-dingoes.html


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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 16:38   #3
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
The article you linked said that dingoes are one species doing relatively well - sadly this is not technically so. Apart from isolated occurrences on Fraser Island, and some of the more remote areas of the top end, genetic dilution by wild dogs is a major problem. Some estimates put only 25% of the population in Southern Australia as being of pure dingo DNA. Such a change is seen as irreversible, and researchers think that the concept of the 'evolving dingo' may be here permanently .... http://goodanimalnews.com/dog-puppy/...s-dingoes.html
But dingoes are just feral domesticated dogs anyway? True of a very early domesticated lineage, but they're still human introductions, not wild.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 17:04   #4
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Hi Chosun,

[quote=Chosun Juan;3590629]Some estimates put only 25% of the population in Southern Australia as being of pure dingo DNA. Such a change is seen as irreversible, and researchers think that the concept of the 'evolving dingo' may be here permanently .... http://goodanimalnews.com/dog-puppy/...s-dingoes.html

Thanks for the link - fascinating to find an explanation of the origin of the Dingo in the article!

Wouldn't selective pressure tend to make the evolving Dingo converge with the original Dingo if the environment it's living remains unchanged?

Regards,

Henning
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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 07:15   #5
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Nutcracker, Hauksen,

Well it's rather fascinating, there seems to be much Taxonomic and genetic origin discussion, even now, as to the ancestors of the dingo, but it seems they may have (at least partially) some form of wild ancestor. All that seems reasonably certain is that they have been living in the wild in Australia naturally for several thousand years, having (or further evolved) tangible differences in skull construction, dentition and breeding cycles from domestic dogs.

This rather long Wikipedia article will probably leave you with more questions than answers, but such seems the complexity and ongoing debate on the subject: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dingo

It also seems certain that the "genetically pure" dingo is headed for extinction on non island isolated populations, since there is widespread interbreeding and hybridization with feral dogs since the invasion by the White Man. There is some evidence of an increase in the prevalence of 'dingoes' in the upper half of the weight range for pre-European dingoes.

Henning, this may answer your question somewhat, as the environment pre Invasion didn't have the tens of millions upon millions of livestock (sheep, cattle), that the country does today and the attendant permanent water (in the former of dams, troughs, artesian bores etc) as well as feral pigs, goats, deer, horses, camels, buffalo etc, and so an 'evolving dingo' now, may end up heavier set and larger - the research is ongoing. Again, this Wikipedia article on Dingo/ Interbreeding /Hybrids, raises just as many questions as the answers it provides: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inte..._domestic_dogs

Undoubtedly the whole topic of Dingoes is a substantial subject on its own, suffice to say as far as this thread goes, that you could also add the "genetically pure" dingo to the list of displaced/endangered/extinct carnivores.



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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 11:07   #6
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Well, I can't speak for everyone, but the state of the Dingo is the least of my worries regarding large predators, mostly for the reason outlined above by Nutcracker. Also, let's think about how many endemic species may have been displaced or exterminated by dingoes.


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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
It also seems certain that the "genetically pure" dingo is headed for extinction on non island isolated populations, since there is widespread interbreeding and hybridization with feral dogs since the invasion by the White Man.
Strange, I was always under the impression that it was the British who conquered Australia. But I'm happy to be corrected. Where is this mysterious White Nation you're speaking of?
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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 12:20   #7
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Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
Well, I can't speak for everyone, but the state of the Dingo is the least of my worries regarding large predators, mostly for the reason outlined above by Nutcracker. Also, let's think about how many endemic species may have been displaced or exterminated by dingoes.
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
.... It also seems certain that the "genetically pure" dingo is headed for extinction on non island isolated populations, since there is widespread interbreeding and hybridization with feral dogs since the invasion by the White Man...
Strange, I was always under the impression that it was the British who conquered Australia. But I'm happy to be corrected. Where is this mysterious White Nation you're speaking of?
Sanga, certainly there are large (and small) carnivores around the world that are very sadly much much closer to the precipice than dingoes ..... such as a number of small leopards, west African lions, tigers, rhinos, etc, and lets not forget the large Eagles of the tropics, and indeed Tasmania, among way way too long a list unfortunately .......
It is not certain what impact they have had on endemic species since their arrival, but it is thought that they played a part in displacing the Thylacine and Tasmanian Devil from the mainland - certainly it's a subject of much debate in scientific circles, as are most things about them. So while they may be lower down on the list than quite a few others, let's not forget that we are talking about the loss either now, or in as little as ~10 years in places, of a genetic purity that has existed untouched for several thousand years .....

Let's not pussyfoot around with insipid words like "conquered" ..... it was an Invasion, Massacre, Murder, and Theft and Subjugation to this day. Yes, it was the "British" - largely made up of "White Men" in command ..... I really don't see where your confusion comes from.


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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 12:40   #8
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
Let's not pussyfoot around with insipid words like "conquered" ..... it was an Invasion, Massacre, Murder, and Theft and Subjugation to this day.
That's what conquests usually are. It's not an "insipid" word; to everyone with a modicum of historical knowledge it implies a whole host of things that would be considered criminal or even monstrous in a civilized society. And no, the British Empire was not more brutal than other empires in history; it's just that most people don't know anything about those other empires.


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Yes, it was the "British" - largely made up of "White Men" in command ..... I really don't see where your confusion comes from.
The point is that every time people use actual insipid wordings like "The White Man"(TM), they are helping construct a dumb, inaccurate, collectivist mythos that only lends itself to racist narratives from either side. Let's be exact here.
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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 14:36   #9
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Sanga,

My characterization of your use of the word "conquered" as 'insipid' is because by making it past tense it becomes a namby pamby kumbaya piffling thing of no consequence that happened to someone else far away, long ago, and it's all sunshine, roses, and happy families now ...... not the monstrous crime that it was, and, IS (ongoing theft, displacement, and hence subjugation) to this very day. Right now. This very second.

Your further post shows you know exactly what "conquering" is .... so don't be surprised when someone arcs up and calls you out over your hair splitting semantics and focus on the term "The White Man" (whether it is trademarked or not! :) . It's all too easy to fall into the trap of smug self satisfaction when on the dominant side rewriting (perverting) the course of history.

You should know that elders of the collective 'Aboriginal Nation' recently rejected "Constitutional Recognition of First Peoples" in favour of a Full Treaty, precisely because it was an attempted anaemic "White-Washing" of history.

It's this "Colonial" exploitative thinking that is precisely the problem that has resulted in carnivores facing the displacement/ extinction pressures that they are now - on an industrial scale. It's not just dingoes way down on that list that face genetic dilution into oblivion ----- that's already a fait accompli` with the Genocide of the Tasmanian Aborigines by the Invading British. So Sanga knowing that, don't get hung up on my use of the term "White Man" - for only they, and that type of arrogant backwards thinking are capable of blithely and truly mindlessly (dumb) imagining that such actions carry no karmic debt in realms where the entirety of a human lifespan passes in the blink of an eye, where right and wrong is absolute, black and white, and dreams (or nightmares) are made manifest instantaneously .......

While by and large, indigenous cultures the world over have managed to live more harmoniously with nature and the other lifeforms of this planet, there are several important exceptions not mentioned in the article linked by the OP. Specifically the prosecution by villagers of Leopards that overlap their homes - most problematic of these to my knowledge has been the killing of the Endangered Arabian Leopard in Yemen. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_leopard



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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 14:42   #10
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I'm getting confused here. Who do we currently think brought Dingoes to Australia, because my understanding was that "White Men" had only been there a few hundred years? So where does the responsibility for introduction of an invasive alien species lie?

John
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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 15:07   #11
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
Sanga,

My characterization of your use of the word "conquered" as 'insipid' is because by making it past tense it becomes a namby pamby kumbaya piffling thing of no consequence that happened to someone else far away, long ago, and it's all sunshine, roses, and happy families now ...... not the monstrous crime that it was, and, IS (ongoing theft, displacement, and hence subjugation) to this very day. Right now. This very second.
[...]
Don't worry, I know about the plight of the aboriginal Australians, and many other people around the world.


Quote:
Your further post shows you know exactly what "conquering" is .... so don't be surprised when someone arcs up and calls you out over your hair splitting semantics and focus on the term "The White Man" (whether it is trademarked or not! :) . It's all too easy to fall into the trap of smug self satisfaction when on the dominant side rewriting (perverting) the course of history.
I'm on the side of facts and modern science, which is based on observable facts.


Quote:
It's this "Colonial" exploitative thinking that is precisely the problem that has resulted in carnivores facing the displacement/ extinction pressures that they are now - on an industrial scale.
Can you prove that this alleged "colonial thinking" is special to (European) empires of the modern era? Because, looking at other cultures and ancient times, I don't think it is.


Quote:
It's not just dingoes way down on that list that face genetic dilution into oblivion ----- that's already a fait accompli` with the Genocide of the Tasmanian Aborigines by the Invading British.
But Tasmanians are people and hence, not relevant to this thread.


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So Sanga knowing that, don't get hung up on my use of the term "White Man" - for only they, and that type of arrogant backwards thinking are capable of blithely and truly mindlessly (dumb) imagining that such actions carry no karmic debt in realms where the entirety of a human lifespan passes in the blink of an eye, where right and wrong is absolute, black and white, and dreams (or nightmares) are made manifest instantaneously .......
Except that's utter, anti-historical BS. White people aren't special, other people have done the same before and since. Get over it.
Also, people who just happen to share the same complexion are neither a collective, nor a hive mind of some sort. Nor do they constitute an ethnicity, let alone a culture, only by virtue of their skin colour.


Quote:
While by and large, indigenous cultures the world over have managed to live more harmoniously with nature and the other lifeforms of this planet, there are several important exceptions not mentioned in the article linked by the OP.
The typical MO of people, including the ones you're referring to, is to wipe out the local megafauna by way of exploitation or competition, and generally change the environment. The aboriginal Australians of yore did the same (obviously, I'm not blaming their modern descendants - nor anyone else's - for that). Where are Megalania, Diprotodon, Bullockornis, Thylacoleo etc. now?
Conservation efforts or attempts to live more "in harmony" with one's environment generally come after that phase, if at all.

BTW, all people are indigenous to some place or another.
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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 15:41   #12
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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
I'm getting confused here. Who do we currently think brought Dingoes to Australia, because my understanding was that "White Men" had only been there a few hundred years? So where does the responsibility for introduction of an invasive alien species lie?

John
John,

It is thought that the Dingo's ancestors would (probably) have required human assistance to cross the small oceanic barriers that still remained even during the lowest of sea levels over the last ~12000 - ~3500 years or so.

Although after reading the rather lengthy Wikipedia article I get the impression that there is not a precise consensus amongst the expert scientists - anything is possible I suppose, and there are schools of thought that there was more than one particular instance of introduction of genes, though, from what I can understand (admittedly my head's still fairly spinning after reading that and a few other articles! :) there seemed to be a fairly homogeneous Dingo here as far back as ~3500 years ago.

As such, I have never heard of the Dingo being referred to as an 'alien' species before - likely no more 'alien' in practice than indigenous Aborigines here. It is thought that Thylacines existed on mainland Australia until around ~2000 years ago. It is also thought that Dingoes (though probably in concert with Aborigines at the time) exerted pressures that led to their almost certain extinction on the mainland.

The whole ancient history of Australia, it's changing climate, and evolution of native flora and fauna, including Megafauna, and the arrival and ongoing existence of first people's here is rather fascinating, and I think rather fluid and evolving in hypotheses and supporting facts.

The Marsupial Lion was certainly a carnivore, and it's cause of extinction is not precisely known ...... perhaps aborigines were responsible for one of the earliest extinctions of a carnivore? I don't think anyone truly knows for certain.

My own personal view is that Aborigines did have mild and slow impacts on this country in concert with the changing position of the continental plate and climate. This occurred over 10's of thousands of years, and so most species had time to adapt.

The situation since the arrival of White Man ~200 odd years ago has seen deleterious impacts exponentially rise as fast as a nose dive off a cliff! , as our recent extinction record shows.

Certainly this is when the genetic dilution of the established and stable Dingo genome started, and it is these feral domestic dog escapees that are regarded as 'alien'. Some researchers think this is so irreversible that the genetically pure Dingo is now actually (or inevitably) gone, and so is replaced by the concept of an 'evolving' Dingo. One of the difficulties in keeping hybridization out of the population is that currently one of the prime methods of differentiation between pure bred Dingoes and degrees of hybridization (as little as 10%) is to measure the cleaned skull of the animal - not a prescription for ongoing survival of the individual animal!

All in all a rather complex situation ......


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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 16:22   #13
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Sanga,

You are right that pressure on carnivores starts at the local levels - I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to live and raise children with Wolves, Lions, Tigers, Leopards etc bordering or in your village/home ..... and that is after having lived through having a Leopard jump onto the roof of my grass hut one night .....

I'm glad you're on the side of observable facts and modern science. As far as Australia goes, it's all there in the recent extinction record - including the Genocide of Tasmanian Aborigines ..... largest impacts due to 'Colonial' White Man and his antiquated ways - that's more a mindset than a skin type.

It is not necessary to prove that "alleged 'colonial thinking' is special to (European) empires of the modern era" since that is the only one relevant to this country, other than lessons of history not learned .... again.

Your "that's utter, anti-historical BS." statement is wildly emotive non-sense that's taken out of context from my paragraph you quote. If by "White people aren't special, other people have done the same before[irrelevant to Australia] and since." , you are referring to attempted Genocide of Tibetans by the Chinese, of various African ethnicities by each other (sponsored to greater or lesser extents by despots, foreign industrial/ military complex actors, and/or all manner of religious nutters), and/or the ongoing conflict of ancient Islamic Shia and Sunni factions, Putin with his expansionist manifesto and death squads and militias, etc ? , then yes, I agree, the heart of darkness of man is alive and well ..... unfortunately. And will remain so while ever it is not named. Hence my insistence with the non-pc sanitized version of the truth.

"Get over it." ????!!!!!! ....... I'm sorry, but I don't share your capacity, let alone desire to "get over" extinctions of our fellow lifeforms, let alone Genocide.

If I ever come across you in the Dreamscapes and the Spirit Realms I would be happy to teach you more, but going by your last post - that won't be anytime soon ......


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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 16:55   #14
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The Australian mass extinction event is still pretty heavily debated, but it does seem likely that humans played the most significant role, via a combination of habitat alteration via burning, and direct predation on large game (with the domino effect of losing those species causing other taxa to head to extinction. Recent studies show that changes in climate don't really match up with the extinction record in Australia

It's a pattern we see repeated in pretty much every place that didn't have a history of ancient human coevolution (North and South America, Madagascar, New Zealand and the South Pacific, Greek Islands).

That isn't to dismiss European colonialism and the horrors associated with that and the current messes it has left. I am just saying that the current 6th extinction didn't begin with the age of sail, and we shouldn't use conditions at that time as some sort of benchmark at what is and wasn't natural. Australia and many other places were already extremely modified by humans before Europeans arrived.
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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 17:29   #15
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
John,

It is thought that the Dingo's ancestors would (probably) have required human assistance to cross the small oceanic barriers that still remained even during the lowest of sea levels over the last ~12000 - ~3500 years or so.

Although after reading the rather lengthy Wikipedia article I get the impression that there is not a precise consensus amongst the expert scientists - anything is possible I suppose, and there are schools of thought that there was more than one particular instance of introduction of genes, though, from what I can understand (admittedly my head's still fairly spinning after reading that and a few other articles! :) there seemed to be a fairly homogeneous Dingo here as far back as ~3500 years ago.

As such, I have never heard of the Dingo being referred to as an 'alien' species before - likely no more 'alien' in practice than indigenous Aborigines here. It is thought that Thylacines existed on mainland Australia until around ~2000 years ago. It is also thought that Dingoes (though probably in concert with Aborigines at the time) exerted pressures that led to their almost certain extinction on the mainland.

The whole ancient history of Australia, it's changing climate, and evolution of native flora and fauna, including Megafauna, and the arrival and ongoing existence of first people's here is rather fascinating, and I think rather fluid and evolving in hypotheses and supporting facts.

The Marsupial Lion was certainly a carnivore, and it's cause of extinction is not precisely known ...... perhaps aborigines were responsible for one of the earliest extinctions of a carnivore? I don't think anyone truly knows for certain.

My own personal view is that Aborigines did have mild and slow impacts on this country in concert with the changing position of the continental plate and climate. This occurred over 10's of thousands of years, and so most species had time to adapt.

The situation since the arrival of White Man ~200 odd years ago has seen deleterious impacts exponentially rise as fast as a nose dive off a cliff! , as our recent extinction record shows.

Certainly this is when the genetic dilution of the established and stable Dingo genome started, and it is these feral domestic dog escapees that are regarded as 'alien'. Some researchers think this is so irreversible that the genetically pure Dingo is now actually (or inevitably) gone, and so is replaced by the concept of an 'evolving' Dingo. One of the difficulties in keeping hybridization out of the population is that currently one of the prime methods of differentiation between pure bred Dingoes and degrees of hybridization (as little as 10%) is to measure the cleaned skull of the animal - not a prescription for ongoing survival of the individual animal!

All in all a rather complex situation ......


Chosun
Nothing complex about it.

Australian immigrant people introducing Dingoes constituted introduction of an invasive alien species, whenever it occurred, full stop the end.

It wouldn't be surprising if several waves of immigrants brought several waves of pi-dogs with them to contribute to the breed's genetic heritage. As other people brought their own breeds of dog, the breed changed further, and its still going on.

Dingoes immediately on eluding their owners soon after arrival, began to have an effect on the environment and are prime suspects in the disappearance of certain native species.

Nothing to see here, move along...

John
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Old Wednesday 19th July 2017, 09:49   #16
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From the BBC today

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40638584



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Old Wednesday 19th July 2017, 16:54   #17
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Question

That's very interesting Andy - so quite ancient then, and ~3500 year old genetically stable Dingoes are relatively new 'pups' on the block! ....

Yet in that short (in evolutionary or geological/paleological epoch terms), the Dingo evolved (or had infused) quantifiable differences 'in the wild'. The howling, the notably different skull structure and the once a year breeding cycle (though with most beasties in Australia 'making hay while the sun shines' with back to back good seasons, I wonder if this is a hard and fast rule for Dingoes? - for example, I've seen Black Shouldered Kites raise 10! fledglings in 3 back to back broods over ~9 months .... 4, 3, and 3, after which I think the male went off to have a well deserved heart attack! :)

That's why I said to John it's a rather complex situation, there's no reliable way of telling a genetically pure Dingo from a first or more generation hybrid, save for measuring the inside of the dead Dingoes cleaned skull - highly illogical methodology for conserving a species!

Also, where do you draw the line? 98% pure? 95? 90? 80? other? If any of our Paleo scientists can shed light on the accepted scientific classifications of such dilutions I would be very interested ......

Because of this difficulty in identification separation, and the absolute impossibility of physical separation (at least on the mainland), I think the 'evolving Dingo' is largely here to stay. Average size /weight increases apart, I think the major risk and potential impacts come if a genetic dilution tipping point is reached and the Dingo starts breeding twice a year like the domestic dog (gone wild) genetically does .... there could be an explosion in numbers. Some may think the Dingo a bit of a non event, but I think several thousand years of genetic purity is reasonably remarkable in this modern age ....

I will never forget walking out the back of the Kanangra-Boyd National Park, and hearing this god unholy howling coming from the 'Wild Dog' Mountains - scared the living bejayzus outta me, I can tell ya! It sounded exactly like something from out of the movie 'The Grey' ....

Again, if any of our Paleo scientists can shed light on how Mankind and latterly, a humble dingo was able to supposedly wreak such havoc (extinctions) on indigenous Megafauna including fearsome predators like the Marsupial Lion https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsupial_lion in Australia, and yet Africa didn't suffer the same effects. I read the Megafaunal mass extinction summary here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megafauna , but I'm still struggling to come to terms with the magnitude of the difference between Australia and Africa ???? Neither had Guns, Germs or Steel ...... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns,_Germs,_and_Steel

I can't say that I totally buy the 'fire stick farming' bit https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire-stick_farming , if anything, to my mind fluctuations in frequency possibly occurred as a result of the disappearance of Megafauna, not as a cause .... Also I'm thinking that natural lightning induced conflagrations far outweighed the effects of man.

Can anyone scientifically explain the difference between our present day large macropod grazing conditions/ vegetation /adaptations and those of the Megafauna herbivores?

Also, is it possible that some form of large native carnivore still exists in the depths of the wilds? Or are giant feral cats the extent of it? http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....96#post3527496

Thanks.



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Old Wednesday 19th July 2017, 18:27   #18
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post

Again, if any of our Paleo scientists can shed light on how Mankind and latterly, a humble dingo was able to supposedly wreak such havoc (extinctions) on indigenous Megafauna including fearsome predators like the Marsupial Lion https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsupial_lion in Australia, and yet Africa didn't suffer the same effects. I read the Megafaunal mass extinction summary here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megafauna , but I'm still struggling to come to terms with the magnitude of the difference between Australia and Africa ???? Neither had Guns, Germs or Steel ...... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns,_Germs,_and_Steel
Not a "paleo scientist" but I can offer you the standard explanation for the phenomenon (which I've personally always found reasonably convincing). In Africa, man and megafauna co-evolved with the result that the latter "learned" (i. e., gradually acquired the necessary adaptations via the usual evolutionary processes) that we were dangerous and to keep out of our way. In Australia, the Americas etc etc, the situation was otherwise, the fauna in these places not seeing the invading humans as a threat--why should they having never encountered our species before?--and thus falling easy prey to them.
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Old Wednesday 19th July 2017, 21:42   #19
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Departing from the topic of Dingos and their questionable purity.

I think big vulnerability of Australian environment is often a sign of a degraded habitat which Europeans believe to be 'pristine habitat'. First naturalists in Australia encountered heavily modified landscape, where the vegetation has changed because of the use of fire, and most large herbivores and all big carnivores went extinct. Such habitat change in other continents would be called big degradation.

Perhaps interesting would be to try estimating how would pre-Aboriginal Australian vegetation look like, and try to let it re-develop in some reserves, together with release of tasmanian devils to some well delimited areas in mainland Australia. I guess it may result in more stable ecosystems and lower cost of conservation management. For example, maybe devils would partially kill feral cats and foxes, and give small marsupials a breathing space.
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Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 11:33   #20
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Another related article from the BBC today

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-40651473

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Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 12:33   #21
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Originally Posted by fugl View Post
Not a "paleo scientist" but I can offer you the standard explanation for the phenomenon (which I've personally always found reasonably convincing). In Africa, man and megafauna co-evolved with the result that the latter "learned" (i. e., gradually acquired the necessary adaptations via the usual evolutionary processes) that we were dangerous and to keep out of our way. In Australia, the Americas etc etc, the situation was otherwise, the fauna in these places not seeing the invading humans as a threat--why should they having never encountered our species before?--and thus falling easy prey to them.
On top of that, not only did the critters evolve alongside human hunting, but Africa as the birthplace of humanity also has had a very large number of diseases and parasites that also evolved alongside man, and which played a significant role in constraining human population growth for a considerable period of time.
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Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 13:05   #22
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
That's very interesting Andy - so quite ancient then, and ~3500 year old genetically stable Dingoes are relatively new 'pups' on the block! ....

Yet in that short (in evolutionary or geological/paleological epoch terms), the Dingo evolved (or had infused) quantifiable differences 'in the wild'. The howling, the notably different skull structure and the once a year breeding cycle (though with most beasties in Australia 'making hay while the sun shines' with back to back good seasons, I wonder if this is a hard and fast rule for Dingoes? - for example, I've seen Black Shouldered Kites raise 10! fledglings in 3 back to back broods over ~9 months .... 4, 3, and 3, after which I think the male went off to have a well deserved heart attack! :)

That's why I said to John it's a rather complex situation, there's no reliable way of telling a genetically pure Dingo from a first or more generation hybrid, save for measuring the inside of the dead Dingoes cleaned skull - highly illogical methodology for conserving a species!

Also, where do you draw the line? 98% pure? 95? 90? 80? other? If any of our Paleo scientists can shed light on the accepted scientific classifications of such dilutions I would be very interested ......

Because of this difficulty in identification separation, and the absolute impossibility of physical separation (at least on the mainland), I think the 'evolving Dingo' is largely here to stay. Average size /weight increases apart, I think the major risk and potential impacts come if a genetic dilution tipping point is reached and the Dingo starts breeding twice a year like the domestic dog (gone wild) genetically does .... there could be an explosion in numbers. Some may think the Dingo a bit of a non event, but I think several thousand years of genetic purity is reasonably remarkable in this modern age ....

I will never forget walking out the back of the Kanangra-Boyd National Park, and hearing this god unholy howling coming from the 'Wild Dog' Mountains - scared the living bejayzus outta me, I can tell ya! It sounded exactly like something from out of the movie 'The Grey' ....

Again, if any of our Paleo scientists can shed light on how Mankind and latterly, a humble dingo was able to supposedly wreak such havoc (extinctions) on indigenous Megafauna including fearsome predators like the Marsupial Lion https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsupial_lion in Australia, and yet Africa didn't suffer the same effects. I read the Megafaunal mass extinction summary here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megafauna , but I'm still struggling to come to terms with the magnitude of the difference between Australia and Africa ???? Neither had Guns, Germs or Steel ...... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns,_Germs,_and_Steel

I can't say that I totally buy the 'fire stick farming' bit https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire-stick_farming , if anything, to my mind fluctuations in frequency possibly occurred as a result of the disappearance of Megafauna, not as a cause .... Also I'm thinking that natural lightning induced conflagrations far outweighed the effects of man.

Can anyone scientifically explain the difference between our present day large macropod grazing conditions/ vegetation /adaptations and those of the Megafauna herbivores?

Also, is it possible that some form of large native carnivore still exists in the depths of the wilds? Or are giant feral cats the extent of it? http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....96#post3527496

Thanks.



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Well for starters, I doubt dingos played much role in the big megafaunal extinctions, largely because available evidence suggests that they arrived in Australia long after the first humans, so most likely most of the megafauna was already eradicated.

Secondly, there are two main routes that Humans probably snuffed the megafauna in Australia.

First, the larger the mammal, the slower the breeder (and this could have been even more enhanced for giant marsupials). If your a diprotodont that maybe only produces one offspring ever few years, it doesn't take much hunting pressure to result in negative population growth. And a good chunk of the megafauna probably would not have been terribly difficult to hunt. Again, a giant diprotodon doesn't have much in the way of defenses, nor were they particularly fast and agile Unlike on the other continents, Australian megafauna never really had to evolve ANY defense again cooperative pack endurance hunters.

Loss of several species of megafauna would have had ripple effects. First, large mammals are often keystone species that have a huge effect on their environment. They clear brush and open up habitat, preferentially feed on certain types of vegetation, spread the seeds of some species, and their dung provides important fertilizer. Wiping them out or just significantly reducing them can have a huge effect on the environment, something we have been seeing in Africa recently with the loss of elephants, and which has been used as an explanation for the Pleistocene loss of Arctic steppe habitat and Spruce Parkland, two environments that don't even exist anymore effectively. These environmental changes could have resulted in loss of other species.

The second main way proposed that humans could initiate megafaunal extinctions in Australia was through the spread of deliberate use of wildfire for hunting. Beyond just being a pretty destructive way of hunting and resulting in a lot of incidental mortality, continued use of fire can significantly alter the landscape. First, you burn up the topsoil and available nutrients for plant life, especially problematic given that Australia is geologically dead and nutrient poor compared to other continents. Secondly, fire tends to favor species which reproduce using fire, causing replacement by fire prone taxa and loss of the original flora (and even more wildfires). Repeated bouts wildfires can gradually cause desertification...which in turn can alter the local hydrology of an area and cause it to become even drier. As habitat alters, any water sensitive species or herbivores dependent on certain foliage will die off. The Geological record so far supports this above scenario playing out, and suggests that until relatively recently Australia was probably a much wetter and forested place than it is today.

As for why giant wombats went extinction but red kangaroos didn't? the simplest answer is one we see demonstrated on all of the other continents as well. Fast and/or hard to catch animals (which is a good description for Kangaroos) generally can survive a megafaunal purge
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Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 14:44   #23
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Well for starters, I doubt dingos played much role in the big megafaunal extinctions, largely because available evidence suggests that they arrived in Australia long after the first humans, so most likely most of the megafauna was already eradicated.

Secondly, there are two main routes that Humans probably snuffed the megafauna in Australia.

First, the larger the mammal, the slower the breeder (and this could have been even more enhanced for giant marsupials). If your a diprotodont that maybe only produces one offspring ever few years, it doesn't take much hunting pressure to result in negative population growth. And a good chunk of the megafauna probably would not have been terribly difficult to hunt. Again, a giant diprotodon doesn't have much in the way of defenses, nor were they particularly fast and agile Unlike on the other continents, Australian megafauna never really had to evolve ANY defense again cooperative pack endurance hunters.

Loss of several species of megafauna would have had ripple effects. First, large mammals are often keystone species that have a huge effect on their environment. They clear brush and open up habitat, preferentially feed on certain types of vegetation, spread the seeds of some species, and their dung provides important fertilizer. Wiping them out or just significantly reducing them can have a huge effect on the environment, something we have been seeing in Africa recently with the loss of elephants, and which has been used as an explanation for the Pleistocene loss of Arctic steppe habitat and Spruce Parkland, two environments that don't even exist anymore effectively. These environmental changes could have resulted in loss of other species.

The second main way proposed that humans could initiate megafaunal extinctions in Australia was through the spread of deliberate use of wildfire for hunting. Beyond just being a pretty destructive way of hunting and resulting in a lot of incidental mortality, continued use of fire can significantly alter the landscape. First, you burn up the topsoil and available nutrients for plant life, especially problematic given that Australia is geologically dead and nutrient poor compared to other continents. Secondly, fire tends to favor species which reproduce using fire, causing replacement by fire prone taxa and loss of the original flora (and even more wildfires). Repeated bouts wildfires can gradually cause desertification...which in turn can alter the local hydrology of an area and cause it to become even drier. As habitat alters, any water sensitive species or herbivores dependent on certain foliage will die off. The Geological record so far supports this above scenario playing out, and suggests that until relatively recently Australia was probably a much wetter and forested place than it is today.

As for why giant wombats went extinction but red kangaroos didn't? the simplest answer is one we see demonstrated on all of the other continents as well. Fast and/or hard to catch animals (which is a good description for Kangaroos) generally can survive a megafaunal purge
A very interesting and informative post. Many thanks.
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Old Thursday 4th October 2018, 17:22   #24
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Interesting sidebar. Now that more of the true history of the invasion and theft of Australia by Europeans is emerging, it seems there is a school of thought that the high levels of mortality of Indigenous Aborigines soon after arrival by the white man was not just due to displacement and murder, but also by the deliberate release of germ warfare. Specifically, small pox.

Regarding the Dingo, there are samples of remains from ~350 years ago which will be sent for DNA testing, with the aim of conserving the dingoes genetic purity.
https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/techa...Mjr?li=AAwmrQf




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Old Thursday 4th October 2018, 18:01   #25
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Regarding your previous post: theory that Europeans deliberately released smallpox to kill natives in Australia plainly lacks any grounds. Not there is anything 'emerging'; for the ideological debates has being going on long enough to receive a name 'history wars'.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...x_in_Australia

Regarding dingo, I am surprised why no genetic research is done on dogs in southern Asia which are the recent ancestors of dingos. They can be potential source of 'pure dingos' if such a thing exists and is worth having.

However, more sensible than debating 'is dingo native' may be reintroducing Tasmanian Devils to some dingo-free reserves in mainland Australia. Devils are certainly native, themselves endangered, and proven to control numbers of foxes and cats.

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