Humans ‘off the hook’ for African mammal extinction


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MICHAEL LONG/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Artwork: The extinct Hippopotamus gorgops was bigger than modern hippos, reaching lengths of 4.3m

New research has disputed a longstanding view that early humans helped wipe out many of the large mammals that once roamed Africa.

Today, Africa broadly has five species of massive, plant-eating mammal; but millions of years ago there were many more types of giant herbivore.

Why so many types vanished is not known, but many experts have blamed our tool-using, meat-eating ancestors.

Now, researchers say the mammal decline began long before humans…

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