Humans may have driven Ancient Mastodons into `Civil War´

Humans may have driven ancient mastodons into ‘civil war’ by Staff Writers Ann Arbor, Mich. (UPI) May 7, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Humans may have played a part in the disappearance of mastodons after the last ice age by hunting and killing the most dominant males, a U.S. researcher says.

Killing the biggest males for food would have left younger males engaged in pitched battles to replace them, violent affairs that could have affected the normally stable animal societies, University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher said.

He cites as evidence puncture wounds from tusks and smashed bones found in fossils of female mastodons.

Similar affects can be observed in modern elephant populations when poachers kill the large male bulls that keep younger males in line.

Humans may have had the same effect on mastodons, Fisher said.

“Humans were the main driver of extinction, but when you look deeper into the complexity of that something very interesting starts to appear,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“The social structures of these animals were severely degraded as a result of the loss of mature males and in my view forms part of the extinction process,” he said.

He emphasized the analogy with modern elephants.

The normal structure of elephant society is one where the old bulls keep the younger males in check,” he said. “When the big bulls are pulled out of the picture, all hell breaks loose.”


Environment..Garbage in Paradise:

 Inside the MaldivesTrash-Only Island.Thilafushi, the Maldives’ garbage dump, has been called a ‘toxic bomb in the ocean.’

 By Jon BowermasterMay 28, 2012

 A worker looks for metal scraps in the smoldering trash of Thilafushi, the Maldives Islands’ garbage-only island. (Photo: Hani Amir/Flickr)..Out of sight, out of mind is generally the rule of thumb around the globe when it comes to the garbage we create every day. No matter how religious we might be about recycling, invariably each one of us is still responsible for filling a garbage bag or two each week, which then gets sets out on the curb, and—poof!—magically disappears.

Thilafushi is repository to all of the trash from the 100 islands that host tourist accommodations. In supersized nations like the United States, Canada, Russia, or Germany, landfills are usually hidden from view (out of sight, out of mind) but in small island-nations like the Maldives, entire islands have been turned into dumps. The name of the Maldivian rubbish island is Thilafushi. It sits just four miles off the main island of Male and is distinguished by the thick black smoke rising from it all day long. To reach the trash-only island, you pass Prison Island (to hold miscreants and scofflaws) and Apartment Island (to hold the country’s ever-expanding human population).

On Male, rocked recently by a presidential coup, more than 100,000 people live squeezed into one-and-a-half-square miles. Despite the cramped space on an island in the heart of the Indian Ocean, theirs is a modern existence, with cars and motor scooters, apartment buildings, shopping malls, markets and government offices. Nearby, Airport Island is connected by a flotilla of floating taxis. All of this living produces a lot of garbage. Rather than sink it to the bottom of the sea (which I’m sure was the practice not so long ago), it is now all boated to Thilafushi, which is today completely covered in trash.

 Sadly, a poisonous fog hangs over what might have been just another of the 1,200 gorgeous Maldivian islands. This one is a faux island, though, created in 1992 to hold the country’s garbage. Today it receives 300 to 400 tons of trash each day.

Please, read whole article  at HuffingtonPost: