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WikiProject Animals (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject iconMegafauna is within the scope of WikiProject Animals, an attempt to better organize information in articles related to animals and zoology. For more information, visit the project page.
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Comment - the bot assumes that disambiguation pages have no useful content, which is not true in this case. WolfmanSF (talk) 00:15, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Clovis Comet Hypothesis[edit]

Can somebody add information to this article about the hypothesis regarding the "comet event" or whatever it is called? It may not be widely accepted but it is held by some legitimate academics, rather than crackpots and seems to be worth a link to the wikipedia page that describes it. (talk) 03:01, 26 February 2010 (UTC)\

A sentence mentioning various theories of the cause of the extinctions has been added. WolfmanSF (talk) 06:10, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Introduction to the article[edit]

The second paragraph of the introduction to the article starts like this: "Megafauna animals are generally K-strategists, with great longevity, slow population growth rates, low death rates, and few or no natural predators capable of killing adults. These characteristics make megafauna highly vulnerable to human exploitation."

I'm not a biologist, so please forgive me if this is obvious, but I don't understand the causal or logical connection between the characteristics mentioned in the first sentence and the conseqence named in the second sentence. Could someone elaborate or revise? PeterJ 09:18, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Sorry for the delay in replying; general questions you may have better luck with the reference desk: WP:RD. To answer, however, slow growing species take a long time to recover from overexploitation. Quickly reproducing species tend to have a high natural mortality and shorter lifespans. Hunting of quicly reproducing species often works a bit better, since the individuals removed are more likely to have already reproduced, and leaving only a few indivuals is enough to repopulate the stock in a short time. --TeaDrinker 13:12, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

"In the last case, they may be further subdivided into " the last case describes uo to 250kg not over this does not make sence.-- (talk) 09:22, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

My recent changes[edit]

I reverted to the 100 lb threshold, which appears to be the standard usage. I also split out North American megafauna into a separate article, this should be done with all of the lists. The way, the truth, and the light 08:04, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

If this is indeed the case, and not exactly being a biologist as such I really wouldn't know, should humans be included in the list after all? I couldn't find an article on this site listing our species' average adult weight (surprising, honestly! the article "human" lists average adult heights, but not weights), but I imagine it's at least a hundred pounds. (Which renders the term "megafauna" absolutely ludicrous, I feel; 100 lbs doesn't seem like a reasonable threshold for use of the "mega" prefix to me, but that's of course just my personal opinion.)-- 08:31, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I'll have to look around for a citation, but I think 44kg was commmonly used by Paul Martin, who first proposed late Pleistocene overkill as the cause of extinction in N. America. I recall 100kg also being used, which for NA late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions makes little difference, but would be very important for this list.
Splitting the lists out into seperate articles is a great idea, although the articles should probably be titled "List of..." It will also be a huge task to make them complete. See my proposal below. --TeaDrinker 13:19, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

100 lb is way way too tiny, i think that megfauna should refer to thungs like elephants, or walruses, it seems way too small, so it would include things like dogs. Which are not megafauna. -- (talk) 18:03, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

No doubt you have good reasons for your opinion, but out of practical necessity the definition(s) used in the article need to be the one(s) most common in the scientific literature. WolfmanSF (talk) 20:50, 12 April 2012 (UTC)


I propose removing the lists entirely from the article. A few examples are fine, perhaps, but at present, even in their woefully incomplete state, they dominate the article. Perhaps they could be moved to List of Pleistocene megafauna of Africa or similar, but they need a lot of work in their completeness. Any objections, thoughts or concerns? --TeaDrinker 13:03, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

This article is going totally in the wrong direction. Megafauna is not a term in alpha taxonomy. A canonical and complete list of members is neither possible nor interesting. Meanwhile, the stuff that is interesting, such as the cultural and economic importance of the concept, is ignored. I strongly agree with TeaDrinker's proposal. Hesperian 11:30, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree... I dislike these listified articles that seem to exist only for the sake of listing things at best, and to shoehorn 'controversial' items into well-established groups at worst. It almost reminds me of one of those awful "In popular culture" articles. Dinoguy2 09:35, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, exactly what's the proposal? I've said that ultimately the lists should be separated into other article, as I did with North American megafauna already. I do not think the lists should be deleted entirely. The way, the truth, and the light 02:40, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
How are geese included in megafauna??? Is this vandalism? Must be a real sicko to vandalize a megafauna article.Ndriley97 (talk) 22:08, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Why isn't the Komodo Dragon listed under Oceania? It's much bigger than a goanna. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:34, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
IDEA! I have worked on the megafauna section for a while (you may have noticed my work). Do you think there could be a page for all megafauna in general? You know... divided taxonomically. I feel this system can be much easier to use than listing megafauna by habitat/continent.


I proposed merging Charismatic megafauna into this article. The idea that megafauna are disporportionately funded, studied or presereved is an interesting one which should be included in this article. I don't see how they are conceptually different ideas which need different articles. Thoughts? --TeaDrinker 01:33, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Oppose. The further reading section of the article on charismatic megafauna makes it abundantly clear that it is a distinct concept with a distinct definition and has been the subject of distinct studies. I can't see any basis for a merger. Hesperian 01:36, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I don't really care where the information is, so long as it is somewhere. It was previously added to this article, then marked dubious and challenged on the talk page, survived until 25 April when it was removed, then was recreated as a separate article, survived AfD after I added a further reading section proving it to be a concept worthy of study, then merged back into this article, reverted, and now proposed for merger. It has become quite tiresome. Hesperian 01:45, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
I apologize for stepping on toes and generally blundering around. I had not seen the prior controversy, and did not realize it had previously been in this article. I do think Charismatic megafauna as an idea is important to include in Wikipedia (as an ecologist (student), I certainly think it is a commonly discussed and well established concept). But I guess I think we should not seperate out every interesting aspect of megafauna into seperate articles. -TeaDrinker 01:51, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem with your actions; my apologies for being snarky over it. Hesperian 01:55, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Oppose. At least until we agree on the purpose of this page. It seems right now to be mainly an index or list of megafauna. In that case, North American megafauna should probably be merged back in, once all the other lists are done to the same standard. The extinct Pleistocene megafauna (which was actually the first use of the term) already has its own page (two pages, actually, but I proposed their merger). If charismatic megafauna remains split - which it should as it is a distinct use of the term - then this page is left with the definition of megafauna, generalisations about them (which are not numerous, obviously), and those lists. The way, the truth, and the light 02:06, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Support - I agree that we need to sort out these articles. I have marked up List of megafauna recently discovered to be merged into here. My view is that this article should pull the various issues with megafauna together, hence the merge in of Charismatic megafauna, but that a separate article List of megafauna should be created. BTW Australian megafauna should be considered in any rationalisation of Pleistocene megafauna. BlueValour 22:56, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
I just added to this article by summarizing the charismatic megafauna and Pleistocene megafauna articles. If we can agree on a format, List of megafauna recently discovered should probably be merged into the list of megafauna. The way, the truth, and the light 23:17, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Charismatic megafauna[edit]

This issue seems to have gone back and forth with several reverts (see [1]). I don't quite see, given the above discussion, the reason for not at least mentioning charismatic megafauna; it seems entirely possible someone would come here looking for information on it. There should, it seems to me, also be a link to the main article on late Pleistocene extinctions. Given the discussion here on the talk page, I didn't see another side, but am interested to hear the reason for the other version. Thoughts? --TeaDrinker 07:20, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

There is a link to Pleistocene megafauna already, in the section Recent extinctions. By the way, there's also a stub article Pleistocene extinctions which should probably be merged also. The way, the truth, and the light 07:27, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Giant Penguins![edit]

I just heard a thing on NPR about finding fossils of five foot tall Penguins in Peru. Wouldn't this qualify? Murderbike 19:12, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

And the Giant beaver of North America. However, comprehensiveness of lists is not prominent among the problems of this article. Jim.henderson 19:08, 14 August 2007 (UTC)


Seems to me most of this article shouldn't be an article at all, not even a list article, but a category. With something like 200 items, a single level category would become a bit crowded, but a second level for half a dozen geographic/taxonomic subcats would take care of it all and a dozen would not necessarily become too sparse. Then with most of the length of this article gone, merge the mergeable articles into, for example, a charisma section. Jim.henderson 19:08, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

A list of megafauna is problematic in all kinds of ways, & a category would be a helpful way of alleviating a lot of the problems with it, & pruning an opening for actual growth of encyclopedic content. Colour me convinced. --mordicai. 20:11, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
All right, I made Category:Megafauna as subcat to Zoology, and placed this article in it, along with one neglected megabeast. Come to think of it maybe the cat belongs as a subcat to Category:Animals instead, since "Megafauna" isn't taxonomic or climatic or even geographic or otherwise a scientific classification, despite being a popularly interesting class. Anyway I won't start the rest of the plan for another 15 or maybe as many as 25 hours, giving anyone the chance to squawk first that the endangered megalistic article must be saved from habitat destruction.
The rest of the plan is something like, create a subcat for Category:African megafauna and put a bunch of African beasts in it. Some hours later, delete them along with their subsection from the Megafauna article. Some other day, down the alphabet or some other order with Asia and whatever. Later do the same to the North America article. Probably take me more than a week unless someone thinks it should be faster and joins in. Rufous megalinkia I'll probably simply delete, on ground that if it were truly much bigger than User:Y or otherwise interesting, it would be a blue link already. Anybody think all or some of this scheme is a large or small error in the making? Jim.henderson 00:50, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Category:Megafauna of Africa is made and filled. A few species didn't make the cut because I thought them too small to be Mega. I mean, if you're only thrice as big as me, I don't think of you as Megafauna, so my cutting line is ordinary adult a quarter ton. Vague lines between different kinds of tons and different kinds of ordinary create a fuzzy zone where I give points if you hunt and eat people, or died out in the past few million years, or are on the edge of doing so, or are otherwise remarkable. I also omitted some because they're just a variety or a very close species like, only one gorilla article made the cut, and even that animal fell in my fuzzy zone and got through by favoritism that would not be given to, say, a big deer that stumbled into the fuzz. Probably a few Megas just slipped through the cracks in my mind. Several live or lived in other continents, and went to the parentCategory:Megafauna. Anyway my plan is to get some sleep and do other things for twenty hours or so, and then cut everyone out of the Africa section. Then go to work on the Eurasia section or the oceans or wherever. Unless a few people scream, "Stop, you're bringing the Megas to ruin!" or something. Jim.henderson 00:53, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

The category 'megafauna' is fine but I'm not sure they should replace lists like this. I know I seldom use categories.
Anyway, your list is subjective - as you just admitted above, you arbitrarily decided which animals should be 'megafauna'. If you are using a threshold of 500 pounds, why is Secretary bird on the list?
I restored the list in this article. I would like this to be worked out, so if there's a consensus on making this into a category, OK - but please keep the objective threshold. I would discourage such a change, though; for one thing, categories don't allow listing the scientific name and whether it's extrinct, as we do in the current list. The way, the truth, and the light 19:59, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Drat. Not to be angry, but it's slightly late. I asked, and someone said yes, and I waited, and nobody squawked, and I started, slowly, and took a couple days to fill the African category, and then deleted the Africa section list a few days after the proposal. And now comes the objection. All right; one squawk brings me screeching to a halt. Well, with a pace alreadly like a tortoise it's not much a screech.
Yes, the class of megafauna has no more scientific basis than those of draft animal, pet, or vermin. Maybe less. Like those, it is an interesting class with no scientifically dictated boundaries. Unlike those, what is interesting about this class is not what they do, but how they impress people. For example, there isn't as big a market for TV shows about Sturgeon or ocean sunfish as about Great White Sharks because one is not big and other not violent, so only the last tears people into little shreds and makes viewers gasp. Now, if someone wants to set a precise boundary, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but we should bear in mind the difficulties it may present to the purposes of the class. For one thing there's the idea already discusssed of which individuals are ordinary. Then there's the question of where the boundary is. 45 Kg is as small as my teenage niece, and of thousands of species of antelope, deer, fish, kangaroos and other critters. Any attempt to be comprehensive with such a definition will fill an article many times larger than this one.
As for who thought the secretary bird was a good addition yesterday, I haven't the foggiest notion. That's the thing about a category; it doesn't have a door where a doorkeeper can easily stand with a broom and shoo away every pufferfish that pokes its face in and wants to pass itself as a grouper. Certainly I won't take the job. Generally what happens to popular categories is they become teeming with vermin until someone comes along with a machete and chops away the excess, as I did this spring with Category:Telecommunications and intend to do with Category:Telephony one of these days.
So one alternative I can think of is the North America approach, hiving off every continent (and other broad habitat) into its continental megafauna list article. Like the category approach, it leaves this article clear for sections about charisma and island ecology and the Pleistocene and other aspects of the topic. I'd be glad to hear of other proposals. What I'd rather not hear is a few people who say yes, it must change somehow but no, not this change and not that change and not the other change. I mean, if that's someone's opinion, then they shouldn't hesitate to make me unhappy, but I'll be unhappy. This weekend I've got lots to do, for example Delta-sigma modulation where there's a snit about someone grabbing credit for another editor's work, and a British family of defunct electronic telephone switches whosy family pictures are in disarray, and the trolley lines of Brooklyn, and a bunch of others. So, this weekend I shan't press for progress on Megafauna, but hope that in a couple days there will be a clear consensus. Please squeak up, anybody who thinks they've got a good idea, or a relevant opinion of the old ideas. Jim.henderson 01:26, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
OK. That's what I was thinking of before, and I have now done it. I have all these pages watched so I can see any incorrect or inappropriate additions (which is not possible with categories). The way, the truth, and the light 14:05, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

A definition[edit]

This article has been without a cited definition of megafauna from a reputable peer-reviewed scientific source for far too long; I've found and added one, which uses 250 kg with further bands of 'small megafauna' (250-500 kg), 'medium' (500-1,000 kg) and large (over 1,000 kg). I've removed the old unreferenced idea of "100 pounds", which is patent nonsense; first and foremost, because no scientist would ever base a definition on such stupid crap, but also because it is such a low bar that even quite small animals are included. The "100 pounds" idea was likely first thought up by some scientifically illiterate newspaper journalist to 'wow' children with; I can't see that it has any credibility justifying its inclusion here. The various spin-off articles 'List of Xxx continent megafauna' need to be checked over to remove animals that don't meet the grade. - MPF 09:51, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

The 100 lb (44 kg) threshold was stated by Paul Martin, who first introduced the word. It is quoted in many scientific as well as popular sources (as can be verified by Google). It also makes more ecological sense than 250 or 500 kg; for example, it includes almost all bovids, which fill similar ecological roles. You're right that the list articles include some that don't even meet the 100 lb definition; I'll try to remove those.
Google gives about 3 times as many results for megafauna + 100 pounds/lb as for 500 kilograms/kg, which in turn is twice as many as 250 kilograms/kg (I looked at both versions of each). Your evident prejudice against the English/Imperial system caused you to jump to the wrong conclusion, it seems. The way, the truth, and the light 19:07, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
It is one thing to point out that definitions may vary; that, and adding additional cited definitions (as I have now searched for and done), is fair. But you do not revert verified cited material; that is considered vandalism. - MPF 12:33, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Accusing me of 'vandalism' is definitely incorrect (and uncivil); it is clear that the purpose of my edits was to clean up by standardising the definition. On the other hand, your attempts to remove English units from Wikipedia are vandalism, as they clearly aren't attempts to improve encyclopeic content but only to import your personal prejudices. By the way, the source that you cite to say that no specific figure should be chosen acknowledges 44 kg as the standard definition.
Also, 44 kg is actually an error, as 100 lb converts to 45.4 kg, rounded to 45. I don't know how 44 kg became the cited figure but it's clearly wrong; your 40 kg is probably also an error, or just a further rounded equivalent (also improper as 45.4 is closer to 50 kg). The way, the truth, and the light 15:25, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

What are your opinions on the constant addition of certain birds as megafauna? I personally follow it, but you guys may not really consider geese, macaws, toucans, and hornbills as true megafauna. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Major Overhaul 22 Nov 2008[edit]

I found the article in a very messy condition with the "article requires cleanup" template.

I reworked it completely as best I could. There's an inherent problem here of such radically varying definitions of what megafauna actually means. I tried to put this in context of how the term is in practice more commonly used -- rather than giving specific weights as everyone has a different one. (There's even a dictionary definition of megafauna as "non-microscopic fauna" which I added, but specified is not discussed in this article.)

It still needs references, expansion/addition of sections about megafauna, not just defining them (ecological position, etc.).

I put in a "section needs cleanup" template for the Examples section.

It should be majorly cleaned up and reorganized to include a limited number of archetypical examples (extinct and living) -- and probably just focusing on the "classic" very large animals. It's really pretty pedantic and useless to list dogs here, don't you think, especially when only the largest dogs meet any definition of megafauna. In general if you want to be comprehensive and include every scholar's possible definition of a minimum size — well then there's the definition of megafauna in opposition to microfauna, and you can list every visible animal species : )

Likewise, the Australian contingent has gone a bit overboard -- just a few antipodeans will do, and again in the noticeably pretty big category.

I removed the echidna (from the running text and the Examples) as it is not megafauna and no one contends it is. The issue in the research that was cited is that megafauna-ness may not be the primary factor in the Holocene extinction -- but this is an article about actual megafauna, not animals exterminated in the Holocene extinction regardless of size.

BindingArbitration (talk) 10:19, 22 November 2008 (UTC)BindingArbitration

I have negative further time to spend on this, but it occurs to me that ecological niche is a very important subject, or even one possible defining factor of megafaunaness. The "classic" megafauna is so big it is largely or entirely protected from predation (elephants). The "wanna-be" megafauna like moose are large, but still get chomped on at will by grizzlies. In any case these ecological positions of megafauna are one of the subjects that could be discussed further -- on the essential and not yet mentioned subject of why they get so big... BindingArbitration (talk) 10:35, 22 November 2008 (UTC)BindingArbitration

something fishy here[edit]

The sections furry megafauna and color megafuana strike me as likely vandalism, yet I do not know what they are supposed to be. Assistance is requested on this matter. Googlemeister (talk) 19:07, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Afd of all "List of...Megafauna" articles.[edit]

I am submitting all of the following lists:

...for deletion - on the grounds that they are unencylopedic. The term "megafauna" (as explained in this rather excellent article) is vague, open to interpretation and has at least one meaning (any creature visible to the unaided eye) that would make the lists above require LITERALLY millions of entries (most of which would be species of beetle!) in order to stand any chance of being complete.

My problem is that if someone sees that animal X is included on one of these lists and animal Y is not - they are going to come away with the impression that the term "megafauna" has a cutoff somewhere between the size of X and that of Y - and that X is DEFINITELY a megafauna because it's on the list - and Y is not a megafauna because it's not on the list. That's just wrong - it is a flat out untruth to place either X or Y onto the list or to leave either of them out. Furthermore - given the vagueness of the term, it will be impossible to provide references for the vast majority of species that might properly be considered because nobody who writes on the subject is using a hard-and-fast rule for the naming.

Since no DEFINITIVE list is possible - we should not attempt to create half-assed lists just because we can.

I would cite the fate of Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of supercars as 'case law'. That list was removed because the term is ill-defined - and the exact same problem exists here.

SteveBaker (talk) 22:03, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

As you can see from the sea of redlinks above, the AfD decision was a 'Delete'. SteveBaker (talk) 03:45, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I would like to point out that the above-referenced lists have been moved to my namespace, in case anyone wants to work on them. While I agree that the lists were not in good shape, and in fact contained may inappropriate entries, the problems cited above as "fatal flaws" are in my view minor flaws that can be addressed in simple and obvious ways. A working definition for megafauna (e.g., species with average adult body masses greater than 100 pounds) can be described at the beginning of a listing. If a list is incomplete (which is likely to be the case), that can also be mentioned at the outset. The difficulty or impossibility of creating a definitive list is something that most people familiar with biology can deal with. WolfmanSF (talk) 20:44, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Standard definition underemphasized[edit]

Right now the standard definition (100 lbs/44 kg, or sometimes 50 kg) is hard to find, buried in other stuff. It should probably be emphasized more. The main other use is to refer to the 'Pleistocene megafauna' - if used in a context of extant animals it does usually mean the 100lb/44kg definition. (And yes, that does include humans, as it should. The average size of mammals is about that of a rat...)

BTW, is there a cite for using "megafauna" for "not needing a microscope"? "Macrofauna" is the standard term for this (though in practice it is often defined by inability to pass through a sieve of a certain mesh size - in soil and seafloor science). I'm adding "however, the standard term for this is macrofauna", but if we can't find a cite this statement should go. Even if it's been used this way once or twice, it's wildly nonstandard and just adds confusion - especially since there is a perfectly good term "macrofauna" for the purpose. Vultur (talk) 10:41, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Alright, a Google Scholar search shows that it *is* used for "macroscopic animals" but only for benthic life. This has been clarified in the article. All other uses fall into: a few of charismatic megafauna; many, often about the Pleistocene megafauna where no size limit is explicitly stated, but the organisms mentioned (red kangaroo and sea turtles) make it clear that the standard 100 lb/40 or 45 kg definition is used; and some explicitly giving the 100 lb/40 or 45 kg definition. For non-benthic life, the 100 lb/40 or 45 kg standard is clearly the overwhelming majority (though it's usually used in context of the Pleistocene extinctions). Vultur (talk) 10:38, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Regional lists of megafauna[edit]

The addition of regional lists of megafauna to this page is inappropriate. While it is useful to list a few notable and/or interesting examples, and to have an image gallery as well, that is as far as the listing should go. Regional lists can go into the archived articles on my user page subpages. Note that the megafauna list articles were removed from Wikipedia mainspace in part because of issues related to the definition of megafauna that have yet to be addressed. WolfmanSF (talk) 03:38, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree, this page certainly doesn't need to host lists of all megafauna arranged by region. That's simply impractical. T.carnifex (talk) 09:24, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

examples of megafauna[edit]

This examples of megafauna portion of the article seems to keep growing, and is already 1513 of the 2130 words in the article. Does anyone strongly object to trimming this back a fair amount? Googlemeister (talk) 19:36, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

How about we start by trying to hold the line here? The list has grown recently, due to an understandable tendency to try to fill in gaps (phylogenetic, geographic, ecological and temporal), which are now mostly filled, in my view. (The additions may also be in part a response to the deletion of a series of "list of megafauna" articles, which were filled with inappropriate examples. At least the examples here are appropriate.) I don't think this article should replicate too much of the largest organisms or largest prehistoric organisms articles, but this would be a weaker article without examples. The examples do serve to illustrate some evolutionary/biogeographic trends and patterns involving megafauna. WolfmanSF (talk) 06:33, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Extinct giant humans as Megafauna.[edit]

I edited the article to include Homo Heidelbergensis among the list of Megafauna animals in the primate example section because:

1. Humans, and their Hominid descendants are animals.

2. These archaic humans in South Africa were considerably larger and taller than modern and ancient man, (routinely up to 20 to 30% taller)(1) and the term Megafauna (large animal, or "Giant" animal) can be used in a strictly scientific sense to describe these primitive early "giant", "very large" or "large" humans just as it can describe the "Giant" short faced bear, which was up to roughly 30% taller than the average Kodiak and Polar bears of today.

3. The article seems to suggest this is allowable by saying, "This thus includes many species not popularly thought of as overly large, such as white-tailed deer and red kangaroo, as well as humans." It then goes on to list red kangaroo among the Mega-Fauna animal examples, therefore I see no reason why mega, or giant forms of early man cannot also be included in the selection of examples, just below Gigantopithecus.

Concerning Homo Heidelbergensis:

(1) The species was tall, 1.8 m (6 ft) on average, and more muscular than modern humans. According to Professor Lee R. Berger of the University of Witwatersrand, numerous fossil bones indicate some populations of Heidelbergensis were "giants" routinely over 2.13 m (7 ft) tall and inhabited South Africa between 0.5 million and 300,000 years ago.

-- (talk) 01:02, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

The idea that there was once a giant population of Homo heidelbergensis in southern Africa is quite intriguing. Unfortunately, the only source I see for this idea is an interview with Professor Berger, in which only a brief discussion is devoted to the subject. I'd like to hold off on adding this to the list until we have more and better sources, including peer-reviewed scientific publications. If you can find any such publications, please mention them here. Thanks, WolfmanSF (talk) 03:40, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

The human evolution source book Russell L. Ciochon, John G. Fleagle - 2006 pg. 394.

"...In Chapter 51, Chris Ruff and colleagues discuss "Body Mass and Encephalization in Pleistocene Homo." Using new regressions based on femoral head diameter and skeletal dimensions, they find that from the early Pleistocene through the upper Paleolithic, extinct populations of Homo were much larger in size than modern people — some middle Pleistocene hominids were truly giants, with estimates of nearly 100 kg (220 lb) for fossils from Berg Alkas (Berg Aukas) or Bodo. Moreover, this large body size shows no geographic pattern. These estimates agree with other estimates based on cranial dimensions (Kappelman, 1996; Aiello and Wood, 1994)."

Primate adaptation and evolution John G. Fleagle - 1999 pg. 536.

"Many of the better-known crania of H. heidelbergensis are enormous. This was a very large species of hominid, with estimated body sizes of roughly 100 kg, based on orbit dimensions (Kappelman, 1996) and postcranial remains (Grine et al., 1995; Ruff et al., 1997).

Washington, Jan. 13, 2005 PRNewswire: After following Erectus over centuries, scientists determined to solve the mystery stumble across yet another new human experiment, but this man is much larger than any they have found so far ... he is Goliath. While scientists are tracking Flores Man in the Pacific and Erectus traveling north, remains of the superman Goliath are found across southern Africa. And they all lived on earth during the same moment in time. "These are humans, at least human ancestors, that are bigger, much more robust, much more strongly built than we are," said Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist in South Africa. "We can say with confidence that the Goliath we're reconstructing was the largest human ancestor that ever lived. At least that we have found so far." And the search continues as everyday new discoveries are changing the way we think about how we became human. "Human evolution is like the ultimate game of survivor, except the loser gets voted off the planet," said Berger. "Search for the Ultimate Survivor" is produced for the National Geographic Channel by National Geographic Film and Television. -- (talk) 07:38, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the sources, they're quite interesting. I think we can add a mention of archaic Homo, although in general I'm trying to hold the line against further additions to the already lengthy list. WolfmanSF (talk) 00:44, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Comet Impact May Have *Created* Many Megafauna Species Due To Laschamps Geomagnetic Excursion 40kya[edit]

There is compelling evidence to suggest that the Laschamps excursion affected climate change in a dramatic way. There is evidence within the ice core data of Berellyium-10 spikes which suggest a surge in cosmic radiation. A loss of the magnetic field for a short period could have led to a loss of the ozone layer for example, allowing a surge of new solar radiation which then led to surge of mega-flora. I'm sorry that I don't have references to hand, but I hope some others may take this lead. (talk) 13:52, 17 December 2011 (UTC) Alan Lowey Dec17 2011.

There might be a relationship between geomagnetic excursions and climate, but what connection does this have to megafauna? WolfmanSF (talk) 21:11, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

There's a lot of unexplained phenomena at around 40,000 B.P. For example, the siberian mammoths which are found preserved in the permafrost in standing positions with buttercups still in their mouths. The fact that carbon dating itself is only reliable upto 40,000 years ago is a possible consequence of such a new mega-comet event imo. At lot of megafauna went extint at 40,000 B.P, such as the hippo-sized Diprotodon of Australia, the largest marsupial of all time. It's too much of a coincidence imo, and early man couldn't have wiped out an entire continent of the species in such a short space of time. (talk) 10:20, 20 December 2011 (UTC) Alan lowey

We are all entitled to our own opinion, but a lot of scientists think early man could have easily wiped out the Australian megafauna in a relatively short time. WolfmanSF (talk) 18:26, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The correlation between human expansion across North America and the rate of extinction may become the subject of increasing scrutiny. Very recent evidence, such as man made structures & tools outdating estimates on the expansion timeline. Currently research is being hindered for studying these phenomena of ancient man on the grounds of possible obstructionism claimed by local governments. I'll expound on this in months to come. Howlor (talk) 20:10, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Be aware that you will need to support your statements with citations of reputable sources. WolfmanSF (talk) 22:55, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Amazonian TreeTop Spider Monkeys Fully Participated In Pleistocene Megafauna[edit]

Quote from a deleted webpage: "The skull of Caipora bambuiorum, one of the two complete primate skeletons recovered from Toca da Boa Vista. It closely resembles the living spider monkey, but is more than twice the size, suggesting that South American monkeys participated fully in the mega-faunal phenomenon of the last Ice Age. Frontal view of the crania of Protopithecus (left) and Caipora (right), both from Toca da Boa Vista. They resemble living South American monkeys that inhabit the top levels of the tropical forest canopy, but they were significantly larger than any living species. Further exploration of Toca da Boa Vista hopefully will yield more primate species that also were quite large compared to modern monkeys." The photos of the cave and the more than twice size spider monkey bones was fascinating. I still have a copy I printed out incidentally. This evidence points towards an increase in insolation, which would have produced the mega-fruit sizes which enabled the monkeys to reach such large sizes. I assume that the solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface then depleted to our current levels. Is there any other explanation anyone can think of?? (talk) 10:29, 20 December 2011 (UTC) Alan Lowey 20 Dec

It's interesting (but not surprising) that there were larger Neotropic monkeys in the Pleistocene. However, at less than 100 lb., they were not large enough to be considered megafauna for the purposes of this article. WolfmanSF (talk) 18:23, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Okay, but don't you think it's surprising that no fossils were found before hand? These are the only ones. Big bats too amongst others. I proposing that they only went mega-size relatively recently, after the 40kya Lachamps excursion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:20, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

In order to show they only went mega-size relatively recently, you'd need a fairly extensive fossil record with good dates. I don't think we have that. By the way, this is really not the place to propose unconventional new theories. WolfmanSF (talk) 02:06, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Okay, thanks, sorry about that. But I think this statement seen when googling 'megafauna' is a piece of the climate/megafauna puzzle; "It seems that every type of animal on earth grew to giant sizes two, 20, or even 40 million years ago--witness the Giant Wombat, the Giant Beaver and the Giant ...". Best wishes on such an excellent web page and excellent site. (talk) 11:32, 22 December 2011 (UTC) Alan Lowey

Extinctions Of Megafauna In Step With Supernovae And Ice Age Epochs[edit]

James Marusek has an interesting table of data which features megafauna extinctions, ice age epochs and supernova. A mechanism he suggests is terrestrial comet impacts for the extinctions. THE COSMIC CLOCK, THE CYCLE OF TERRESTRIAL MASS EXTINCTIONS (talk) 10:47, 5 January 2012 (UTC) Alan Lowey

This theory, as least as applied to the end-Pleistocene extinctions, makes very little sense. First of all, no correlation of climate with extinctions is evident. Secondly, an extraterrestrial trigger should cause a worldwide extinction pulse, when what we see are a series of discrete regional extinctions at different times, with some regions little affected. I don't buy it. WolfmanSF (talk) 01:38, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Ahh, you've missed the possible alternative for the end-Pleistocene extinctions, i.e. that a non-baryonic comet went through the oceanic crust 'like a knife through butter'. A disruption of the earth's mantle would greatly reduce the geomagnetic field, hence the Laschamps excursion. The local impact site effects plus the effects of a reduced magnetic field is what could have given us such a complicated picture of megafauna extinctions from 40kya imo. (talk) 16:01, 6 January 2012 (UTC) Alan Lowey

Correlation is not causation. We know that after the Last Glacial Maximum, temperatures fluctuated by up to 16 degrees (Cooper 2015) as the planet warmed. Imagine being designed for "summer" temperatures of around 10 degrees of a day, with a thick coat and little means of keeping cool, with the temperature then climbing up to 25 degrees of a day for years at a time. Plus we know the last mammoth departed on Wrangle Island only 4,500 years ago (i.e. when the ancient Egyptians were building pyramids), so we would need to know why those survived well after the comet event but others did not. It also does not explain why some megafauna survive today - the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, horse etc. Regards, William Harristalk • 20:25, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

File:Indricothere CAS.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Merge to Largest Organism[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result was do not merge. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 01:48, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Should this page Megafauna, merge to Largest organisms? (talk · contribs) suggested this at Wikipedia:Proposed mergers. Please comment below. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 21:28, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

No, Largest organisms is basically a list of the largest species of various taxa (including plants, fungi etc). This article is a discussion of large (primarily > 100 lb.) animals only, and is intended to discuss their biology, evolution, extinction, ecological role, etc. (it does contain a list of examples, but this is not restricted to the largest examples of their respective taxa). I think there is a major distinction between the two articles. WolfmanSF (talk) 22:34, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
Also, Largest organisms is a rather long article at this point, so it makes little sense adding more content to it. WolfmanSF (talk) 06:39, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Oppose merge. The proposal directly contradicts the split proposal in the target article. --Ancheta Wis (talk) 20:37, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Oppose merge. They are separate, distinctive topics. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 01:48, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Aegirocassis benmoulae[edit]

A newly published finding in Nature, discussed at Science mag. This filter-feeding arthropod is thought to have been the largest animal of its time. Should be a worthy addition to the article. LeadSongDog come howl! 18:09, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Ecological strategy[edit]

Regarding the recent revert by User:WolfmanSF with a summary of "surely they would not have been able to take down an adult mammoth - this is not the place to advertise a specific megafauna-related article". That is your assumption. We know that two of the Beringian wolves tested were Mammoth specialists i.e. they only ate mammoth. "Two full-glacial (23,000–18,000 years BP) wolves were found to be mammoth specialists but we cannot tell if this was due to scavenging or predation."[1] My change read "and few natural predators capable of killing adults" and that remains a situation, because this article is about megafauna and not about adult mammoths. Please answer the following questions: "Do you dispute that megafaunal wolves predated on megafauna, including large adult megafauna?" "If yes, then why?" William Harristalk • 20:11, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Fox-Dobbs et al. only say that 2 out of 82 wolf specimens examined had a diet that was ≥ 50% mammoth (≥ 50% is their definition for dietary specialization). This does not allow one to conclude that they were capable of taking down healthy adult mammoths; they may have scavenged or preyed on juveniles. So, I don't see the justification for changing "few or no natural predators capable of killing adults" in the article to "few natural predators capable of killing adults". WolfmanSF (talk) 00:53, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
The two specimens were mammoth specialists during the full-glacial period - all 82 wolves were not from the same time period. Perhaps these did simply scavenge or prey on juveniles - we don't know and you have no citations to support that position. In fact, the entire section has no citations to support itself. I trust that will be addressed soon, else this section will be going the same way as the mammoth. William Harristalk • 04:15, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
It is obviously impossible to know. No citation could allow one to conclude that they preyed on healthy adults, and it is clearly implausible to suggest that they might have. In any case, this is a moot question; we know perfectly well that in the present time adult elephants, hippos and the larger species of rhinos are not normally vulnerable to predators. Your aggrieved posture does not make sense. In order to support your edit, one would have to believe that no megafaunal species in geological history has ever been free from predation as adults. WolfmanSF (talk) 05:28, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
In addition, since the discussion is not limited to megaherbivores, we also know that contemporary adult orca are not subject to predation. WolfmanSF (talk) 07:23, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
  1. ^ Fox-Dobbs, K.; Leonard, J. A.; Koch, P. L. (2008). "Pleistocene megafauna from eastern Beringia: Paleoecological and paleoenvironmental interpretations of stable carbon and nitrogen isotope and radiocarbon records". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 261 (1–2): 30–46. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.12.011.

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Categories deleted[edit]

The Megafauna categories have all been deleted, following consensus at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2017_December_26#Category:Megafauna. In closing that, I suggested that category:Megafauna should not be re-created without first seeking consensus to do so, including consensus about future sub-categories, at a WP:RFC.

Here is a link to the diffs, to facilitate building of lists instead. However, if anyone starts creating lists called "megafauna", as opposed to titles like Category:Lists of largest animals, then they will need to provide citations to justify including the animals in the list. – Fayenatic London 08:45, 25 January 2018 (UTC)

I was not notified of the discussion. I think the categories could have been retained if someone had thought of the simple expedient of stating on each category page whcih definition of "megafauna" was operative for that category (e.g., weight over 100 lb.) and then pruning out listings that did not fit. We have thousands of categories relating to people and other subjects for which there are no definitions. WolfmanSF (talk) 07:36, 26 January 2018 (UTC)
You may want to add Wikipedia:WikiProject Animals/Article alerts to your watchlist. It was notified there automatically, see its Archive. Lists are better than categories where the scope is subjective or arbitrary, see WP:OCAT. – Fayenatic London 23:04, 27 January 2018 (UTC)
As it happens, there used to be a series of megafauna lists, which the deletionists got rid of (I have to admit, they were not in great shape). They are preserved in my user space. WolfmanSF (talk) 06:13, 28 January 2018 (UTC)

Bush elephant[edit]

Comment - Weight confusion. I think in the sentence "The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) has a shoulder height of up to 4.3 m (14 ft) and weighs up to 13 tons." was meant to be "The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) has a shoulder height of up to 4.3 m (14 ft) and weighs up to 6 tons (13'000 lbs)." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:59, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

I updated the bush elephant weight and added a source, as per the species article. Maximum weight can be a lot greater than average. WolfmanSF (talk) 18:47, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

Potential revisions to the subsection titled "Consequences of megafauna depletion"[edit]

Hi Wikipedia community,

I plan to update the subsection about the consequences of megafaunal loss, as it currently lacks information about the impacts of megafauna on vegetation communities. The subsection discusses briefly the effects of megafaunal decline on nutrient transport and methane emissions; however, the ecological impacts of megafauna on vegetation composition, structure and diversity are well documented in the literature, and as such, would be appropriate for addition to this article. I plan to focus on a few primary mechanisms by which megafaunal activity, or lack thereof, can influence vegetation communities: 1) selective feeding behaviors, 2) seed/fruit dispersal of megafauna-adapted plants, and 3) physical alteration of the environment, including trampling, tree damage and removal etc. I will frame my discussion about megafaunal impacts on vegetation communities using information from both contemporary and paleoecological studies. Please see below a list of selected sources that I will draw upon while drafting this section:


Bakker, E.S., Gill, J.L., Johnson, C.N., Vera, F.W., Sandom, C.J., Asner, G.P. and Svenning, J.C. 2016. Combining paleo-data and modern exclosure experiments to assess the impact of megafauna extinctions on woody vegetation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(4): 847-855.

Johnson, C.N. 2009. Ecological consequences of Late Quaternary extinctions of megafauna. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1921.

Rule, S., Brook, B.W., Haberle, S.G., Turney, C.S., Kershaw, A.P. and Johnson, C.N. 2012. The aftermath of megafaunal extinction: ecosystem transformation in Pleistocene Australia. Science 335(6075): 1483-1486.

Gill, J.L. 2014. Ecological impacts of the late Quaternary megaherbivore extinctions. New Phytologist 201(4): 1163-1169.

Gill, J.L., Williams, J.W., Jackson, S.T., Lininger, K.B. and Robinson, G.S. 2009. Pleistocene megafaunal collapse, novel plant communities, and enhanced fire regimes in North America. Science 326(5956): 1100-1103.

Guimarães Jr, P.R., Galetti, M. and Jordano, P. 2008. Seed dispersal anachronisms: rethinking the fruits extinct megafauna ate. PloS One 3(3): e1745.

Janzen, D.H. and Martin, P.S. 1982. Neotropical anachronisms: the fruits the gomphotheres ate. Science 215(4528): 19-27.

Campos-Arceiz, A. and Blake, S. 2011. Megagardeners of the forest–the role of elephants in seed dispersal. Acta Oecologica 37(6): 542-553.

Zaya, D.N. and Howe, H.F. 2009. The anomalous Kentucky coffeetree: megafaunal fruit sinking to extinction?. Oecologia 161(2): 221-226.

Waldram, M.S., Bond, W.J. and Stock, W.D. 2008. Ecological engineering by a mega-grazer: white rhino impacts on a South African savanna. Ecosystems 11(1): 101-112.

Sandom, C.J., Ejrnæs, R., Hansen, M.D. and Svenning, J.C. 2014. High herbivore density associated with vegetation diversity in interglacial ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(11): 4162-4167.

Guldemond, R. and Van Aarde, R. 2008. A meta-analysis of the impact of African elephants on savanna vegetation. Journal of Wildlife Management 72(4): 892-899.

Haynes, G. 2012. Elephants (and extinct relatives) as earth-movers and ecosystem engineers. Geomorphology 157: 99-107.

Owen-Smith, N. 1987. Pleistocene extinctions: the pivotal role of megaherbivores. Paleobiology 13(3): 351-362.

Doughty, C.E., Faurby, S. and Svenning, J.C. 2016. The impact of the megafauna extinctions on savanna woody cover in South America. Ecography 39(2): 213-222.

Zimov, S.A., Chuprynin, V.I., Oreshko, A.P., Chapin III, F.S., Reynolds, J.F. and Chapin, M.C. 1995. Steppe-tundra transition: a herbivore-driven biome shift at the end of the Pleistocene. The American Naturalist 146(5): 765-794.

Brown, J.R. and Archer, S. 1988. Woody plant seed dispersal and gap formation in a North American subtropical savanna woodland: the role of domestic herbivores. Vegetatio 73(2): 73-80.

Thanks! JamaicaPaleoProject (talk) 00:09, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

This sounds like an excellent plan, and no doubt there a number of additional types of megafaunal loss consequences that could be described as well. WolfmanSF (talk) 00:14, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback! JamaicaPaleoProject (talk) 00:29, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

"there's no rule against pictures in the main text area"[edit]

- understatement of the year! This article badly needs more of these, and is probably against policy, and certainly against normal good style, in not having them. See WP:IG, part of Wikipedia:Image use policy: "Images are typically interspersed individually throughout an article near the relevant text (see WP:MOSIMAGES). However, the use of a gallery section may be appropriate in some Wikipedia articles if a collection of images can illustrate aspects of a subject that cannot be easily or adequately described by text or individual images. About 2% of articles at the English Wikipedia use galleries." The policy does not envisage a page like this, with several screens of text and only 3 images in the main text (2 until I was allowed to add one yesterday), but 36 images in 2 galleries. It is especially a pity when there are so many great images on this subject. Johnbod (talk) 16:51, 11 April 2018 (UTC)

I don't disagree that the article could use more images. However, there are several issues with the edit you wanted to make. 1) It would tend to disrupt the current organization of the article. 2) In the past, there have been editors who were very enthusiastic about adding continually to the list of examples, while other editors complained and pointed out (correctly) that this is not supposed to be primarily a list article. To resolve that conflict, I've tried to cap the number of examples and images of examples, and discourage the addition of more. The current article organization is intended, in part, to aid in maintaining those caps. WolfmanSF (talk) 21:21, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
It doesn't need more images - 39 is a number some (but not me) would consider to be too high already. But they need to be in the right places, which is with several spread around the text in the usual way, not all of them corralled together in galleries at the end of a pretty long article. There is no effect on "the current organization of the article" text. Why would there be? You asked me to link to the relevant policy, and I have. Johnbod (talk) 01:34, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
I was referring to the section of the article you complained about, not the article as a whole. Also, there is no policy against the image distribution you complained about; what you're talking about is typical usage, and you overlooked the "near the relevant text" aspect in some cases. As I've already pointed out, the need to discourage addition of additional examples and images of such is a feature of this situation that the description of typical usage does not take into account. The person who will have to deal with that can of worms, if it arises again, will more likely be me than you. WolfmanSF (talk) 19:08, 12 April 2018 (UTC)