The word "megafauna" refers to the collection of all kinds of animals with a mean body weight exceeding 44 kg. However, in reality the boundaries of the concept is rather arbitrary: thus, some researchers take the lower limit for the mass of 100 kg, some - 250, but the few who doubt that a giant eagle from New Zealand or the world famous dodo - also part of the megafauna.
For us, the greatest interest is the Pleistocene megafauna. Pleistocene (1, 8 million - 11 thousand. Years ago, in fact - to this day) - the era in Earth's history has been marked by several major events: the emergence of Homo sapiens, several periods of severe cold snaps ... and the extinction of most of the large animals around the world. Giants, who disappeared at the end of the Pleistocene era and which we now hardly ever see with their own eyes, and is dedicated to this post. Before you - 30 amazing animals that have disappeared over the last few thousand years, someone before, and someone - almost yesterday ... Almost all of them have seen with my own eyes the ancient people, they are the same in most cases, had a hand in their early extinction. 1. mammoths, elephants, mastodons
Proboscidea, the largest land animals of the Quaternary period, which are landscape-animals and brightest indicator of the health of biocenosis were distributed on four continents and a variety of offshore islands, and the diversity of species was not present in the sample. In our native Eurasia met woolly mammoth (genus Mammuthus), pryamobivnevy elephant (Palaeoloxodon), Stegodon (Stegodon) still alive and the Asian elephant. America was inhabited by two species of mammoths - woolly and Columbia, as well as the mastodon (Mammut americanum) and gompotery (Cuvieronius). In Africa, the current living African elephant, and even earlier, in the Early Pleistocene - several species, including Asian. Elephants who had moved to the isolated islands, eventually becoming ... dwarf; so happened to Stegodon Islands Flores and Sulawesi (Indonesia), mammoths on Wrangel Island (Russian) and Channel Islands (USA), elephants Islands of the Mediterranean (Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Cyprus, Malta, Crete and several Greek islands). The growth of these elephants sometimes barely reached 1 m ...
In the disappearance of the great diversity Proboscidea still have a lot of obscure; so, there is still an ongoing debate about the causes of extinction of mammoths in Siberia and the Arctic. Doubtless the activities of two factors - climate change and actively hunt ancient people. Different types of elephants on different continents disappeared respectively at different times: US - 8-10 thousand. Years ago, Eurasian - a little earlier. Dwarf elephants lived up to the beginning of the Holocene (the Greek island of Tilos - until about 2000 BC), just before the extinct mammoths on Wrangel Island; the last representative gompoteriev - Cuvieronius disappeared in South America supposedly to 400 AD
Woolly Rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) - second fame Pleistocene mammoth beast after. Its length reaches 3, 5 m, weight - up to 3 tons. The face he had two horns, the longest of which, front, sometimes reaching more than 1 m in length. An important feature of this type - a long thick coat of brown, like the mammoth, which allowed a rhino to survive in inhospitable for heat-loving animals of northern and central Eurasia. Woolly rhinoceros lived on the cold plains, known as "Mammoth Steppe" - in their place now noisy coniferous and deciduous forests. Extinct form of about 10 thousand years ago, and possibly later. As in the case of the mammoth, there are two main hypotheses disappearance northern rhinos: rapid climate change and excessive hunting of ancient man. Most likely, both factors affected ...
Far less known are two other possible contemporary ancient people - Elasmotherium (Elasmotherium, 3-4 species) and rhino Merck (Dicerorhinus kirchbergensis). Elasmotherium was truly a giant beast: height at the withers it reaches 2, 3 m, and weight - up to 6 tons! On his head was only one horn, but at length he could conceivably reach up to two meters. Rhino Merck was similar in size and woolly was also two-horned. Both of these animals became extinct before the woolly rhinoceros - perhaps not compete with them the same; but some researchers believe that the relict populations Elasmotherium Merck and rhinos survived until the end of the Pleistocene, and met with the ancient people.