Sunday, October 2, 2022
Contact    |    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon  
You are viewing: Home > News > Palaeontology > News story
Welcome Guest ( Login or Register )  
Palaeontology

Cows could end up as world's largest mammals

By T.K. Randall
April 21, 2018 · Comment icon 27 comments



Large mammals have been disappearing for a long time. Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Public Library of Science
Scientists have warned that cows could eventually become the largest remaining mammals on Earth.
In a new study, University of New Mexico biologist Felisa Smith and colleagues outlined the possibility of a future in which all mammals larger than a cow will have gone extinct due to human activities.

"The only time being big is bad is when humans are involved," she said. "We are efficient predators and have been for a really long time, so there's not a value judgment here, it's just what hominids did."

The extinction of larger mammals is a pattern that has been continuing for thousands of years with numerous large mammal species, such as the woolly mammoth, falling by the wayside.
Today, the largest land mammal is the elephant and this, too, is at risk of disappearing.

"There is a very clear pattern of size-biased extinction that follows the migration of hominims out of Africa," said Smith.

The study found that around 125,000 years ago, mammals in human-populated regions of the world were already 50 percent smaller on average than those in areas that mankind hadn't reached yet.

"We suspect this means that archaic humans and other hominins had already influenced mammal diversity and body size," said study co-author Kate Lyons.

Source: Independent | Comments (27)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #18 Posted by Saru 5 years ago
86% of those surveyed in China supported a ban on ivory trading in an effort to save the elephants: https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/consumers-in-china-widely-support-upcoming-ivory-ban-but-awareness-is-low-largest-ever-ivory-consumer-survey-finds# That's another 20% of the world's population. Need I continue ?
Comment icon #19 Posted by Black Monk 5 years ago
The Chinese are people who still keep animals in captivity to provide entertainment and keep dogs and cats in tiny little cages in markets. I don't think they've suddenly become as concerned about animal welfare as that biased poll makes them out to be. I rather suspect that if elephants suddenly disappeared completely, the vast majority of China's 1.4 billion inhabitants and the world's 7.6 billion inhabitants wouldn't give two hoots. Most people have far more pressing concerns.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Saru 5 years ago
What you mean is that you wouldn't give two hoots. I'm sure the vast majority of people will be conscious of such a loss, one way or another.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Likely Guy 5 years ago
As you say you "speak for most people" I'm sure that you must be able to supply a link to a study or poll that would confirm your assertion.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Sameerr 5 years ago
That is sad. (  The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book ? ~ David Attenborough )
Comment icon #23 Posted by MySummerJob 4 years ago
I thought this was going to be a light-hearted topic saying that cows were evolving into something huge... However, this reality (like always) is just depressing.
Comment icon #24 Posted by RabidMongoose 4 years ago
I`m sorry but a warning is in order and you should be ashamed of yourself. I expect the largest animal I ever eat a burger from to come from a cloned mammoth not a gigantic bovine. I want my mammoth burger!
Comment icon #25 Posted by Hammerclaw 4 years ago
That could be kind of scary.                                                                      
Comment icon #26 Posted by jmccr8 4 years ago
You had me going there for a minute, I thought I would have to get a bigger pail and use a step ladder. jmccr8
Comment icon #27 Posted by Tom the Photon 4 years ago
Same here - I imagined science had found a way to breed them bigger and bigger to solve world-hunger with stakes and beefburgers.  Or - given the amount of methane they produce daily - stick a cork up their bums and watch them inflate to elephant size. This is more akin to vandalism - smash up your neighbours cars until you can boast "mine's the fastest car on our street".  We humans have wreaked so much damage to nature and the planet that the least we can do is stop killing off entire species for no good reason.  (Even mosquitoes serve an important role in food chains.)  I've never seen a bl... [More]


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


Our new book is out now!

The Unexplained Mysteries
Book of Weird News

 AVAILABLE NOW 

Take a walk on the weird side with this compilation of some of the weirdest stories ever to grace the pages of a newspaper.

Click here to learn more

We need your help!

Support us on Patreon

 BONUS CONTENT 

For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can gain access to a wide range of exclusive perks including our popular 'Lost Ghost Stories' series.

Click here to learn more

 Total Posts: 7,335,574    Topics: 301,888    Members: 198,395

 Not a member yet ? Click here to join - registration is free and only takes a moment!
Recent news and articles