Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Clovis-age Overkill Didn't Take Out California's Flightless Sea Duck

Date:
March 18, 2008
Source:
University of Oregon
Summary:
Clovis-age natives, often noted for overhunting during their brief dominance in a primitive North America, deserve clemency in the case of California's flightless sea duck. New evidence says it took thousands of years for the duck to die out.

Clovis-age natives, often noted for overhunting during their brief dominance in a primitive North America, deserve clemency in the case of California's flightless sea duck. New evidence says it took thousands of years for the duck to die out.

Related Articles


A team of six scientists, including Jon M. Erlandson of the University of Oregon, pronounced their verdict in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (online, March 13) after holding court on thousands of years of archaeological testimony taken from bones of the extinct sea duck uncovered from 14 sites on islands off the California Coast and 12 mainland sites from southern California northward.

Erlandson and his co-authors from California Polytechnic State University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) demonstrated that humans first hunted the flightless sea duck (Chendytes lawi) more than 10,000 years ago, but the bird persisted until about 2,400 years ago. Their findings that Chendytes survived more than 7,500 years of human predation are based on the first radiocarbon dating of Chendytes bones from six coastal archaeological sites.

Erlandson and colleagues, along with UO alum Don Grayson, now a University of Washington archaeologist, suggest that the drawn-out road to the ducks' extinction raises serious questions about the "Pleistocene over-kill theory" that the Paleoindian Clovis culture rapidly hunted numerous large mammals and other animals to extinction on their arrival in the Americas in the late Pleistocene.

The ducks' lifestyle served them well for millennia, the researchers noted. Many of the birds nested on the Channel Islands off the California Coast, where few predators existed before humans arrived. After seafaring Paleoindians colonized the islands about 13,000 years ago, however, Chendytes may have been driven to smaller and more remote islands. Human population growth, the development of increasingly sophisticated watercraft, and the introduction of dogs and foxes to the islands probably put greater pressure on the birds. Eventually, the flightless duck, like great auk in the North Atlantic, had no place to run.

The five co-authors with Erlandson, an archaeologist in the UO department of anthropology, were: Terry L. Jones (corresponding author), head of social sciences at California Polytechnic; archaeologist Judy F. Porcasi and Thomas A. Wake of UCLA's Cotsen Institute of Archaeology; H. Dallas Jr. of CAL FIRE; and Rae Schwaderer of CDPR. The paper, published online in advance of regular publication, is available on the PNAS Web site. (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0711140105v1.pdf)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oregon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oregon. "Clovis-age Overkill Didn't Take Out California's Flightless Sea Duck." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317150150.htm>.
University of Oregon. (2008, March 18). Clovis-age Overkill Didn't Take Out California's Flightless Sea Duck. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317150150.htm
University of Oregon. "Clovis-age Overkill Didn't Take Out California's Flightless Sea Duck." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317150150.htm (accessed April 17, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, April 17, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cleaners Find Ancient Peru Mummy

Cleaners Find Ancient Peru Mummy

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 15, 2015) Cleaners in Peru stumble across an ancient mummy mysteriously dumped near rubbish in the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
388 Unidentified Pearl Harbor Victims To Be Exhumed, ID'd

388 Unidentified Pearl Harbor Victims To Be Exhumed, ID'd

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2015) The Department of Defense is exhuming the unidentified remains of 388 servicemen who died on board the USS Oklahoma in 1941. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manuscript by Nazi Code Breaker Alan Turing Sells for $1 Million

Manuscript by Nazi Code Breaker Alan Turing Sells for $1 Million

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Apr. 13, 2015) Alan Turing&apos;s notebook containing the foundations of mathematics and computer science sells at auction for $1,025,000 (USD). Roselle Chen reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Replica Cave Showcases Artistry of Stone Age Man

Replica Cave Showcases Artistry of Stone Age Man

AFP (Apr. 10, 2015) A replica of a cave in the Ardeche, in southern France will be opened Friday to give visitors the chance to see cave paintings produced around 36,000 years ago. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins