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Ancient giant turtle driven to extinction by humans

Humans were responsible for driving an ancient giant species of turtle to extinction almost 3,000 years ago.

It is one of the first cases that clearly shows that humans played a role in the demise of the giant, extinct animals known as “megafauna”.

An Australian research team discovered turtle leg bones – but not shells or skulls – on an island of Vanuatu.

The bones date to just 200 years after humans’ arrival, suggesting they were hunted to extinction for their meat.

However, the turtles lived far longer than other megafauna – which included the famed woolly mammoth; while Australian megafauna is thought to have died out almost 50,000 years ago, it appears that these turtles survived for far longer – until the arrival of a people known as the Lapita.

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