• Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

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Early humans may have wiped out many turtles millions of years ago

Our hominin ancestors wiped out many land-living turtle and tortoise species starting around 5 million years ago, an analysis of the fossil record suggests

Life 5 August 2022

A tortoise walking

Tortoises would have been easy prey for early humans

Zoonar/Fotofeeling/Alamy

Early hominins may have been wiping out other species long before destruction-causing modern humans evolved, according to changes in the fossil record. About 5 million years ago, land-living turtle species, including tortoises, started going extinct at a much higher rate than they had been, suggests a new analysis.

“Our finding… highlights how far back in time a negative hominin influence on biodiversity extends,” write Anieli Pereira, formerly at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and her colleagues.

Modern humans have had a …