Megafauna simply means large animals. These are found in all geographical regions of the world. The weight limit of megafauna is more than 40 kg or more than a ton.
In practice, however, larger-than-human, untamed land animals are megafauna. It is applied to the largest existing natural species. For example, monkeys, elephants, rhinos and hippos.
Fascinating large plant and animal species that attract many people are known as charismatic megafauna. They can easily understand them. The giant panda, lion, humpback whale, gray wolf and bald eagle are some of the most famous animals in the world.
These animals are often used by environmental activists in conservation campaigns because they can appeal to a larger audience. Most organizations use these animals as their symbol. For example, the World Wildlife Fund uses the panda in its logo.
There is a high number of large animals becoming extinct. Animals evolved independently in an era when there were no human habitats. Human intervention caused the extinction of the megafauna.
Early humans hunted these large animals to feed their families, which reduced their numbers. Also, larger predators may have been killed to protect themselves from attack. The changing climate and atmosphere was another reason for their extinction over the years.
There were 50-foot-long alligators, wild otters as big as wolves, and many more. The following are examples of some of the large megafauna that lived millions of years ago.
These megafauna appeared during the Pleistocene. At the end of the Pleistocene, large birds, mammals and reptiles died out during the Quaternary Extinction Event.
Various factors such as changes in living conditions, climate change, disease and food web disruption are believed to have contributed to the modern extinction of megafauna.
Recent studies have come up with the excessive hypothesis responsible for the extinction of the population. According to this theory, human domination was the main cause of the extinction of these animals during the Pleistocene. People began to hunt animals for food and protection. Little by little, the animals died out.