The lost elephants of Brazil
While Nova Xavantina, Mato Grosso, Brazil , last week I gave a couple of lectures, one on "the lost elephants of the Brazilian cerrado", freshly inspired by our recent megafauna conference. I pointed out how recently huge elephants roamed the landscapes of Brazil, and how different the vegetation and its ecology probably was then (elephants love destroying trees), and speculating whether the closed woody "cerrado" savannas of Brazil are a legacy of megafaunal extinction 10-15,000 years ago, and what "ghosts" of the elephants remain in the ecology of the region today. Somebody brought in a few bones that had been found in a farm in the region. The fact these were BONES, not lithified fossils, really brought it home how recent this was. We made a little science video summarising the talk, which can be seen here:
The lost elephants of Brazil (click here)
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Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University