State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Mysterious Demise of an Australian Thunder Bird

Genyornis newtoni, one of the great "thunder birds" of Australia, went extinct about 50 thousand years ago, for reasons that are still not clear. Image: Ann Musser @ Australian Museum.
Genyornis newtoni, one of the great “thunder birds” of Australia, went extinct about 50 thousand years ago, for reasons that are still not clear. Image: Ann Musser @ Australian Museum.

 

Here, mankind and death coincide,

But everyone’s still mystified …

Geologists find

This thunder bird’s kind

Were lost as Australia dried.

 

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Further reading:

Hydrological transformation coincided with megafaunal extinction in central Australia, Cohen et al. (2015) Geology

Drying lakes linked to extinctions, Nature

 

This is one in a series of poems written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

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