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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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4/27/2006 Extinction of ice-age mammals topic of lecture

McMINNVILLE – Donald Grayson, professor of anthropology at the University of Washington, will speak on "The Extinction of North America's Ice-Age Mammals" Thursday, May 4, at 7 p.m. in the Austin Reading Room of Nicholson Library at Linfield College.

Grayson, a noted anthropologist specializing in the zooarchaeology of Pleistocene North America, will speak about the importance of climate change in understanding the megafaunal extinctions of North America. The number of large mammals that became extinct in North America at the end of the late Pleistocene, about 10,500 years ago, is staggering. Among some 35 different kinds of animals that disappeared from the fossil record were mammoths, mastodons, camels, horses, giant ground sloths and bears.

The "overkill hypothesis" – that newly arriving human hunters were the primary cause of these species' demise – was first put forward more than a century ago and has been widely accepted for the past 30 years. But it does not always square with the known facts. Understanding what caused the extinction has implications for conservation biology.

Grayson holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Oregon, and has been on the UW faculty since 1983.

The lecture is sponsored by the Linfield College Department of Sociology and Anthropology. For more information, call 503-883-2286.