Humans 'drove ancient turtles to extinction'

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London, Aug 17 (ANI): Researchers have discovered that an ancient species of giant turtle was driven to extinction by humans in the Pacific almost 3,000 years ago.

The Australian megafauna species were driven to extinction by settlers on an island of Vanuatu.

However, University of New South Wales researchers said the giant turtles were alive when people known as the Lapita arrived in the area about 3,000 year ago.

They found the turtle leg bones, but not shells or skulls, which they said suggested humans played a role in the extinction.

The scientists believe that the amphibians were hunted for their meat.

"This is a remarkable find, and adds the horned tortoises to the list of charismatic megafauna that has gone extinct in Australasia and the Pacific during the Holocene," The Telegraph quoted Dr Arthur Georges, an expert on the evolution of turtles at the University of Canberra, as saying.

The study was reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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