For hundreds of millions of years, large vertebrates (megafauna) have inhabited most of the ecosystems of our planet. Nevertheless, coinciding with the beginning of human civilization (especially during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene), the Earth experienced an episode of rapid increase in the extinction of these large terrestrial vertebrates. Now we begin to understand the dire consequences that the loss of these animals is causing in natural ecosystems. Many of its ecosystem functions have been lost...
In this video, we show the impact that the loss of megafauna can have on other organisms with which they interacted, as is the case of plants that disperse their seeds enclosed in fleshy fruits. We also draw attention to the ecological consequences of the continued decline of large vertebrates.
We recommend reading these works to better document this problem:
Dirzo, R., Young, H. S., Galetti, M., Ceballos, G., Isaac, N. J., & Collen, B. (2014). Defaunation in the Anthropocene. Science 345: 401-406.
Galetti, M. et al. (2017), Ecological and evolutionary legacy of megafauna extinctions. Biological Reviews doi: 10.1111 / brv.12374
Pires MM, Galetti M, Guimarães PR, Jordano P (2018). Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions and the functional loss of long-distance seed-dispersal services. Ecography onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ecog.03163/abstract
Pires MM, Galetti M, Donatti CI, Pizo MA, Dirzo R, Guimarães PR (2014). Reconstructing past ecological networks: the reconfiguration of seed-dispersal interactions after megafaunal extinction. Oecologia 175: 1247-1256.