A Simulation of Anthropogenic Columbian Mammoth Extinction
Arts and Sciences
Mathematics and Statistics Department
The cause of the extinction of the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) and other species of megafauna during the end of the Pleistocene epoch is unknown. The current proposed hypotheses are climate change, disease, a meteor impact, and overkill. In this study, we used mathematical modeling to test the overkill hypothesis first proposed by Paul Martin in 1973. The overkill hypothesis claims that early humans migrating from Asia, through Beringia, and into North America hunted the majority of the continent’s megafauna to extinction. Previous research has been conducted on the overkill hypothesis for the Columbian mammoth using a continuous differential equations model. We improved on this work by developing a computationally more efficient and more realistic discrete stochastic model. Most model parameters were obtained directly from the literature; migration parameters were calibrated to the model. Our results provide evidence in support of the overkill hypothesis.
Klapman, Matthew, "A Simulation of Anthropogenic Columbian Mammoth Extinction" (2017). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 623.
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