Title

Investigating Anthropogenic Mammoth Extinction with Mathematical Models

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

One extinction hypothesis of the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), called overkill, theorizes that early humans overhunted the animal. We employ two different approaches to test this hypothesis mathematically: analyze the stability of the equilibria of a 2D ordinary differential equations (ODE) system and develop a metapopulation differential equations model. The 2D ODE system is a modified predator-prey model that also includes migration. The metapopulation model is a spatial expansion of the first model on a rectangular grid. Using this metapopulation system, we model the migration of humans into North America and the response in the mammoth population. These approaches show evidence that human-mammoth interaction would have affected the extinction of the Columbian mammoth during the late Pleistocene.