2m-tall giant kangaroo Procoptodon goliah
This of course was always obvious to anyone who wasn't stupid.
But we have a lot of clever people who, when it comes to issues of race and the environment, are very stupid indeed.
Aborigines have been romanticised as being these other-worldly and saintly guardians of the "sacred" environment. Some idiot at one point said they trod every inch of this continent and yet disturbed nothing.
Which can only prompt the question, "what the fuck were you smoking?"
I don't subscribe to this idealisation of aborigines. I prefer to see them as normal human beings with all the strengths and failings that we all possess. They were not some kind of environmental saints who lived in perfect harmony with nature and who were somehow different to other people.
This is the fantasy view that white urban middle class people have projected onto them for their own purposes.
Aboriginal people have been reduced to being tools for their own quasi-religious beliefs about nature, and dehumanised in the process.
Now while this recent study focuses exclusively on the extinction of the giant kangaroo Procoptodon goliah, it is absurd to think that somehow the Australian experience was any different to any other part of the world when modern human beings first arrived.
Modern humans always had a devastating impact on newly colonised areas with their combination of intelligence and the use of tools, including those used for hunting.
They changed their new environments completely.
It surely can't be a coincidence that the timing of the disappearance of mega fauna throughout the world just happens at the same time modern human beings arrive in a place for the first time?
While much has been made, rightly, of the influence of natural climatic changes in Australia, especially the progressive drying out of the continent, many of the plants and animals that disappeared thousands of years ago would still be with us today if humans hadn't arrived here tens of thousands of years ago and begun hunting and burning the landscape.
And the burning of land to maintain it as open grassland and promote the increase of favoured game animals has had a profound effect in changing the nature of the flora and fauna of Australia.
It is fair to say that what the British found when they first settled this land was what was left after the aborigines had finished with it, and settled into a balance with what remained.
Certainly natural fire events would have increased and preferentially favoured eucalypts over other types of plants less well adapted to fire, but the sheer frequency of fire in the landscape had much to do with the deliberate use of it by aborigines.
This changed everything forever.
Now we've had our part to play in this. We have worked our own changes on the environment too. The first settlers in the east of the continent report plants such as vines of various types that simply don't exist any more.
But let's get rid of our romantic delusions about primitive tribal peoples. It is modern civilisation that actually cares for the environment, and which has the resources to do so.
This is why there is more forested land in the United States now than 150 years ago. It is wealthy enough and cares enough to be able to make the decision to fore go the use of otherwise productive land and let nature reclaim it.
People living on the edge of survival, and that is always the lot of primitive hunter gatherers, do not have that luxury. They must kill and burn and do what ever else is needed just to survive. Their survival has always been marginal and tenuous. And that has been the same story repeated everywhere there has been such people.