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admiralturtleship t1_j9h2itn wrote

I just want to add that “megafauna” are not some long forgotten group of beasts that lived one JILLION years ago.

Megafauna still exist. In addition to blue whales, there are also less obvious examples like the moose.

Megafauna were common as recently as ~15,000 years ago, but saw a sudden decline due to a warming climate and human predation.

Your ancestors coexisted with megafauna and did not consider them separate from other animals (as far as we know). Many (not all) of the extinct megafauna are literally just bigger versions of things we have now. On the flip side, many of the animals we have now are the smaller version of the animals they coexisted with.

For example: beavers. Prior to the arrival of humans in the Americas, there was a giant species of beaver that was able to construct much larger dams than the beavers that we have left. The beavers we have now are like “miniature” versions of those beavers.

The small beavers almost went extinct, too. No different than their larger cousins.


PeachSnappleOhYeah t1_j9hh0ob wrote

i just wanted to thank you and say your comment was extremely informative.

and also that coincidentally your mom's beaver is megafauna from a jillion years ago which is probably no different than her larger cousin's


Ehboyo t1_j9hsq5w wrote

I pictured you adding this with a dramatic half turn, before exiting a large chamber. - footsteps echoing.


Dirtroads2 t1_j9icu9u wrote

Suddenly I want to learn about these beavers....


MarcusForrest t1_j9ma2e5 wrote

🖼️ Casteroides to scale

  • 2.2 m (7.2 feet) from tail to snout
  • 100 kg (220 lbs)
  • Teeth up to 15 cm (6 inches) long
  • Modern beavers have a major impact on forests due to their dams, imagine the impact the Casteroides left! How big their dams would be!
  • Could stay underwater for long periods of time thanks to its enlarged lungs
  • Interestingly enough, modern beaver brains are (proportionally) larger than Casteroides so it is theorized the ancient Casteroides had less complex thoughts and interacted with their environment a little less
  • They probably went extinct during the Pleistocene–Holocene Transition (12,800–11,500 years ago)

brotherRozo t1_j9isdgp wrote

Yeah!! There’s around 150 megafauna alive today, and about the same number was killed off during the younger dryas ice-age events after 11000 bc


Darknessie t1_j9io2vz wrote

Post10 is on the case of the giant beever, last spotted in the hoover dam area.


BlueKnightBrownHorse t1_j9ihglo wrote

Mammoths were still around a few hundred years ago.


MattyKatty t1_j9jfme2 wrote

Try thousands of years ago, and they weren’t really “around”, they were just on a few islands in low populations comparatively


MarcusForrest t1_j9maa0t wrote

> few hundred years ago.

A few thousand years ago, (woolly mammoth extinct about 10 000 years ago) not hundred - off by a few magnitudes ahahaha


Vegan_Harvest t1_j9gtjg5 wrote

Can you imagine passing an avocado seed?


KnechtWurstBraet t1_j9gw7s6 wrote

Reminds of me of the Madonna song: "Like a virgin"


AckbarTrapt t1_j9h7hfr wrote

from the toilet

"Papa don't preach, I'm in trouble deep"


crawandpron t1_j9j9b0m wrote

aw man i tried to see if i had a free award but i dont. giving you one in spirit


KmartQuality t1_j9j3nwo wrote

Wouldn't be a problem if I was a 2500 pound herbivore that dropped 10 pound turds several times a day.


m608297 t1_j9ickif wrote

Brings cleansing to a whole new level


jeisen85 t1_j9jdhkm wrote

My wife knew a gay dude who used to shove the pits up his ass. Some people don’t have to imagine.


eveakane t1_j9gjt9o wrote

Sloth ancestors iirc?

But yeah, smaller ones probably got digested instead of making it out whole and functional.


Mete11uscimber t1_j9hfz41 wrote

If you look at old paintings of avocados they are mostly a pit/seed with little flesh. They've been modified over time to be more fleshy.

E: pit, not put...


loopsataspool t1_j9gk79d wrote

Also it takes is name from the Nahuatl (Aztecan) āhuakatl meaning ‘testicle’.


Dragmire800 t1_j9h25y4 wrote

No, their word for avocado was just their slang word for testicles, like how we use “nuts” today.


QristopherQuixote t1_j9gowwi wrote

Looked that up. That's just nutty.

I wonder if women enjoy mashing them?


Old-Satisfaction-564 t1_j9gplgq wrote

I ate a mango today and was thinking about this article ... so for analogy was there once megafauna with an elliptic anus capable of expelling a mango seed?


No_Nobody_32 t1_j9j37vp wrote

The cassowary plum is a similar fruit.

Large seed, small amount of flesh around it, edible ONLY by cassowaries (flesh is toxic to others). Big ol' prehistoric murder chicken eats plum, craps out seed and a dollop of fertiliser, walks on its merry way.


Kusanagi-2501 t1_j9iixjn wrote

I always found megafauna fascinating. I would like to believe that in some undiscovered wilderness there are megafauna large and in charge still.


JainaOrgana t1_j9ikxif wrote

There was a moose near my house the other day. This guys are huge.


Carl_The_Sagan t1_j9gxcs6 wrote

I’d love to watch a huge ground sloth just nomming down like cados like blueberries


draw2discard2 t1_j9igmaz wrote

This is backwards. A giant sloth or other large animal is equally good at spreading large or small seeds. What would make actual sense is that perhaps there is an advantage to having a large seed (for instance, more energy stored inside) but size is limited by the ability of animals to disperse the seeds (for instance, both a mouse and giant sloth can move raspberry seeds but only the sloth can move the avocado). So, the sloth may have allowed the evolution of a larger seed but it didn't do anything to make a larger seed to be favored in natural selection.


JainaOrgana t1_j9ikvp2 wrote

Less likely to be digested?

More likely to propagate when dumped?


draw2discard2 t1_j9iqj4x wrote

Evidently plants that live in shady places tend to have larger seeds because after germination there needs to be enough energy for the seedling to grow leaves and be able to reach the light (or perhaps to have enough foliage to get enough light to continue growth). On the other hand there is also danger of predation because some animals (such as rodents) will eat larger seeds, which doesn't happen with tiny seeds (e.g. a dandelion).


DoallthenKnit2relax t1_j9iydad wrote

I prefer the line George Burns gave when playing God in “Oh, God!”

John Denver: Haven’t you ever made any mistakes?

George/God: Avocados.

JD: Avocados?

G: They’re a perfect fruit, but I made the pits too big.


EMPulseKC t1_j9jpna4 wrote

Megafauna is a hell of a band name.


BrokenEye3 t1_j9hamoz wrote

So, what, big animals can't eat small seeds? I think evolution got that backwards.


crambree t1_j9iafk9 wrote

Same with mango?


jeffyoulose t1_j9iarsh wrote

Maybe it's the same for coconuts? Food for Gigafauna? And How about Durian? dual purpose as stomach cleanser/scraper for the giants?


NewMeYouSee t1_j9hktsp wrote

They depend on us now. I’m the caption now, Avay Kawdo.


[deleted] t1_j9hxt1i wrote

How is this provable? How did the avocado plants know that they were being eaten by large herbivores in order to increase seed size?


senorbolsa t1_j9i0wjm wrote

It's just a well considered hypothesis for why the seeds are so large.

There's a lot of selective pressures on all kinds of attributes of plants. One would imagine the size of seeds avocados had before we domesticated them had the best odds of surviving being consumed and "distributed" by megafauna like giant sloths. I don't know exactly how we know that they ate these fruits but I assume it's better than a guess.


MarcusForrest t1_j9mawu5 wrote

> It's just a well considered hypothesis for why the seeds are so large.

Actually, it isn't even related to the method of distribution, but the direct competition they face in jungles and forests - for a plant to grow amongst multiple rivals, the seed needs to be pretty big to contain enough nutrients so the plant has a chance to grow over/before its rivals, and then live off the soil, sun light, water, air and all


Also, although they were still pretty big back then, big seeds were not as large as they are today - they are this large today due to human interaction and selection - the seeds are bigger, but the proportion of flesh vs seed is also growing bigger, too! Because that's what we like


Modern avocados are alive due to human efforts - fun fact: the most popular cultivar, the HASS AVOCADO is not even 100 years old yet!


senorbolsa t1_j9mc5jg wrote

That's where I wanted to get I just didn't have the time to spend on it. very interesting and makes a lot more sense.


JollyRabbit t1_j9jtsjv wrote

They don't "know" anything. Evolution is not like spending experience points in a video game to level up their Seed Size stat. Rather, mutation and random combinations of genes through the shuffling of sexual reproduction resulted in different results. The ones which tended to help the plants reproduce, like by making a seed a local animal carried to favorable locations tended to survive and those with genes which negatively impacted their odds of reproducing tended to not pass on their genes.


Outlog t1_j9hzksd wrote

I wish I was dependable


CaptainStack t1_j9i3ri6 wrote

So how do they propagate now?


TheLimeyCanuck t1_j9ibe6x wrote

Humans. The same way that domesticated turkeys would die off in a generation without human artificial insemination.


GrumpyDumps t1_j9jpbjw wrote

Yeah but what about the gap in time where the majority of megafauna died off before humans began cultivation? I don't know how long that would be, but it seems like it would be a long ass time. How do the avacados propagate then?


SlinkyAvenger t1_j9k0gzj wrote

They wouldn't propagate as far without taking a ride in an animal's intestinal tract, but they would remain in their general area.


TheLimeyCanuck t1_j9kdcz7 wrote

Firstly, humans didn't need to cultivate them initially to save the species, they only had to consume them while foraging and move the seeds around. Secondly, even if it took humans a long interval before they positively affected avocado procreation they could still have limped along as an endangered species for centuries without fully dying out.


ferlinmandestos t1_j9ixwz8 wrote

How does that work though? Like how do plants know who's eating them? Like is there a by-eonly communication that goes out? Are avocadoes currently aware of this and are they in process of getting smaller? Are the seeds in communication and like "hey guys, were not getting eaten and pooped by big guys any more, so we need to downsize a bit" 🤔


flatline0 t1_j9j29em wrote

It's due to the fundamental mechanics of natural selection. Smaller avocados with smaller seeds likely got digested by stomach acid & so they never get to pass on their genetics. Over time, then only the larger seeds survive & so they propagate where as smaller ones didn't.


Hell_Yeah_Brethren t1_j9jmx67 wrote

Now we skewer them with toothpicks and watch them die on the counter.


CodeVirus t1_j9jqunv wrote

So that tells me that there were a lot more avocados in the wild than there are right now.


Independent_Long8045 t1_j9ky8nq wrote

It was mainly giant sloths which from what I remember were as about as big or bigger than gorrilas


Salty_Paroxysm t1_j9jistu wrote

Does that mean OP's mum can be categorised as 'megafauna'?