Elephants and tigers did not go extinct in India


Over the last 100,000 years, several land-dwelling mammals including big carnivores have gone extinct across the globe. 



  • North America lost its saber-toothed cat, North American lion, scimitar-tooth cat, American cheetah, and the only big cats left now are the Puma and the Jaguar. 
  • But most of the megafauna of South Asia and Africa were resilient to the arrival of modern humans and the region still has large land mammals such as elephants, tigers, and rhinos. 



  • The co-evolution – is fact that native animals learn to adapt to a new predator played an important role.
  • If humans were hunting, these animals evolved techniques to avoid people. For example, if we like to hunt on the plains, maybe these animals lived in the forests. It's basically an evolutionary rat race where one species has to keep up with the other in order to survive.


Environmental factors

  • However, there were mammalian extinctions in the country: two massive elephant relatives (Palaeoloxodon namadicus and Stegodon namadicus), a hippo (Hexaprotodon sp), and a horse relative (Equus namadicus) were lost.
  • All the extinct species were large, slow reproducing species, and they go extinct when the climate is fluctuating
  • We know that environmental change can stress populations out, especially populations of animals that don't reproduce quickly. 


Local extinction

  • India was also home to ostriches (Struthio camelus) and humans may have been the reason for their local extinction. 
  • We have ostriches in cave art and we have a lot of evidence of people using ostrich eggshells for ornamentation by making beads. Humans probably used eggs for food. 
  • Humans may be driving the extinction of the mammals that fought and survived. So most of the animals which survived, had a fairly large geographic range. 
  • But today, these animals are being restricted to small pockets and in fragmented populations, a lot of interbreeding happens making the populations weaker. 
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