Human-induced environmental and climate change are widely blamed for causing rapid global biodiversity loss, but direct estimation of the proportion of biodiversity lost at local or regional scales are still infrequent. This prevents us from quantifying the main and interactive effects of anthropogenic environmental and climate change on species loss.
The mode and tempo of extinctions and extirpations after the first contact phase of human settlements is a widely debated topic. As the last major landmass to be settled by humans, New Zealand offers a unique lens through which to study interactions of people and biota. By analyzing ancient DNA from more than 5,000 nondiagnostic and fragmented bones from 38 subfossil assemblages, we describe species and patterns that have been missed by morphological approaches.