Data from: Human-mediated extirpation of the unique Chatham Islands sea lion and implications for the conservation management of remaining New Zealand sea lion populations

Nicolas J. Rawlence, Catherine J. Collins, Christian N. K. Anderson, Justin J. Maxwell, Ian W. G. Smith, Bruce C. Robertson, Michael Knapp, Katherine Ann Horsburgh, Jo-Ann L. Stanton, R. Paul Scofield, Alan J. D. Tennyson, Elizabeth A. Matisoo-Smith & Jonathan M. Waters
While terrestrial megafaunal extinctions have been well characterized worldwide, our understanding of declines in marine megafauna remains limited. Here, we use ancient DNA analyses of prehistoric (<1450–1650 AD) sea lion specimens from New Zealand's isolated Chatham Islands to assess the demographic impacts of human settlement. These data suggest there was a large population of sea lions, unique to the Chatham Islands, at the time of Polynesian settlement. This distinct mitochondrial lineage became rapidly extinct within...
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