Humans Wiped Out Hawaii Land Crab

They vanished about the time people arrived
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2011 6:47 PM CDT
File photo of a Blue Land Crab. Hawaii's version of a land crab is long gone.   (Flickr)

(Newser) – Hawaii used to have land crabs that lived high up in the hills and wandered down to the ocean now and then—until humans came along and wrecked the party. Newly discovered fossils show that the creatures, which lived farther inland than most crabs and dined on insects and small birds, disappeared when the first human settlers arrived about 1,500 years ago, reports LiveScience.

"The extinction crisis was huge and we have only an inkling what it involved, because the fossil record is limited," says one researcher. Those early Polynesian settlers likely hunted the crabs as food, and they brought along foreign species such as pigs, rats, and dogs that did the same. (Read more Hawaii stories.)

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