SYDNEY – Australia has always been unique, from its geographical isolation at the bottom of the Earth to its infamous bevy of venomous creatures. Now, scientists have uncovered another unique — and disturbing — facet of Australian life: the country's mammals are going extinct at an alarmingly high rate, due in large part to a couple of critters with voracious appetites.
A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday shows that more than 10 percent of the land mammal species endemic to Australia have been wiped out since European settlement. The main culprit? Cats and foxes brought to the continent by those settlers.