and extinguish them <piecemeal> in each fragment.

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park sang joon

Senior Member
Near the end of the Wisconsin glaciation, 15,000 to 9,000 years ago, mass extinction of Megafauna such as the Wooly mammoth occurred in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. <----> It [= this extinction] possibly forced modification in the dietary habits of the humans of that age and with the emergence of agricultural practices, plant-based foods also became a regular part of the diet. A number of factors have been suggested for the extinction: certainly over-hunting, but also deforestation and climate change.[62] The net effect was to fragment the vast ranges required by the large animals and extinguish them piecemeal in each fragment.
<Source: "Food And Drink" of "Stone Age" in WIKIPEDIA>

I don't know how piecemeal is used in the clause; please help me.
Thank you in advance for your help.

< Edited to reduce quotation to comply with 4-sentence limit. (Cagey, moderator). >
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  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    The vast ranges have been broken up: fragmented.
    In each fragment the animals were extinguished piecemeal.
    Looking at the definitions of "piecemeal" in our dictionary I would gloss it as "bit by bit" or gradually.

    However, I never use piecemeal that way. I mainly use it to mean in a bitty, unplanned way. Obviously no-one "plans" the extinction of animals, so it seems an odd choice to me.
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