Spanish researchers have published a new paper on the extinction of spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta, the same species dominant in Africa) in Europe and Asia. Apparently hyenas lived without much trouble in the Mediterranean areas of Eurasia until c. 10,000 years ago, when they became extinct. This is also the time of the end of the last Ice Age.
Lead researcher Sara Varela says that climate change in the past was not directly responsible for the extinction of the spotted hyena in southern Europe, but it was a factor in its disappearance.
Ref. Sara Varela et al., Were the Late Pleistocene climatic changes responsible for the disappearance of the European spotted hyena populations? Hindcasting a species geographic distribution across time. Quaternary Science Reviews 2010. Pay per view.