What Killed Off the Giant Beasts – Climate Change or Man?

Image from Wikipedia, Creative Commons.
Image from Wikipedia, Creative Commons.

What Killed Off the Giant Beasts – Climate Change or Man? – Past Horizons

An interesting article posted a few days ago at Past Horizons.  It talks about the roles played by extinct megafauna in keeping their native ecosystems healthy and the impact their lack has had on those systems since then.  The idea of cloning mammoths and reintroducing to the wild is both frightening and fascinating at the same time.  I can’t say I’m really in favor of the idea.  Anyone seen, or read, Jurassic Park?  Mammoths were herbivores, I know, but after they’re brought back, then they’ll want to bring back their natural predators.  Saber-toothed cats and cave lions, anyone?  No.  Just, no.

There’s something else in the article that annoyed me.  Here:

The idea that humans were involved in any way in eradicating dozens of species of giant animal when we were still hunter-gatherers has important implications in any case. It was thought, until relatively recently, that it was only when humans invented agriculture several thousand years ago that our species’ relationship with the natural world become unbalanced. Until then, humans had a close affinity with nature. But if ancient hunter-gatherers played a part in wiping out these species of huge animals as long as 50,000 years ago, humanity’s supposed innate harmony with the living world appears misplaced.

Really?  Are the one’s who thought this the same people who thought the Maya were pacifists until their own texts proved they weren’t?  Why do people automatically assume a human society is peaceful and environmentally responsible until it is proven otherwise?  Human nature should indicate the opposite.


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