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April 22, 2018 at 4:16 pm in reply to: Debt Rattle April 20 2018 #40199PhyllostachysParticipant
Point taken, and I certainly don’t believe that all extinctions that have occurred in the past 100,000 years are the result of human activity. Just that it is plausible that many of them were. I do not subscribe to the Noble Savage theory of human origins, and I trust that you don’t either. I believe that the destructive capacity of the human race is something that has always been with us, and that has been unleashed on an unprecedented global scale since the advent of modern industrial technology. But that’s a whole other conversation. In any case, thanks for your response, and I look forward to more of your guest posts in the future.April 20, 2018 at 6:04 pm in reply to: Debt Rattle April 20 2018 #40157PhyllostachysParticipant
I wish I could remember the source of this information, but there is actually a compelling body of evidence in the fossil record of migrations of early human populations into new regions or islands coinciding with the extinction of large fauna within those habitats. The disparity between extinction of large animals and survival of smaller ones can easily be explained by the lower birth rates and population densities of larger animals. The bison could reproduce quickly enough to stave off extinction, while the mastodon could not. No doubt the end of the last Ice Age did nothing to help these animals, but it is perfectly conceivable that without human predation they could have survived in colder northern latitudes. Furthermore, the disparity between perception of early humans as “murderous” hunters vs. cultivators of a “lush, diverse, and abundant” continent can also be resolved with an explanation that should be easily recognizable to readers of this blog. Whenever humans (or any other species for that matter) learn to exploit a new resource, whether it be big game or oil deposits, they always consume it as rapidly as possible, and only once it is gone are they forced to learn the necessity of conservation and regeneration of remaining resources. Thus could the same bands of humans who hunted the mastodon to extinction 10,000 years ago have over time become the forest gardeners that European migrants drove to near extinction with their own predations.
Incidentally, I don’t believe that humans are bad, evil, or must be destroyed. Just that our technological capacity for destruction has unfortunately developed much more quickly than our moral capacity for preserving and enriching the world in which we live. I greatly respect your contributions to this blog and hope that my own perspective has been elucidating.