Apr 20, 2009

Pleistocene Park

Man, would I love to see this:

But in recent years conservationists have set their sights on the more distant past, when Europe's forests and meadows were replete with elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses and big cats. Some ambitious conservationists are now advocating a return to norms of wilderness that date back to the Pleistocene era, more than 11,000 years ago.

The megafauna from that period, which had a dramatic impact on the environment around them, are a vital, missing part of Europe's ecosystem, argue proponents of Pleistocene rewilding, as the movement is known. Elephants, for example, keep forests from growing too dense. Large predators increase the survival odds of their prey by thinning the weak from the ranks. Importing Asian and African beasts similar to the ones that roamed prehistoric Europe would increase biodiversity and restore a natural equilibrium, with the biggest mammals once again at the top of the food chain.
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