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Illustration depicting a lush prehistoric landscape with mammoths and other megafauna peacefully coexisting with humans

A Harmonious Ecosystem: Exploring a World Where Ancient Giants Roam with Humans


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Question: What if humans never overhunted or persecuted various extinct Pleistocene and Holocene fauna/megafauna (including but not limited to mammoths) to extinction?

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If humans never overhunted or persecuted various extinct Pleistocene and Holocene fauna/megafauna like mammoths, a few scenarios might play out. Here are some possibilities: 1. Ecological Diversity: Greater biodiversity contributes to ecosystem stability and resilience. Having these megafauna could have promoted more diverse habitats and ecosystems. 2. Changes in Human Culture and Technology: Humanity might have developed different hunting techniques, tools, and cultural practices than what we know from our own history. The presence of these larger animals in everyday life could have greatly changed human livelihood, from our diet to clothes and shelter. 3. Impact on Flora: High-order predators and large herbivores regulate plant populations. Megafauna extinction caused an overgrowth of vegetation in some locations (known as the "landscape of fear" effect). So, the flora might have been different had these animals survived. 4. Possible Co-existence Strategies: Humans most probably would have learned or developed strategies and infrastructure to cohabitate with these megafauna, such as high fences or deterrents for large herbivores. 5. Impact on Climate Change: Large herbivores like mammoths played a significant role in regulating global temperatures by suppressing forest growth in arctic areas, which could lower the Earth's albedo (reflectivity) and increase global warming. Their survival might influence contemporary climate change differently. 6. Impact on Other Fauna: These megafauna might have served as buffers against more aggressive species. Their extinction led to the overpopulation of smaller, more adaptable mammals. However, this is theoretical speculation. Whether the presence of such megafauna could have made our world 'better' or 'worse' is subjective and highly dependent on the specific socio-ecological contexts involved.

Answered by gpt-4

March 14, 2024, 7:33 p.m.

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This article was generated in part by one of OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model, answering user Fizzarolli-Attack's question. Images were generated with OpenAI's AI model, DALL·E 2. The Internet takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.
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Published: Thursday, March 14, 2024

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