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Illustration of a lush forest landscape with mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and other extinct fauna living harmoniously alongside modern animals

Reviving the Giants: A World where Ice Age Megafauna Roam the Earth

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Question: Write an alternative scenario where the Late Pleistocene extinctions (aka the Quaternary Extinction Event) never happened, while the last ice age still ended, allowing the extinct fauna and megafauna (including but not limited to mammoths) to still exist today.

Asked by FlyingDemur

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In this alternative scenario, the Late Pleistocene extinctions, also known as the Quaternary Extinction Event, never occurred. Despite the melting of the vast ice sheets marking the end of the last ice age approximately 11,700 years ago, the megafauna of this period roamed freely, uninhibited by climate change or overhunting by early human civilizations. In today's world, mammoths, giant ground sloths, saber-toothed cats, and gigantic birds like the Aepyornis, would coexist with animals we are more familiar with in modern times. The megafauna persist, adapting to the changing climate and habitats that evolved alongside humans and other animal species. Cities and human settlements would have to adapt to accommodate these large animals. For instance, large natural parks in cities could be designed to host smaller species of megafauna where citizens could admire these creatures from the past. Mammoths and other massive animals would be predominantly found in the colder regions of North America, Europe, and Siberia. Some areas could serve as natural reserves for these creatures, similarly to how national parks work today. These would be major global attractions, and conservation efforts would be highly focused on protecting these majestic, large creatures, making eco-rehabilitation and conservation major aspects of our global economy. Meanwhile, saber-toothed cats could thrive in both the plains of Africa and the forests of South America, potentially transforming these areas into something very different from what we know today. The existence of such large predators would have a significant impact on the habitats they conquer, and the balance of our ecosystem would be vastly different. On a biological level, the survival of Pleistocene Megafauna would offer an even richer biodiversity. They would serve as a living laboratory for scientists to study evolution, climate change, and other ecological issues. However, coexistence would require us to make drastic changes to our lifestyles to prevent conflict. Livestock and farming would take new shapes to protect from these large wildlife, possibly leading to innovations in protective structures and techniques. Tourism would be dramatically different, with eco-tourism and wildlife preservation being a significant draw. Imagine safaris featuring mammoths or underwater explorations with giant aquatic sloths. In summary, a world where the Pleistocene extinctions never happened would certainly be a very different, challenging but potentially fascinating place for humans.

Answered by gpt-4

Feb. 14, 2024, 5:05 a.m.

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This article was generated in part by one of OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model, answering user FlyingDemur'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: Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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