Debating the Pleistocene Is No Overkill

Here’s a chart about the Pleistocene Overkill Hypothesis that I found on this blog:


Fig. 1. Summary of the numbers of megafaunal genera that went extinct on each continent (Table 1), the strength of the extinction chronology, and a comparison of the timing of extinction with the timing of human arrival and late Pleistocene climatic change. Extinction timing for individual genera was judged as robust or provisional based on previous publications that evaluated quality of dates. Sources are as follows: Europe (3, 14, 47), Siberia (48), North America (11, 29, 46, 57), and Australia (4, 7). For humans, the date is the earliest generally accepted arrival of Homo sapiens sapiens; pre-sapiens hominins were present in Eurasia and Africa much earlier.

To me, the debate over the Overkill Hypothesis matters because it’s so often used as a justification for current destruction—as if to say: “See, ancient people caused mass extinctions, too!” in order to cover for our culture’s current clip, which last time I checked is 200 species a day. The debate also has implications on the rewilding movement. I’m not sure that rewilding is 100% ethical, but it’s sure as hell a lot more ethical than industrial capitalism.


One thought on “Debating the Pleistocene Is No Overkill

  1. Pingback: The Pleistocene and the Present | Coming Soon: A Vast Desert

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