The Pleistocene and the Present

A new study reportedly demonstrates that humans, and not climate change (or any other factor), bear the most responsibility for the large-scale extinction of megafauna following the end of the last ice age. The idea that humans over-hunted or competed their fellow large mammals out of existence is also known as the Pleistocene Overkill Hypothesis, which I’ve written about many times before. This study purports to settle the debate, but surely a scientific consensus is still blowing in the wind.

I’m less interested in what actually happened than I am in the lessons being drawn from the guesses, most of which serve as justifications for the wholesale destruction of the natural world—under the cover of vague sketches of “human instinct.” You have to ask yourself if the presentation of definitive evidence that humans* killed 30% of the large animals on earth means that our current apocalypse (what else can we call it?) is simply par for the course, nothing to worry about—let alone do anything about.

After all, you’re a human! All you do is hunt and hunt and hunt until your habitat collapses. That’s all that humans can do, right?

* “fully developed modern humans,” according to the linked article—although Nietzsche would argue that the phrase contains at least two oxymorons

 

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