Well, yes, obviously

The idea that humans were involved in any way in eradicating dozens of species of giant animal when we were still hunter-gatherers has important implications in any case. It was thought, until relatively recently, that it was only when humans invented agriculture several thousand years ago that our species’ relationship with the natural world become unbalanced. Until then, humans had a close affinity with nature. But if ancient hunter-gatherers played a part in wiping out these species of huge animals as long as 50,000 years ago, humanity’s supposed innate harmony with the living world appears misplaced.

As the piece points out, that the megafauna all disappeared as humans turned up is at least an indication that it wasn’t just happenstance.

And the idea that hunter gatherers are innately in harmony with nature is simply too stupid for words in the first place. They’re predators on it.

17 thoughts on “Well, yes, obviously”

  1. Anyone who thinks nature = harmony hasn’t spent any time in it. Life is struggle and competition, otherwise we’d still be ammonia soup.

  2. Try pointing out that native Americans horse culture didn’t exist before the Spanish accidentally lost a few horse in 1520, and marvel at the blank looks.

    It barely lasted 300 years, and was begun by colonial invasion. Oops.

  3. Oh dear. Predators are part of nature’s “harmony”, Tim. And the end of the megafauna also happened to coincide with the end of an ice age – you know, climate change? To my knowledge no-one has yet blamed early humans for that. Though I suppose it’s still possible someone will decide that humans are to blame for ALL climate change, even the climate change that wiped out species long before humans existed.

  4. Well, the Maori managed to wipe out the Moa in less than a hundred years. Not exactly sustainable…

  5. Stuck record;

    Fun fact, the Apache never managed to breed a single horse., they were all either bought or stolen, mostly the latter.

    Before the horse, American Indians used dogs as pack animals.

  6. You left out the bit about hunter gatherers leading peaceful lives untroubled by possessions or disease until they kill each other. Oops someone was not evenhanded dividing the woolly mammoth!

  7. Of course the fline line between “harmony with nature” and “earth rape” is drawn subjectively. Mostly by greenies sat in their concrete houses with mown lawns, pontificating on an Ipad.

    What is it specifically that makes spit-roasting a freshly-caught mammoth on an open wood fire “natural” while oven-roasting a domesticated cow on electricity from a nuclear power plant isn’t?

  8. reminiscent of the eco-loons’ sanctification of the pre-Columbian Anasazi people as peaceful guardians of the natural world, living in harmony with the trees and flowers hullo clouds hullo sky etc etc

    Until someone found an archaeological site that clearly demonstrated that the Anasazi were violent and prone to cannibalism, evidence that the true believers have spent years futilely trying to discredit

  9. Yes, “harmony with nature” is greeniebollocks of the wrinkliest, dangliest, scrotiest type.

    There’s nothing harmonious about allowing a sabre toothed cat to snack on your children, and there’s no peaceful coexistence to be found with tapeworms, mosquitoes, or smallpox.

    Before Man learned to dominate nature his life expectancy was about 25 – 30. We are incredibly lucky to have been born at a time when our species has some measure of control over the natural world.

  10. To the extent that human migration was also driven or enabled by climate change, it would be impossible to disentangle the causation from the correlation.

    So it comes down to how sentimental you feel about primitive people and giant wombats.

  11. Predators usually are in balance with their prey – if they kill all their food, they will starve and die out themselves. Humans are different in that we can wipe out one source of food and then niftily switch to something else, then something else again. Not good or bad, just the way nature made us!

  12. Nature has allowed us to evolve to a point where we have a large apparent measure of control over nature. However we haven’t really and at some point nature will killoff the human race. It might be in 10000 years. It might even be in 100000. But I would stick my head out and say that anybody who expects homo sapiens to be in charge a million years from now is mistaken.

    In fact will bet a billion euros against it provided the counter bet of 10 is made now! In cash.

  13. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Italy – “But I would stick my head out and say that anybody who expects homo sapiens to be in charge a million years from now is mistaken.”

    I, for one, welcome our new post-human/cyborg/robot/alien hybrid overlords!

  14. So Much for Subtlety

    Frances Coppola – “Predators are part of nature’s “harmony”, Tim.”

    Yes, but humans are another paradigm entirely. Tigers can’t do much about losses to their numbers. They are kept in check, generally speaking, by disease and hunger. Humans have repeatedly shown themselves capable of thinking about these problems and solving them. Causing population explosions.

    However predators do naturally hunt other animals to extinction. The utter idiots who decided that New Zealand’s wild life would be better off if give a push by foxes, stoats and weasels have shown that. A stable environment is not very stable, but in so far as it is, what that means is that over a reasonable length of time the predators have not been able to hunt everything to extinction.

    “And the end of the megafauna also happened to coincide with the end of an ice age – you know, climate change?”

    Easier to think that God did it. But climate change was probably necessary for humans to have made the trip. Once the geography was changed. So it is hard to tell. I think the evidence does suggest humans did it.

    David Moore – “Well, the Maori managed to wipe out the Moa in less than a hundred years. Not exactly sustainable…”

    Near the New Zealand mainland was an island on which was a group called the Moriori. Who were 100% pacifists. They did not fight at all. The British very nicely introduced the Maori to said island. And provided them with a ship. The Maori slaughtered and ate all the adult males, castrated and enslaved all the younger men and kept the women as secondary wifes.

    There are none left.

    American Indians did exactly the same when they got the chance. Sustainable just means a short term view of time.

  15. life expectancy was about 25 – 30.

    Not sure about life expectancy, think perhaps that if you made it to adulthood then you may well have made it beyond 50.

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