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Coyotes-Wolves-Cougars.blogspot.com

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dan Flores held the A. B. Hammond Chair in Western History at the University of Montana from 1992 to 2014........... His specialty is the environmental and cultural history of the American West and is the author of eight books, most recently AMERICAN SERENGETI and the upcoming June 2016 release of COYOTE AMERICA: The Coyote in Continental History and Culture...............I am in the process of reading AMERICAN SERENGETI and Dan was good enough yesterday to answer some questions that I had for him regarding his thoughts about why the Pleistocene Mega-Fauna(e.g. saber tooth cats, dire wolves, etc, etc, etc) in the Americas became extinct some 10.000 years ago..............Dan surmises that Americas Mega-Fauna had not evolved with us human animals and that the arrival of Clovis and subsequent archaic tribal groups in combination with a rapidly warming climate and perhaps human and domestic dog diseases brought collapse to the "giant mammal suite" of yesteryear.........And why did a subsequent mammalian suite of Gray Wolves, Bison, Pumas, Griz, Black Bears, etc not get obliterated until European people with sophisticated weapon technology come on the scene circa AD1500 and beyond?...............In Dan's own words----"The best explanation for why Pleistocene mammals in the Americas might have fallen to Paleolithic hunting specialists while later species (such as bison, moose, deer, etc.) did not is that the American Pleistocene species had evolved without ever having been exposed to human hunters before"................... "Many of them (like mammoths) had long gestations and slow reproductive recovery anyway, and -- so the argument goes -- were unable to evolve defenses against a new predator as efficient as the Clovis hunters once they arrived on the grasslands"..................... "Paleo hunters with a culture somewhat like the Clovis culture also succeeded in wiping out most of the megafauna in Europe, too"................... "Some have argued that had we not domesticated horses in Eurasia they, too, would have gotten hunted to extinction there"..................... "After the Pleistocene extinctions the American Serengeti got populated primarily by species of animals that had come across the Bering Strait from Eurasia and thus had long experiences coping with human hunters"..................... "The single exception among these animals was the pronghorn, an American-evolved creature whose evolutionary adaptations (as I relate in the book) to Pleistocene predators left them virtually without any threats once all the cheetahs and hunting hyenas were gone"............... "I subscribe to the view that, on the American Serengeti, animals like pronghorns and bison were far better evolved to the grasslands than human hunters were, a primary reason why these animals survived another 10,000 years of the human presence -- or at least down to the time when human hunters acquired horses and firearms and the pressures of the global market for animal products as their motivations"



Dan flores
Dan Flores

AVAILABLE TO READ AND PURCHASE
FROM AMAZON.COM

America’s Great Plains once possessed one of the grandest wildlife spectacles of the world, equaled only by such places as the Serengeti, the Masai Mara, or the veld of South Africa. Pronghorn antelope, gray wolves, bison, coyotes, wild horses, and grizzly bears: less than two hundred years ago these creatures existed in such abundance that John James Audubon was moved to write, “it is impossible to describe or even conceive the vast multitudes of these animals.”

In a work that is at once a lyrical evocation of that lost splendor and a detailed natural history of these charismatic species of the historic Great Plains, veteran naturalist and outdoorsman Dan Flores draws a vivid portrait of each of these animals in their glory—and tells the harrowing story of what happened to them at the hands of market hunters and ranchers and ultimately a federal killing program in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Great Plains with its wildlife intact dazzled Americans and Europeans alike, prompting numerous literary tributes. American Serengeti takes its place alongside these celebratory works, showing us the grazers and predators of the plains against the vast opalescent distances, the blue mountains shimmering on the horizon, the great rippling tracts of yellowed grasslands. Far from the empty “flyover country” of recent times, this landscape is alive with a complex ecology at least 20,000 years old—a continental patrimony whose wonders may not be entirely lost, as recent efforts hold out hope of partial restoration of these historic species.

Written by an author who has done breakthrough work on the histories of several of these animals—including bison, wild horses, and coyotes—American Serengeti is as rigorous in its research as it is intimate in its sense of wonder—the most deeply informed, closely observed view we have of the Great Plains’ wild heritage.
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TO BE RELEASED IN jUNE 2016--PRE ORDER ON AMAZON.COM


With its uncanny night howls, unrivaled ingenuity, and amazing resilience, the coyote is the stuff of legends. In Indian folktales it often appears as a deceptive trickster or a sly genius. But legends don’t come close to capturing the incredible survival story of the coyote. As soon as Americans—especially white Americans—began ranching and herding in the West, they began working to destroy the coyote. Despite campaigns of annihilation employing poisons, gases, helicopters, and engineered epidemics, coyotes didn’t just survive, they thrived, expanding across the continent from Anchorage, Alaska, to New York’s Central Park. In the war between humans and coyotes, coyotes have won hands-down.

Coyote America is both an environmental and a deep natural history of the coyote. It traces both the five-million-year-long biological story of an animal that has become the “wolf” in our backyards, as well as its cultural evolution from a preeminent spot in Native American religions to the hapless foil of the Road Runner. A deeply American tale, the story of the coyote in the American West and beyond is a sort of Manifest Destiny in reverse, with a pioneering hero whose career holds up an uncanny mirror to the successes and failures of American expansionism.

An illuminating biography of this extraordinary animal, Coyote America isn’t just the story of an animal’s survival—it is one of the great epics of our time.



From: dlfnewmexico@aol.com
Date: April 17, 2016 at 5:43:29 PM PDT
To: rick.meril@gmail.com
Subject: Re: American Serengeti

My pleasure, Rick.


You're asking good questions, for sure. I'd say, despite a handful of extinctions, in contrast to the Americas, Africa didn't actually lose its megafauna -- lions, elephants, horses (zebras), etc. all survived there down to the present. Megafauna didn't survive in Europe and the Americas, places modern humans began to enter about 40,000 years ago. 



And we humans didn't seem to develop a specialized big game hunting toolkit 'til about 25,000 years ago, one very similar to the tools the Clovis people brought to America 10,000 years later.



I'd still be willing to bet that a warming climate at the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age contributed, though.  



Dan

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Meril <rick.meril@gmail.com>
To: dlfnewmexico <dlfnewmexico@aol.com>
Sent: Sun, Apr 17, 2016 4:23 pm
Subject: Re: American Serengeti


Dan....thanks for this detsil and time out of your Sunday....I just purchased your Coyote book...pre order on amazon....
One more thought.....us modeen humans 175,000 years on mother earth.....starting our existance in africa......why if we were among megafauna there with these animals used to our presence for so long,,,,,did mega fauna die off occur there?
My best to u and continued good success
Thnks for alllowing me to post
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


On Apr 17, 2016 11:55 AM, <dlfnewmexico@aol.com> wrote:
Hello Rick, thanks for picking up American Serengeti and nice to hear your thoughts. 


The truth is that no one has really figured out just how the Pleistocene extinctions played out in the Americas. There's a changing-climate-as-cause contingent and of course the over-hunting blitzkrieg model made famous by Paul Martin. Both sides have their arguments. In American Serengeti I went with a combination of the two theories wherein climate change shrinks the ranges and weakens the populations of the megafauna, allowing specialized Paleolithic big game hunters like the Clovis people to finish off dwindling groups of them. This scenario works best, given the evidence, with mammoths. But as I relate, it scarcely works at all with creatures like Pleistocene horses, which were incredibly numerous in America, in many places constituting 25% of the biomass of grazing animals. I describe this in my book as the grandest mystery of all in North American extinctions.
















The best explanation for why Pleistocene mammals in the Americas might have fallen to Paleolithic hunting specialists while later species (such as bison, moose, deer, etc.) did not is that the American Pleistocene species had evolved without ever having been exposed to human hunters before. Many of them (like mammoths) had long gestations and slow reproductive recovery anyway, and -- so the argument goes -- were unable to evolve defenses against a new predator as efficient as the Clovis hunters once they arrived on the grasslands. Paleo hunters with a culture somewhat like the Clovis culture also succeeded in wiping out most of the megafauna in Europe, too. Some have argued that had we not domesticated horses in Eurasia they, too, would have gotten hunted to extinction there














After the Pleistocene extinctions the American Serengeti got populated primarily by species of animals that had come across the Bering Strait from Eurasia and thus had long experiences coping with human hunters. The single exception among these animals was the pronghorn, an American-evolved creature whose evolutionary adaptations (as I relate in the book) to Pleistocene predators left them virtually without any threats once all the cheetahs and hunting hyenas were gone. I subscribe to the view that, on the American Serengeti, animals like pronghorns and bison were far better evolved to the grasslands than human hunters were, a primary reason why these animals survived another 10,000 years of the human presence -- or at least down to the time when human hunters acquired horses and firearms and the pressures of the global market for animal products as their motivations.



Since you don't mention it I'm not sure if you're aware of my other new book, coming out in June, called Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History. It's a 5-million year biography of this small North American wolf, its relationship to gray wolves and red wolves and humans over the past 10,000 years, all the way down to its spread across the continent and inhabitation of major American cities from coast to coast. Here;s the link on Amazon.     http://www.amazon.com/Coyote-America-Natural-Supernatural-History/dp/0465052991/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8



Many thanks for writing, Rick. Feel free to post this on your blog.


Dan Flores

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Meril <rick.meril@gmail.com>
To: dlfnewmexico <dlfnewmexico@aol.com>
Sent: Sun, Apr 17, 2016 11:58 am
Subject: American Serengeti

Dan

In the process of reading your fine new book, AMERICAN SERENGETI..........

Can I get your thoughts as to why a relatively small band of archaic peoples, whether they be here in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australia, etc be able to wipe out the mega fauna and not be able to do the same with the mammal suite that followed(Our own Bison, Pronghorn, Moose, Deer, Griz, Black Bear, Gray and Red Wolf, Puma, Bobcats, Lynx et al?


Climate has been up and down over the past 10,000 years just like it was 10,000+ years ago,,,,,,,man and domestic dog diseases existed in both time epochs.........


I have never completely "swallowed" the blitzcrieg", human kill paradigm as the reason for the demise of 50 animal species in North America(let alone those of the other continents),,,,,,based on indigenous peoples expanding their populations even further 4000 years ago via agriculture,,,,,,,,,,,,why would millions of bison, hundreds of thousands of wolves, bears, pumas etc be able to thrive prior to European technology(firearms and such) and sheer population mass overwhelming our natural biome?



Best


Rick Meril



Sent from my iPad

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

DANG! So many books; so little time.....But I'll definitely havta get copies of these two! I already ordered "Heart Of A Lion"....As for the Megafauna extinctions, why do some scientists INSIST that it had to exclusively be one cause or the other? Even today, extinctions are usually caused by several things at once--habitat loss, overhunting, pollution, etc. Although I think primitive hunters certainly contributed to the extinctions, I've always felt other things must have also contributed to it--an "Extinction Combo". I've always wondered, too why cougars went extinct in North America(a theory based on recent genetic evidence--supposedly cougars/pumas went extinct in the north at the time of the Megafauna extinctions, then gradually repopulated North America from South America)--it seems like they would have easily survived on the smaller ungulates that became their main prey after these extinctions--UNLESS there WAS some devasting environmental component. Now that new study of Native American genetics that indicates they, too became extinct in North America, and were all descended from South American survivors and territory expanders just like the cougars, lends some validity to that view. Not only were they not wholly responsible, humans went extinct in the North themselves for a time! Maybe......L.B.

Rick Meril said...

LB......good commentary,,,,,,,,,,You and I are of same mind on the multi-reason extinction rationale hypothesis