What would the world look like if humans didn’t exist?

Imagine a world without humans…

Humanity’s domination of the planet is driving Earth’s sixth mass extinction and is the main contributor in the current climate emergency. 

So, how would other animals fare without any humans at all? It may be hard to imagine, but studies show what the world map of large mammals would look like without a human presence.

Danish researchers claim that a world without humans would resemble the Serengeti, where a diverse mix of animals thrive. Scientists believe that the extinction of many large mammals during the last Ice Age is explained by the expansion of Homo sapiens (modern man) that was also happening at this time.

This world map indicates the number of species of large mammals (45kg or larger) that would exist if humans had never evolved.

Most of northern Europe would be home to mainly wolves, moose and bears, but animals such as rhinos and elephants would also be present. Africa is the only place left with a reasonably large mammal diversity, but if humans didn’t exist it is believed that North and South America would have the largest diversity, even though in today’s world they are inhabited by very few large mammals.

The researchers behind this study believe that Africa still has its large mammals thanks to a lack of human intervention, rather than due to its natural abundance of resources for them. Further to this, they state that the high levels of biodiversity in mountainous areas are because they represent a refuge for animals; this is not purely a natural pattern that would have happened without a human presence.

Rhinos would probably be present in northern Europe had humans never evolved as a species.


For more science and technology articles, pick up the latest copy of How It Works from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!


Plus, take a look at:

Why are humans and elephants the only animals that cry?

If humans evolved from apes, will today’s apes evolve into a Neanderthal like species?

Which was the first species made extinct by humans?

You may also like...