It may be hard to imagine, but a new study has shown 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.
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.
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