We don’t seem to learn the lesson of meddling with the balance of nature …….
Not Quite Gone
|Five-tonne sloth and glyptodon,
going, going, going, gone.
Just twelve-thousand years ago
They foraged through the Amazon
And in return they fertilised,
They brought balance and harmony
Then humans pushed into their space
Slow plodders they were easy prey
Five-tonne sloth and glyptodon,
And with these mega-stars’ demise
The Amazon showed stunted growth
Basin of the Amazon,
11th August 2013 – headline from the Independent
Notes: “How extinction of five-tonne sloths slows up growth along the Amazon.” Vast regions of the Amazon are growing more slowly than they were several thousand years ago because they lack the fertilising effect provided by South America’s distinctive “mega-fauna” – the very large mammals that went extinct soon after the arrival of humans. A study of how soil nutrients are distributed within the Amazon basin has revealed there is a dearth of vital minerals such as phosphorus because large mammals no longer roam the region to fertilise the soil with their dung. Scientists believe that the extinction of large herbivores, such as five-tonne ground sloths and armadillo-like glyptodonts the size of small cars, led to a serious imbalance of soil minerals which is still having an impact today.
- Big Animal Extinction Impoverishes Soil (scientificamerican.com)