The Pleistocene Rewilding Project

The following journal page from Scientific American is a teaser for a little known, but much debated, ecological rewilding program that was suggested as possible, and necessary, over 40 years ago and remains viable even today–all it’s missing is some rich kook (think billionare Ted Turner) to create a preserve somewhere in the wide open country of Montana USA ala Jurassic Park.This idea forms one of the cornerstones of the speculative fiction behind the forthcoming novel The Book of Ten

The Warren Mastodon.

Image via Wikipedia

June 2007 June 2007
Scientific American Magazine

Price: $7.95

Restoring America’s Big, Wild Animals; June 2007; Scientific American Magazine; by C. Josh Donlan; 8 Page(s)

In the fall of 2004 a dozen conservation biologists gathered on a ranch in New Mexico to ponder a bold plan. The scientists, trained in a variety of disciplines, ranged from the grand old men of the field to those of us earlier in our careers. The idea we were mulling over was the reintroduction of large vertebrates–megafauna–to North America.

Most of these animals, such as mammoths and cheetahs, died out roughly 13,000 years ago, when humans from Eurasia began migrating to the continent. The theory–propounded 40 years ago by Paul Martin of the University of Arizona–is that overhunting by the new arrivals reduced the numbers of large vertebrates so severely that the populations could not recover. Called Pleistocene overkill, the concept was highly controversial at the time, but the general thesis that humans played a significant role is now widely accepted. Martin was present at the meeting in New Mexico, and his ideas on the loss of these animals, the ecological consequences, and what we should do about it formed the foundation of the proposal that emerged, which we dubbed Pleistocene rewilding.

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4 Responses to “The Pleistocene Rewilding Project”

  1. Holy Wooly Mammoth! Teaser indeed…anticipation is mounting…

  2. Glad to hear that, Margie–Act I is still looking good for the end of Sept. 2011 as an eBook!


  1. Taughannock Falls State Park « BeTwixt: a bibliophile's blog - July 10, 2011

    […] The Pleistocene Rewilding Project ( […]

  2. Balloon Juice » Why Yes. It’s Still True. Megan McCardle Is Always Wrong - July 20, 2011

    […] an environmental piece—C. Josh Donlan’s Scientific American  report, “Restoring America’s Big, Wild Animals.“  A couple more are essentially public health/epidemiology stories with an environmental […]

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