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881 Views 1 Reply Last post: Mar 14, 2013 1:22 PM by Jonathan - NaturePlus host RSS
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Mar 5, 2013 9:27 PM

Natural Abundance History

I would like to know when, during the period when man has existed, was our planet most abundant in terms of an eco-system and a selection of life-forms which were roughly as we know them now. In other words not a time of sabre-toothed tigers and giant ferns...but when the mix of animals, insects, plants, fish etc...was as it is now but more numerous. I assume it's before any industrialisation....

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    Mar 14, 2013 1:22 PM (in response to Garrincha)
    Re: Natural Abundance History

    Hi Garrincha,


    I've been informed by one of our scientists that - according to the Sepkoski database - the maximum number of genera of marine taxa was reached during the Pliocene. If we take that as being an appropriate proxy for the abundance of all life, including on land masses, then it could give you your answer. Many of the mammalian species present during the Pliocene would be recognisable today (early forms of deer, dogs, horses, etc) but there were also species present that are now extinct (e.g. glyptodonts, ground sloths, etc).


    However, this is also prior to the evolution of Homo sapiens (though it does represent the period when the earliest hominids were present, such as the Australopithecines and, later in the epoch, Homo habilis and Homo erectus) so it ultimately depends on what you mean by 'man'.


    Hope that helps.



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