Pleistocene Rewilding1 the term for what I have been talking about, as far as rebuilding the ecosystems and wildlife that we humans were part of all over the world in prehistoric times. And there are small but growing groups of people that are now starting to try to figure out how to go about it on their continents. However, few have the ambitious vision that I do and none are planning to go about it in partnership with the ranchers and large land owners that own the land. I talk about these other efforts elsewhere in this website and it is important to learn from their efforts.

There are also other efforts in progress around the world, where people are trying to create or expand wild areas. These efforts are important but they are . . . Pleistocene light. They want to do everything to bring back the wilderness and wildlife that existed 150 years ago, which is good. That ecosystem back then was much wilder and healthier than the ecologically sterile grazing land and farms out west today.

But what gets my attention is the grim reality that wilderness of 150 years ago was only a fraction of what it had been. This continent, as well as all the others, are ecologically impoverished compared to what they used to be, basically almost hunted out of large animals by ancient man more than 10,000 years ago. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this list of all the mega fauna species that has gone extinct, as well as the possible proxies we could use if we want to bring back animals that could serve the same ecological niche. I hope you enjoy because it took me an unbelievably long time for me to get this chart right!


Why try to bring back an impoverished wilderness, to do everything but bring back extinct species or replace them proxies. Why think small? I’m hoping that by now you have realized that the main thing that will draw people to Thunder Wilds is the wildlife.

Order Group Species Scientific Name Proxy Date of Ext.
Xenarthra Armadillos Northern Pampathere Holmesina septentrionalis ? 9,880 ya
Glyptodonts Glyptodont Glyptotherium arizonae ? 10,000 ya
Flat-Footed Ground Sloths Jefforson’s ground sloth Megalonyx jeffersonii ? 9,400 ya
Browsing Ground Sloths Rusconi’s ground sloth Eremotherium rusconii ? 10,000 ya
Shasta ground sloth Nothrotheriops shastensis ? 10,780 ya
Grazing Ground Sloths Harlan’s ground sloth Paramylodon harlani ? 13,890 ya
Carnivora Wolves, Dogs, Relatives Dire wolf Canis dirus Gray wolf 8,000 ya
Coyote Canis latrans Coyote n/a
Bears Black bear Ursus americanus Black bear n/a
Grizzly bear Ursus arctos horribilis Grizzly bear n/a
Florida cave bear Tremarctos floridanus ? 8,000 ya
Cats Saber-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis ? 8,000 ya
Scimitar cat Homotherium serum ? 10,000 ya
True Cats American lion Panthera leo atrox African lion? 10,370 ya
Puma Felis concolor Puma n/a
Beavers Giant beaver Castoroides ohioensis ? 10,000 ya
American beaver Castor canadensis Beaver n/a
Horses Scott’s horse Equus scotti Mustang 10,000 ya
Deer, Bison, Camels Caribou Rangifer tarandus Caribou n/a
Moose Alces alces Moose n/a
Broad-fronted moose Alces latifrons ? 2,000 ya
Stag moose Cervalces scotti ? 10,230 ya
Elk Cervus elaphus Elk n/a
Pronghorn Antilocapra americana Pronghorn n/a
Saigas New World Saigas Saiga tatarica Saiga 12,000 ya
Sheep, Goats,   Musk Oxen Harrington’s mountain goat Oreamnos harringtoni ? 11,160 ya
Dall sheep Ovis dalli Dall sheep n/a
Bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis Bighorn sheep n/a
Shrub ox Euceratherium collinum ? 11,500 ya
Woodland musk ox Symbos cavifrons ? 11,100 ya
Bison American Buffalo Bison bison American Buffalo n/a
Camels and llamas Yesterday’s camel Camelops hesternus Dromedary camel? 10,800 ya
Kansas camel Camelops kansanus Dromedary camel? 10,000 ya
Huerfano camel Camelops huerfanensis Dromedary camel? 10,000 ya?
Blanco llama Hemiauchenia blancoensis Llama? 10,000 ya
Large-headed llama Hemiauchenia macrocephala Llama? 10,000 ya
Stout-legged llama Palaeolama mirifica ? 10,000 ya
Peccaries Flat-headed peccary Platygonus compressus European wild boar? 11,900 ya
Long-nosed peccary Mylohyus nasutus European wild boar? 10,000 ya
Collared peccary Tayassu tajacu Collared peccary n/a
Elephants, relatives American mastodon Mammut americanum Asian elephant? 8,000 ya
Columbian mammoth Mammuthus columbi ? 10,000 ya
Jefferson’s mammoth Mammuthus jeffersonii ? 10,000 ya
Wooly mammoth Mammuthus primigenius ? 10,500 ya
Pygmy mammoths Mammuthus exilis ? 10,000 ya
Aves Condors California condor Gymnogyps californianus California condor n/a
Parakeets Carolina parakeet Conuropsis carolinensis ? 75 ya
Pigeons Passenger pigeon Ectopistes migratorius ? 100 ya
Reptiles Tortoises Bolson tortoise Gopherus flavomarginatus Bolson tortoise n/a

1. A term often used by Josh Donlan

2. Chart created from Ice Age Mammals of North America, by Ian M. Lange and other sources.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: