An Ode to the Extinct Megafauna
Humans, we drove you to this fate, / Our hunger for your meat, / You were the perfect food for us, / But now, we must admit defeat. …
Oh, mighty megafauna,
Gone but not forgotten,
Your massive forms a wonder,
But now, alas, we must rotten.
Wooly mammoth and giant sloth,
Giant armadillo too,
Marsupial with great girth,
All extinct, what can we do?
Humans, we drove you to this fate,
Our hunger for your meat,
You were the perfect food for us,
But now, we must admit defeat.
It's ironic, really, isn't it?
That we evolved because of you,
But now, our appetite has led
To the loss of all you do.
We mourn your passing, megafauna,
For you were truly great,
But perhaps, one day, we'll find a way
To resurrect and seal our fate.
Until then, we'll just have to dream
Of feasting on your meat,
Oh, mighty megafauna,
How we long for your defeat.
I eat, and benefit from eating, nearly exclusively meat. See this post for details. Because of this you might wonder, how could the carnivore diet be beneficial to some people when it seems so extreme?
I’m not sure either, but I am reminded of a talk by Amber O’Hearn where she proposes an explanation for how this could be. Perhaps eating large amounts of meat is evolutionarily consistent; perhaps humans evolved as hypercarnivores.
But even if humans were adapted to eating large amounts of meat, how would that have been practical?
Earth used to host many species of megafauna: wooly mammoths, 8,000-lb sloths (Megatherium), armadillos "roughly the same size and weight as a Volkswagen Beetle" (Glyptodon), 7,000-lb marsupials (Diprotodon), and many more. They were great— and probably very tasty. Their existence made eating large amounts of meat consistently a practical possibility for pre-agricultural humans. (Moreover, unlike medium-sized and smaller game, megafauna were the only(?) source of large amounts of fat, something which the human body seems uniquely adapted to eating.)
But then almost all of the megafauna went extinct! :( Pretty recently, too, as late as 10,000 years ago. And this was probably because we ate them to extinction.I guess they were just too yummy to spare!
And if that’s all true, that would leave us in the ironic position where we evolved to eat giant, hyperfatty animals that no longer exist because we ate them all.
Credit to ChatGPT for producing the ode.
See this very long and cool twitter thread that correlates megafaunal extinctions to early human expansion. (Wiki 1; Wiki 2)
And the large animals that still exist today are only the ones we spared from extinction, and maybe are much less yummy:( So the perfect meat does not exi…— Actually, there’s a startup working to genetically re-engineer mammoths! I'm soooo excited
I feel a bit sad about eating elephants though :c. But, hey, a single mammoth could feed me for years instead of the one cow for ~six months, as is the case currently.