General, Research, Technology

How did people harm nature millions of years ago?

It's hard to realize, but every momenthumanity destroys nature. We cut down forests, pollute the air with factories and cars, and also throw tons of plastic garbage daily. Therefore, it is not surprising that the temperature of our planet gradually rises and melts glaciers, and inside huge whales heaps of bottles and fishing nets are found. It is noteworthy that the detrimental effect of man on nature and animals began not tens or even hundreds of years ago. People have been harming the environment for more than a million years in a row. But how is this possible if ancient people did not have cars and they did not produce plastic waste?

Millions of years ago, there were no factories or cars, but people still harmed nature

According to a study whose results werepublished in the scientific publication Ecology Letters, our distant ancestors began to harm nature and animals. In a study of fossils found in East Africa, Swedish scientists noticed that the number of predatory animals began to decline markedly after our ancestors expanded their brains. According to biologist Daniel Silvestro, hunting for herbivores, ancient people deprived predators of food, which led to their gradual death.

In your opinion, did ancient people harm the environment in this way or is it just natural selection? You can share your opinion in the comments or in our Telegram chat.

When did man begin to destroy nature?

According to scientists similar to modern peopleprimates appeared only about 200,000 years ago. But our distant ancestors like Australopithecus originated earlier and lived much longer. Studying the fossilized remains of people and animals, scientists found that the number of predators was reduced almost synchronously with how ancient people developed their brains. It turns out that the more skills people mastered, the more competition they made to animals.

Ancient people could leave some predators without food

Researchers noted that the greatest harmpeople inflicted on the environment when they mastered the so-called kleptoparasitism. This term is understood to mean a survival strategy when some animals take food from other species. This behavior can be observed almost everywhere. For example, gulls and monkeys sometimes like to steal human food, and even lions and hyenas often eat someone else’s prey.

Do you know that the traces of ancient mammoth hunters can be found even without excavations?

It is very convenient and virtually risk-free.survival strategy, so the ancient people probably very willingly used it. Only now, eating someone else's prey, they could doom them to certain death from starvation. How many carnivores were destroyed during the existence of intelligent people is unknown. But for sure there were a lot of them.

Perhaps, if not for the influence of ancient people, now on our planet would walk around the size of a polar bear

With all this, scientists believe that the harm of the ancientspeople was just scanty compared to what harm we do today. To realize the magnitude of the problem, just read our material on how much and how ships pollute the oceans.