Terratornis was a genus of huge North American birds of prey.
Taxonomy: 1) Teratornis merriami: Because of the numbers foud at Rancho La Brae and the tar pits, is is by far the most researched species. Over a hundred specimens have been found. It stood about almost 30inches (or 75cm) tall with estimated wingspan of almost 3.8 metres (11.5 to 12.5 ft). Its weight has been estimated at 10 to 15 kilos. 2) Teratornis woodburnensis: In 1999, at Legion Park, Woodburn, Oregon. Parts of the teratornis woodburnesis were found. There was a humerus, parts of the cranium, beak, sternum, and vertebrae. Scientists were able to estimate a wingspan of over 4 meters (14 ft). The find dated to about 12,000 years ago, during the late pleistocene. In combination with this ‘wonder bird’ find. A stratum containing remains of megafauna such as mammoth, mastodon, ground sloths, and early human occupantion was discovered at the site. 3) Another form, “Teratornis” olsoni, was described from the Pleistocene of Cuba, but its affinities are not completely resolved; it might not be a teratorn, but has also been placed in its own genus, Oscaravis. There are also undescribed fossils from southwestern Ecuador, but apart from these forms, teratorns were restricted to North America.
Even when as large as these 4 meter wing spans (almost 15 feet). Bird fossils are very hard to find. It took ten thousand years for scientists to identify the hundreds of teratornis fossils mostly from California, Oregon, southern Nevada, Arizona, and Florida.
Description As in all modern birds, finger bones of ‘wonder birds’ were fused. Though, part of there index finger formed a shelf. It aided in hard take offs, and not when availably enabled to utilize drafts of strong upcurrents. Their legs were strong, there feet could hold prey and tear off pieces. Though, its believed there short length was not quite as forceful as some other birds of prey. Teratorns (or ‘wonder birds’) should have been able to take off by simply jumping and beating there wings. Because its legs were smaller, it seems to have been batter adapted for utilizing a short run into the wind, or off a large tree, ledge or cliff, as some other height point like birds do. They probably inhabited cliffs and rugged terrain, where they could take off and soar through the air easily.
Paleobiology, Diet and Feeding Habits Analysis of functional morphology of skull, its larger bill and ability to spread its mandibles and swallow its prey whole. Suggest it was an active and carnivorous predator rather than a scavenger. Similar to condors. Other viewpoints note that like many old world vultures that possess large bills. It allowed them to probe deeper into large carcasses. Small and sideward facing eyes and there low skull are also consistent with a scavenging lifestyle. For these crazy birds, small prey such as frogs, lizards, snakes, young birds, and rodents were swallowed whole. Larger mammels or carion would have been fed on similar to condors or vultures.
Locomotion An analysis of the teratornis pelvic area and stout; and, columnar hind leg bones suggests that its legs had greater anteroposterior ability than condors. And, that they were agily, well-suited for walking and stalking prey on the ground. More similarl to storks and turkeys. Opposite, their flight was similar to that of condors. The large condor birds fly by means of soaring on rising up-currents. Generally weak currents are subject to sudden changes in strength and direction. Their ability to react to these, sometimes sudden current changes, and maintain flight is essential. Contrary to some other birds who rely more on current. There ability to deal with wind, draft, and current changes. Has to do with their emarginated primary feathers. Which can separate, adapt and move independently during flight. Because of there size, they needed it.
Habitat Wonderbirds legs are quite short for it to take flight by just running on flat ground like some birds do. Because of this it has been hypothisied teratornis started at heights where it could take off, flap its large wings a few times, and soar through the air easily. These birds were thought to have been attracted to tar pits by struggling Pleistocene megafauna. Cats, mammoth, sloth and other fauna were attracted to the water that would pool on top of the tar. The teratorns sometimes would fight, or struggle with they megafauna and fall victim to the sludgy deposits. Yikes. At the tar or sludge deposits, vultures and other birds were also present. Teratornis would have been also adapted to hunt for smaller animals which also would had been around the pools.
Like eagles, skull and bill shape analysis identifys that fish may have also constituted a large portion of the ‘wonder birds’ diet. Though not quite as developed as an eagles legs. Fish are slippery and can be large. They had strong legs, stout claws, and gripping power. Its more likely they hunted like osprey, which also explains why it was significant at Rancho La Brae. They were probably fighting or struggling with pleistocene megafauna, as well as other birds.
Perhaps the Teratornis or ‘wonder bird’, are what some native Americans, aboriginals, and people spoke of mythologically. And, about a thunder-bird. No matter what the cause these were some big birds. Lets hear it for the giant north American bird of prey. Teratornis’s. Your wonder bird.
Found in the Arctic and Subarctic of North America and Asia. Arctic ground squirrel is mostly identified as Urocitellus parryii; or, in Inuktitut: ᓯᒃᓯᒃ, siksik.
People in Alaska, particularly around the Aleutians, refer to them as “par’kee” squirrels. Most likely because they are easy to snare, shoot or trap. There pelt is also relatively easy to skin. Those little firs bridge together good, for the attractive collar on many jackets and clothing.
There are 10 Subspecies: U. p. ablusus Osgood, 1903 U. p. kennicottii Ross, 1861 U. p. kodiacensis Ross, 1861 U. p. leucostictus Brandt, 1844 U. p. lyratus Hall and Gilmore, 1932 U. p. nebulicola Osgood, 1903 U. p. osgoodi Merriam, 1900 U. p. parryii Richardson, 1825 U. p. plesius Osgood, 1900 U. p. stejnegeri J. A. Allen, 1903 (Source wikipedia jan 2023)
Description: Arctic squirrels have a beige and tan coat with a white-spotted back. There face is a little shorter with small ears, a dark tail and white markings around its eyes. From summer to winter there coats change to red and yellow colorations, along with the cheeks and sides of the animal. In the fall, these patches are replaced with silverish fur.
Size: The average adult length is around 39 cm (15 in). Adult females are close to 750 g (26 oz). Males are around 100 g (3.5 oz) heavier. Because of the cold and sometimes sparse climate, is difficult to give a year round average mass.
Habitat: ‘Par’kee’ or the “t’sik-t’sik” thriling squirrels are native to the arctic tundra. Mountain slopes, river flats, banks, lakeshores and tundra ridges. They live in sandy soil due to easy digging and good drainage. The shallow burrows are in areas where the permafrost does not prevent them from digging. Arctic squirrels can excavate near the permafrost. And, greenhouse gasses like methane and carbon dioxide can be emitted.
Prey: arctic fox, red fox, wolverine, lynx, bear, eagles even pine marten have been known to snack on arctic squirrel.
Diet: They wake up in the spring hungry. Par’kee” squirrels feeds on grasses, sedges, mushrooms, bog rushes, bilberries, willows, roots, stalks, leaves, leaf buds, flowers, catkins, and seeds. They will also feed on insects, and are opportunists. Occasionally they will even feed on dead warm blooded creatures such as mice, snowshoe hares, caribou and other squirrels. In the late summer, the arctic ground squirrel begin to store food in its burrow so it has food when it wakes up in the spring.
Did you know? A squirrels ability to hiberate is being studied for better preservation of human organ transplant, and connection between brain, heart and muscle cells.
Hibernation: Arctic squirrels heart rate drops significantly during hibernation compared to when there out in the spring and summer. “T’sik t’sik” (thril noise). Your noticed. Sometimes as much as 100-200 beats per minute. There blood is special too. When asleep arctic squirrel body temperature have been recorded as low as −3 °C (27 °F). Somehow they emit ice nucleators which are necessary for the development of ice crystals. In the absence of them (ice nucleators), body fluids can remain liquid while in frigid state. ‘Par’kee’ or arctic squirrels, along with marmot and little brown bat are one of the few small arctic animals that can hibernate.
The arctic squirrel have been recorded in the north tens of thousands of years. It is not yet extinct. Let hear it for our loud little thriling friend.
Many European cave paintings from the upper paleolithic (Pleistocene) depict woolly rhino. As perhaps the more memorable and favorite Pleistocene megafauna of Europe. Probably due to the red orches, and plants, rock and charcoil combinations that were available some even black. The most famous drawings in one area found are south eastern Czech Republic. An archaeological site known for bone fences and buildings called Dolni Vestonice is believe to have had up to 200 drawings. Some scenes even dipicted two rhinos fighting each other. At another location, in Kapova cave some images even show rhino struck with spears or arrows, vindicating there eventual demise. Font de gauge and Lascaux also had significant woolly rhino drawings in France.
The hollow tooth lived 3 million to 10,000 years ago in and around Europe and Asia. Its size was quite large. Around 2000-3000kg, or 4400 to 6600 lbs. It’s height was about 2 m (6 1⁄2 ft) tall at the shoulder, and up to 4.6 m (15 ft) in total body length. There were some amazing features to minimize heat loss. A longer head and body and shorter legs. Its shoulder, a powerful hump and stored fat cells. It had shorter ears and tail. And, its skin was thicker. Compared to modern rhinos, there horns were quite large, and faced forward. They were around 1 meter (3.3 feet) to about 1.4 (4.7 feet). There individual weight reached up to 35 lbs. Those were some big horns.
Woolly rhino had been documented as found around the mid 1700s. Scientifically and archaeologically speaking, it was an exciting time. Russians were releasing data, that someone was brave enough to explore the Kapova cave. And, further east Russian scientists were uncovering more neolithic remains in the permafrost.
The big find was in 1907. Russian miners announced they had found a complete frozen skeleton buried in a ozokerite pit. In the 1910s, 20s and 30s, scientists continued on looking for, and analyzing remains. Many had claimed the woolly rhino had secret powers. They feared it had a similar resemblance to a dragon or mythical creation. By the 1930s numerous specimens were found. Many can now be found at: the Lviv National Museum in Russia, the Natural History Museum in Kraków (Poland), and, Natural History Museum in London.
In the past 20 years, permafrost has continued to melt. An additional 3-5 complete woolly rhinosaurus skeletons have been found. Scientists are already looking at bringing the woolly mammoth back. Maybe one day they will bring the woolly rhino or ceolodonta antiquitatis or ‘hollow tooth of antiquitity’ back.
With its large horns, the ceolodonta antiquitatis would have used them for battle, uncovering food and mammoth steppe, and to attract mates. When they did mate, its believed calves were raised similarly to white and black rhinos. Two titties on the females indicated 2-3 offspring were commonly raised at a time. If similar to modern rhinos the young reached sexual maturity in 5 years, and would go out on there own around 3. Because of there size adults had few predators. Though unless still maturing, it was the young that had to fend off hyenas, cave lions and human predators. The rhinos liked lowlands, river valleys, and plateaus with dry to arid climates. If necessary they could migrate higher but not if the snow was too deep. In combination, giant deer mammoth, reindeer, saga antelope and bison formed what some scientist now call the mammothus-ceolodonta faunal complex.
Did you know? In Zwolen Poland, and the Yana River devices were made from battered pelvic parts, Half meter spear throwers (atlatls). And spear tips from an assortment of sites were found. These bones were strong.
The woolly rhinos mostly fed on mammoth steppe. A plant vegetation diet was very common: grasses, flowers, forms and mosses. There wide upper lip easily pluck pieces from ground. In the winter, it also ate woody plants, conifers, willows and alder. Because of the low protein calories. They would eat massive amounts of grasses and food.
Around 130,000 years ago it was believed the woolly rhino had the widest range of all rhino species. Though seemingly it did not cross the Bering land bridge (at least in large numbers). It was probably due to low grass density, and having to compete with the larger mammoth, humans and different faunal complexs.
Did you know? Sites in Gudenus cave (Austria), and open air site at Konigsaue, Germany had heavily beaten bones with slash marks. It could have been partially from humans taking the marrow for nutrients and lantern fat. Also, making weapons and tools.
Though it is still widely debated. It is believed depletion of the pleistocene megafauna habitat. The loss of glacier, ice and mammoth steppe eventually contributed to the decline of the woolly rhino. Humans hunting, natural disasters and climate change would also would have contributed to there loss. So, lets hear it for the ceolodonda antiquitatis, or ‘hollow tooth of antiquitity’, bearing resemblance to the fancy European tradition you see today.
Located near Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil in the Dordogne department. Font-de-Gaume cave contents contain paintings in several colours dating to almost 30,000 years.
While exploring the area, in 1901 Denis Peyrony discovered the paintings.
Prehistoric people lived in the Dordogne valley around 25000 thousand years ago. The cave was inhabited for several thousand years. Something must have happened. Because there after, the cave is believed to be long forgotten.
Many of the drawings date from around 19,000 years ago. The most famous is of 5 bison, and was discovered by accident in the 1960s when scientists were cleaning the cave. More than 230 figures are believed to have been recorded in the cave. Included is 80 bison, 40 horses and 20 mammoths. Some say there are even more yet to be discovered.
Did you know? 200 of the paintings are in multi colour. Making Font-de-Gaume one of the best examples of polychrome (multi colour) paintings other than Lascaux.
In 1908 Cap Blanc was discovered under supervision, while others worked nearby uncovering Lascaux and the Lascaux cave. While digging they found one of the most impressive carvings from the upper paleolithic. Following the uncovering of this, the carving and additional frieze, in 1911, they built protective walls around the area. It included lowering the floor. And, at which point one of the workers hit a skull. It was Magdalenian women.
Located in the Marquay commune on the right bank of the Beune River, a few kilometers west of Eyzies-de-Tayac, in Dordogne.
What is a frieze? A frieze is a broad horizontal band of sculpted or painted decoration, especially on a wall near the ceiling.
The frieze depicts a number of animals, some in haut-relief, dating back 15,000 years. These include ten horses (one measuring 2.20 m long), at least three bison, ibex and several incomplete figures. The sculpted frieze occupies 13 of the 16 meters of the shelter. Some of the carving are as much as 30 cm deep. Red ochre covers much of the frieze and some of the area around it is now difficult to see. Among other flint tools probably used to create the frieze were found with the Magdalenian women and include burins and scrapers.
The skeleton known as Magdalenian women is that of an early modern human dating from 13,000 to 11,000 BCE, during the Magdalenian period. It is the most complete upper paleolithic skeleton in northern Europe. When Magdalenian women was acquired in 1926 for the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, by Henry Field, then curator of Physical Anthropology. It was hailed as one of the most significant acquisitions the large museum ever made. On the first day the precious skeleton was exhibited, tens of thousands of visitors flocked to the museum to see it.
In 1910 the site was classified as a French historical monument. Currently there are guided tours, a museum and replica of magdelenian women. Be sure to check it out!
Formed in the twisting calcareous rock passages of Mount Vispieres. Around 13,000 years ago a rockfall sealed the Altamiras entrance. Its contents were preserved until its eventual discovery, which occurred after a nearby tree fell and disturbed the fallen rocks.
It was 1868 was when Modeso Cubillas discovered the Altamira cave. The cave is approximately 1,000 m (3,300 ft) long. A few years after its discovery, feeling so inclined, Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, and the university of Madrid begin studying the cave. In 1880, with support of others, reports of the cave were published, to initial public acclaim. It began a debate began about the abstract thinking for the time, and if humans were able to draw this way 10s of thousands of years ago. It stopped around 1902, (and continued on), when more caves were found in this and the French region(s).
Did you know? Before 18,500; and, after 15,000 years ago there was evidence of human life. During the two millennia in-between, in was believed prehistoric megafauna inhibited the cave.
Cave life 10,000: The ‘polychrome ceiling’ is the most impressive feature of the cave. Depicting a herd of extinct steppe bison (bison priscus) in different poses; two horses, a large doe, and possibly a wild boar. Human occupation was limited to the cave mouth, although paintings were created throughout the length of the cave. Charcoal, ochre and hematite were used to create the images. Diluting these pigments to produce variations in intensity and creating an impression of chiaroscuro. They also exploited the natural contours of the cave walls to give their subjects a three-dimensional effect.
Did you know? The drawings were very well preserved. And, it could have been the oils and gases used in lanterns. A number of years after Altamiras discovery, in early 1900, it was discovered early ancestors or those from the stone age could had used marrow fat.
Visitors and replicas: During the 1970s, and 2000s, the paintings were being damaged by visitors carbon dioxide and vapor. Altamira was completely closed in the late 1970s; reopened for a bit, and again was closed in early 2000s.
Interested in seeing Altamiras reproductions? The National Museum and Research Center of Altamira; National Archaeological Museum of Spain; Deutsches Museum Germany (1964); and, Japan (1993).
Its soft clay-like floor retains the paw prints of cave bears along with large, rounded depressions that are believed to be the “nests” where the Europen cave bears slept. In Grotte Chauvet-point d’arc, fossilized bones are abundant, and include the skulls of cave bears, and the horned skull of an ibex.
Located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc. On a limestone cliff, above the former bed of the river Ardèche, in the Gorges de l’Ardèche, is Chauvet cave. It is situated above the previous course of the Ardèche river before the Pont d’Arc opened up. The gorges of the Ardèche region and the site are numerous. There are many caves, much of them having some geological or archaeological importance.
This cave is amongst the best preserved caves in the world. Chauvet cave remained untouched for possibly thousands of years before it was discovered in 1994. Evidence suggests that it was due to a landslide which covered its historical entrance. Left with the cave bear foot prints were little child’s footprints, the charred remains of ancient hearths, and carbon smoke stains from torches that lit the caves.
Like many European caves, dates have been a matter of dispute. A study published in 2012 supports placing the art approximately 32,000–30,000 years ago. A newer study published in 2016, using additional 88 radiocarbon dates ,showed two periods of habitation, one 37,000- 33,500; and, the other from 31,000 to 28,000 years ago. Most of the black drawings were from even earlier periods.
Artistic ‘shamanal’ components? Some say a magical ‘venus’ figure composed of what appears to be a vulva attached to an incomplete pair of legs is seen in the cave. Above the Venus, and in contact with it, is a bisons head. Most had led to describe the composite drawing as a Minotaur (half bull), or Centaur (half horse), or ??. The cave even has panels of red ochre hand stencils. From blowing the crushed up pigments of ochre over hands pressed against the caves surface. And, abstract markings—lines and dots—are found throughout the cave. There are also two unidentifiable images that have a vaguely butterfly or avian shape to them. This and/or the combination of subjects (including other caves in the area) lead many to believe that there was a ritual, shamanic, or magical aspect to these paintings, and lives of humans, tens of thousands of years ago.
Lots of drawings: The artists who produced these paintings used techniques rarely found in other cave art. Many of the paintings appear to have been made only after the walls were scraped clear of debris and concretions, leaving a smoother and noticeably lighter area upon which the artists worked. Popular paintings include what is suggested as being a dog, however these have been challenged as being a wolf. Hundreds of animal paintings have been catalogued, depicting at least 13 different species. Rather than depicting only the familiar herbivores that predominate in Paleolithic cave art, i.e. horses, aurochs, mammoths, etc., the walls of the Chauvet Cave feature many predatory animals, e.g., cave lions, leopards, bears, and cave hyenas. There is also paintings of whoolly rhinoceroses. Which had not been found in North America. One drawing, later overlaid with a sketch of a deer, is reminiscent of a volcano spewing lava, similar to the regional volcanoes that were active at the time. If confirmed, this would represent the earliest known drawing of a volcanic eruption.
Family members Sergey Zimov, and Nikita Zimov are testing a big hypothesis. Repopulating with large herbivores (and predators) can restore rich grasslands ecosystems. And, that if overhunting, and not climate change was primarily responsible for the pleistocene epoch, quanternary, or big event 11,700 years ago.
Another main aim, is to research the changes expected by the climatic effects of restoring the 10,000 year old plus ecosystem. The hypothesis is that change from tundra to grassland will result in a raised ratio of energy emission to energy absorption of the area, leading to less thawing of permafrost, and thereby less emission of greenhouse gases. It is also thought that stomping and the removal of snow by large herbivores will reduce permafrost insulation sucking in the pollution, even in cold winter.
Melted permafrost is changing the planet: Greenhouse gasses are warming the planet. Some areas, like Siberia (Russia has 11 of the 18 million square km of permafrost), it is observed more than others. But believe it or not. When there is a lot of snow, the ground and the permafrost do not get much colder in winter. Its why its called permafrost. When these soils thaw though, old microorganisms wake up and attack. What they have not had time to consume. Releasing carbon dioxide when the soil is dry, and methane when it is saturated with water. Due to climate change, it doesn’t help because this area, it is experiencing more rain. From the melting of the permafrost, if it was only co2 released, rather than both co2 and methane. The emissions is equivalent to that of human beings. For the greenhouse effect (and thus melting of the permafrost) methane gas can be 4 times worse than carbon dioxide. Resulting in even greater global warming. It is a big paradox. Many people do not understand this. The methane released from permafrost is more dangerous than carbon dioxide and both are bad. In the grassland ecosystem, everything that grew during the summer must be consumed in the winter. Large herbivores need to eat. The only way to access the grass during the cold season is to dig through the cold snow. The parks animals dig in the snow all winter long. This contributes greatly to the cooling of the soil. And, absorption and release of the greenhouse gases. It was observed that many greenhouse gases decreased during the first year and a half of covid19. While things were shut down. Instead of decreasing the methane gases increased. Due the permafrost melting. Regularly observed were appearances of new small springs where methane gases were bubbling up, in areas that used to be snow and permafrost. Other than the permafrost melting, and being replaced by trees shurbs and mosses. Not grasses, which prehistoric herbivores eat up, and stomp down. Many cannot see any other explanation for preventing this high concentration. The theory purposes that restoring the wildlife and ecosystem will absorb more greenhouse gases and help restore our natural environment. Sergey has been quoting telling the UN: “I created Pleistocene Park to observe how quickly animals could transform the moss tundra into productive grassland… why had the natural environment, which had known so many grasslands, horses, bison, mammoths, become so poor?” Permafrost has long been treated like an unwanted child in the scientific family. Reports are that by 2100 we will have lost another 10-20 percent. It is a big controversial topic.
Goals: Researching the effects of large herbivores on the arctic tundra/grasslands ecosystem, and preserving the environment; and, To research the climatic effects of the expected changes in the ecosystem. Here the key concept is that some of the effects of the large herbivores, such as eradicating trees and shrubs or trampling snow, will result in a stronger cooling of the ground in the winter, leading to less thawing of permafrost during summer and thereby less emission of greenhouse gases.
Sergei Zimov points out contradiction to this scenario: Similar climatic shifts occurred in previous interglacial periods without causing such massive environmental changes as we are seeing today; Those large herbivores of the former steppe that survived until today (e.g. musk oxen, bison, horses) thrive in humid environments just as well as in arid ones; and, The climate (both temperatures and humidity) in today’s northern Siberia is in fact most similar to that of the mammoth steppe.
Did you know? Permafrost is a large global carbon reservoir that has remained frozen throughout much of the Holocene. It is ground that continuously remains below 0 °C (32 °F) for two or more years. It is not necessarily under the snow too. Sometimes it is found hundreds of meteres deep. Due to the recent climate changes, the permafrost is increasingly thawing, releasing stored carbon and forming thermokarst lakes. When the thawed permafrost enters the thermokarst lakes, its carbon is converted into carbon dioxide and methane and released into the atmosphere. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the methane emissions from thermokarst lakes have the potential to initiate a positive feedback cycle. In which increased atmospheric methane concentrations lead to amplified global climate change. Which keeps the ball rolling to more permafrost thaw, more methane and more carbon dioxide emissions. Included in the higher temperatures, rain and climate change you see in almost all places today.
Implementation & background: regional pleistocene ecoregions. Regenerate the pleistocene terrain with its different ecological habitats such as taiga, tundra, steppe and alpine terrain: Mainly recreate the extensive grasslands that covered the Beringia region in the late pleistocene. Mammoth steppe with large and medium herbivores. Species woolly mammoth, woolly rhino, steppe wisent, lena Horse, muskox, and reindeer. Saiga antelope, some massive herds. On the edges, barrier shrub-like terrain, and dry conifer forests (similar to taiga): woolly rhinoceros, moose, wapiti, yukon wild ass, and camels. Beyond this, mountains, more mountain-going animals like: snow sheep. Variety of carnivorous mammals. Like on the plains: beringian cave lion, apex predators, shared grey wolf, cave hyena, homotherium, brown bear, wolverine, and arctic fox. In shrubs and forests there were also brown bears, wolverines, cave bears, lynxes, tigers, leopards, and red foxes.
Did you know? Siberian tiger and Amur leopard occupied the southern present Russian-Sino border in the Amur and Primorye regions. And, both have been purposed for the park.
Proposed procedure: Few of the former species of megafauna are left; and their population density is extremely low, too low to affect the environment. Desired results density raised artificially by fencing in and concentrating existing large herbivores. A large variety of species is important as each species concerns. For example are the effects on the flora (are the mosses being replaced by grasses, etc.), the effects on the atmosphere (changes in levels of methane, carbon dioxide, water vapor) and the effects on the permafrost. Once a high density of herbivores over a vast area has been reached, predators larger than the wolves will have to be introduced to keep the megafauna in check.
Did you know? It is believed anywhere permafrost currently exsists, or even areas burned from forest fire, the mammoth steppe can be re-created. Reducing greenhouse gases. The rate of decomposition of organic matter in the soil where there were fires depends mainly on temperature. Introducing grasses and mammoth steepe slows the process down. The only way to force the soil to retain carbon is to cool it down. For a long time, scientists have known, that dark forests absorb the sun’s rays, while the lighter, snow-covered grasslands reflect them in winter. Having a combination can have positive effects on the permafrost and environment.
Pleistocene progress: -1988–1996: The first grazing experiments began in 1988 at the northeast science station in Chersky with yakutian horses. -1996–2004: In 1996 a 50 ha (125 acre) enclosure was built in Pleistocene Park. As a first step in recreating the ancient landscape, the yakutian horses were introduced, as horses most abundant ungulates. Moose, already present in the region, introduced. The effects of larger animals (mammoths and buffalo) created by using a tank and 8×8 Argo to crush pathways through the willowshrub.
Experiment working: The vegetation in the park started to change. In the areas where the horses grazed, the soil compacted. Mosses, weeds and willow shrub were replaced by grass. Flat grassland is now the dominating landscape inside the park. When air temperature sank to −40 °C (−40 °F) in winter, the temperature of the ground was found to be only –5 °C (+23 °F) under an intact cover of snow, but −30 °C (−22 °F) where the animals had trampled down the snow. The grazers thus help keep permafrost intact, thereby lessening the amount of methane released by the tundra. -2004–2011: A new fence was erected. After complete, reindeer and more moose were brought into the park. A 32 meter (105 foot) high tower was erected in the park, in 2007, that constantly monitors the levels of methane, carbon dioxide and water vapor in the park’s atmosphere. Muskox from Wrangel island were reintroduced in 2010 In 2011, Altai wapiti were introduced -2011–2016: Construction of a new branch begun on the “Wild field section”, and greater energy monitoring stations were put in. -2017–present: yak, and sheep were brought to the park. More plans for future.
Reception & Controversial aspects: Critics admonish that introducing alien species could damage the fragile ecosystem of the existing tundra. Scientist Sergey Zimov replies: “Tundra – that is not an ecosystem. Such systems had not existed on the planet [before the disappearance of the megafauna], and there is nothing to cherish in the tundra. Of course, it would be silly to create a desert instead of the tundra, but if the same site would evolve into a steppe, then it certainly would improve the environment. If deer, foxes, bovines were more abundant, nature would only benefit from this. And people too. However, the danger still exists, of course, you have to be very careful. If it is a revival of the steppes, then, for example, small animals are really dangerous to release without control. As for large herbivores – no danger, as they are very easy to remove again.” Another concern point is a majority of species cant be introduced in harsh conditions. For example, according to some critics, the yakutian horses, would not survive without food supply and human intervention. Mostly in the fall when water freezes and before the snow hits (the horses eat the snow for water, but cant lick the ice as easily).
Positive reception: Project drawdown claims the park as: “100 most substantive solutions to global warming”. Total costs and lifetime savings were monitored in the study. In January 2020, a study from the University of Oxford assessed the viability of the park’s goals. It was estimated, if three large-scale experimental were set up, each containing 1000 animals. Over a ten year period, that 72,000 metric tons of carbon could be held and generate 360,000 US dollars in carbon revenues.
Visitors: The park is a select hub for a small number of journalists; and, international scientists, and students, who come from around the world to conduct their own ecological research and experiments.
Size and administration: Pleistocene Park is a 160 km square scientific nature reserve (Zakaznik) consisting of willow brush, grasslands, swamps, forests and a multitude of lakes. The average temperature in January is about –33 °C; and, in July +12 °C; annual precipitation is 200–250 mm. The reserve is surrounded by a 600 km 2 buffer zone.
Animals: Herbivores: Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus); Elk; Moose (Alces alces); Yakutian horses; Muskox (Ovibos moschatus); and European bison, Bison bonasus).
Muskoxen family: Domestic yak (Bos mutus grunniens); Edilbaevskaya sheep (a domestic breed of sheep); Kalmykian cattle (a domestic breed of cattle adapted for the Mongolian steppe); Plains bison (Bison bison bison); Orenburg fur goat (Capra aegagrus hircus); and, Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus).
Carnivores: Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx); Tundra wolf (Canis lupus albus); Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus); Eurasian brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos); Wolverine (Gulo gulo); Red fox (Vulpes vulpes); Sable (Martes zibellina); and, Stoat (Mustela erminea).
Did you know? Harvard universities geneticist George Church, and others are working on a plan to genetically resurrect woolly mammoths.
Animals that could be placed in the park if revived from extinction: Woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius); Cave lion (Panthera spelaea); Steppe bison (Bison priscus); Woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis); Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus); and, Cave bear (Ursus spelaeus).
Slip into your own pleistocene freedom. Wander free and create your own natural time of life. Your kind will grow stronger and stronger, as the millennia go on and on and on. Earth may overflow with life one day again. Maybe one day, all of our mistakes may even be taken back. And if it does. And, if we save the planet and be ourselves, that will be the sh*t.
It is located in Montesquieu-Avantès, in the Ariège département. Near the Spanish border. The cave is named for three brothers (French: trois frères), Max, Jacques, and Louis Begouën, who, along with their father Comte Henri Begouën, discovered it and the signigifance in 1914.
Big info: One of the paintings, known as “The Sorcerer”, is the “most famous and enigmatic human figure” with the features of several different animals. Though given there age, each and exact characteristics remain a matter of debate. Conesyahoo had stated ‘it was an irish elk with a magicians head spitting something’.
Engravings were found in the cave and nearby included what is though to be the earliest representation of an insect. Also appeared were what appear to be several birds, and a cave cricket found on a fragments of a bison bone. On the other walls are whats believed to be: lions, owls, and bison. A horse overlaid with club-like symbols, and an apparent speared brown bear vomiting blood. Aside from the “Sorcerer”, other human-like figures can be seen at Trois-Frères, such as the man-bison, and a character known as the “small sorcerer” who appears to be playing a nose-flute.
Location: The Trois-Freres cave is part of a single cave-complex formed by the Volp River. The complex is divided into three caves; the central Trois-Freres, Enlène to the east, and the Tuc d’Audoubert to the west. The river flows through some of the lower sections. With different galleries sectioned on each level and room.
Did you know: One area, the ‘salle des bisons’ contains two masterfully modeled bison, which were sculpted in clay with a stone spatula-like tool and the artist’s fingers. It is believed the pair are among the largest and finest surviving prehistoric sculptures.
Kapova cave (Капова пещера), Shul’gan-Tash ( капающая вода), dripping water, or Шүлгәнташ in Bashkir. It is a limestone karst cave in the Burzyansky District of Bashkortostan. About 200 km (120 mi) south-east of the city of Ufa, above Kazakhstan. It is in the southern Ural mountains.
In Bashkir tradition. Shulgan was mostly negatively attributed. To the owner of the underworld, or underwater king. Given the history and geology, both the lake and cave also bear part of his name. Bearing a significant part of Russian and the areas folklore and tradition.
Kapova cave entrance: Today, this area of wild dense forest, and high white rocks has changed. It is the habitat of deer, bear, and bashkort bee. Around 10-20 thousand years ago the climate and the landscape was different. Summer was short, while winter months were very long and cold. Much of the landscape was Tundra. In the clefts and caves among the rocks humans huddled together to keep warm. The entrance to the cave is situated on the southern slope of the Sarykuskan mountain. It forms a huge arch of 30 m (98 ft) height. To the left of the entrance to the cave is a lake from which the river Shul’gan originates. Inside the cave flows the underground Shul’gan river. That created the cave. This three-storey cave system is huge. Its about 3 km (1.9 mi) long, with a vertical amplitude of 165 m (541 ft) including siphon underwater cavities, large halls, galleries, underground lakes and the river.
The portal: The mouth of the ‘Shulgantash cave’ is now called the portal. Deep in the portal the Shulgan stream comes up through the earth forming a pool named Blue lake. Its believed the lake is bottomless. Below 33 Meters (108ft) in depth it joins a gigantic underground water cavity. A passageway leads from the portal to the succession of the ground level halls, and galleries. Some are as high and wide as 20-30 meters. The halls and galleries are connected by tunnels of various lengths and shapes. Some of the walls too are covered with calcite sinter. Which is quite deep and intricately shaped. According to scientist P.I. Rychkov, Bashkirs (Bashkorts) usually hid here their famiIies, and horses during wars, and their uprisings. The cattle naturally stayed in the lower floor of the cave, while women, children and old men went upstairs. Food was always stored here.
Cave drawings: These Russian cave drawings, discovered in the late 1950s were the first of there age, beyond France and Spain. And, unrivaled versus anywhere else on earth. For many centuries all the thousands of year old cave drawings here had been covered with a semi-transparent calcite crust. In 1976, a known archaeologist O.N. Bader was asked to begin cleaning some of the pictures off. Traces of primitive, human life, spread, red paint, as well as, ornament of geometrical figures. Neolithic signs (and, older) of human life are in the large cave system. Two-coloured pictures of long-haired horses, beside them a trapezium like geometrical figure, and a little further, a group of geometrical signs. There is a picture of an anthropoid creature, the only one in Shulgantash cave. Ancient people, various animals: horses, rhinos, bulls, bisons, and mammoths. Geometrical signs and figures. In all, there are many drawings in ‘Kapova, Shul’gan-Tash, dripping water or Шүлгәнташ cave’. Still being analyzed daily. Size varies from 44 to 112 centimeters. Uranium-thorium dating showed that the oldest drawings in the Kapova cave were made 36,400 years ago. That’s amazing.
Underground lake in the cave: In one of the halls you can see the river Shulgan in its underground flow. A scuba diver traveled almost 330 meters (1082 feet or 1/3km) into a siphon inside the cave having finding no end to it. Due to the geology of the gave. Silvery fringe of calcite icicles hang from some of the ceilings. And, among the sublime decorations of the cave are “milky rivers” composed of there crystals. Fragile and crisp. They haven`t become solid like pearls yet. Adding discrepant beauty to the somewhat dark underworld place. On some of the walls are crusts of marble onyx, in some places half a metre deep.
Did you know? Marble onyx has only been found in caves.
Discovery, excavation: It had long been said, locals were afraid to visit or document about the cave. The first written information was in 1760. Initial Russian academy of sciences member, P.I. Rychkov gave a detailed description of the cave ground level in his article: “Description of a cave located in the Orenburg province near the Belaya River, which of all the caves in Bashkiria are the most glorious and revered”. From then on, other scientists, foresters and locals begain documenting and taking explorations into the cave. Even offering tours for explorers and those so inclined. Beginning around the 1960s, employees of Bashkir state university begin compiling a real map of the cave. A number of years later, when some of the scientists died, and they decided to close the cave in 1979. When re-opened in the 1980s, dating technology had also increased. Scientists were able to analyze the drawings greater. And, in addition, find a clay fat lamp; stone, mostly flint tools; pieces of ocher, jewelry in the form of beads; and, pendants made of stone and small shells of fossil mollusks. Bones of animals of the pleistocene: mammoth, cave bear, fox, hare, marmot were also found. Even pikas, and jerboa. Many large archaeologists agree Shulgan-Tash cave was a sanctuary and one of the most significant pieces of history in Russia. Check it out today.