Research suggests that humans engaged in activities causing massive environmental change as early as12,000 years ago. And the planet is still reeling from our distant ancestors actions to this day.
The disappearance of the Pleistocene megafauna 12,000 years ago is often attributed to human hunting at the end of the last ice age. If this is the case, then new research shows that this extermination has not only left the world without large animals (elelphants, hippos, giraffes and rhinos being the noteable survivors of the holocaust) but also left much of the land suffering from a lack of essential nutrients.
Christopher Doughty of Oxford University revealed that there is a deficit of vital minerals such as phosphorus in the Amazon basin because large mammals no longer roam the region to fertilise the soil with their dung.
The study calculated that nutrient-dispersal has been effectively stopped since the extinction of the mega-fauna who had carried nutrients far beyond the rivers into infertile areas.