Africa, also known as The Cradle of Human Race(includes Homo Sapiens), is where the first human appeared and evolved before 2.5 million years ago. 45,000 years ago, humans of all species inhabited only on the Afro-Asian landmass, knowing almost nothing about the outer world. The sea barrier prevented not only humans but all plant and animal species aware of nothing but their isolated lands.
European colonization of India started in the 16th century (1501) and followed every possible way to explore the resources of India. Both these colonizations affected the Ecosystem of the alien environment either directly or indirectly. Let’s see how they affected the environment in a detailed method:
CASE 1: Australia by Homo Sapiens
Homo sapiens colonized Australia around 45,000 years ago. The continent saw the extinction of its megafauna to an extent that the entire food chain throughout the ecosystem was broken and rearranged. They almost mastered fire agriculture before they set their foot on Australian sandy beaches and as they pushed forward, they encountered many unknown creatures like the Marsupial lion, which is the size of a modern tiger and used to be the continent’s largest predator.
Dragon-like lizards, giant diprotodons, koalas, and snakes that are not of their present size are some of the large mammals that vanished after a few thousand years of their arrival. Of the 24 animal species weighing 50 kilograms or more, 23 became extinct.
CASE 2: America by Homo Sapiens
Homo sapiens were credited for being the first and only human species to reach the western hemisphere. They reached America from the land that connected north-eastern Siberia to Alaska. Homo sapiens who were adapted to living in African savannah can’t bear the cold climatic conditions of Siberia, so they updated their clothing by sewing layers of animal’s skin and fur to keep them warm. The Arctic lands were full of large, juicy animals like reindeer and mammoths, which is a vast quantity of meat, fur, and valuable ivory. Mammoths were hit badly on these grounds.
Sapiens colonization in America affected large mammals like saber-tooth cats, ground sloths, oversized lions, native horses, camels, giant rodents, and mammoths. Within 2,000 years of the arrival of sapiens, North America lost 34 out of 47 genera of large mammals. South America lost 50 out of 60.
CASE 3: India by Europeans
The colonization of European countries (particularly British) affected not only society but also the resources and wildlife of India to a great extent. The development of railways from the 1850s increased the value of wood to lay railway line sleepers, so many trees were cut down and strict forest laws were implemented.
In the early 1850s, nearly 35,000 trees were being cut annually in Madras presidency alone. British forced the people of India to cultivate opium so that it could increase its revenue, but this opium cultivation impoverished the fertile soil of Gangetic plain for a long time. British encouraged the poaching of wild animals and even gave rewards for killing tigers, leopards, wolves, etc.
They saw large animals as signs of a wild, primitive and savage society. In the period of 1875-1925, nearly 80,000 tigers, 1,50,000 leopards and 2,00,000 leopards were killed for rewards in India.
Even though if we consider Homo sapiens as primitive, the act done by them made many mammals, insects, and plants extinct. Many historians didn’t believe that sapiens were the sole culprits for the extinction of animals and plants, they blamed climate change. But climate change will first affect marine mammals, which it didn’t and also most of the large mammals lived undisturbed for thousands of years and became extinct only after sapiens entry.
Leave a Reply