Reading “Sapiens”: Extinction

One of the books I’m reading now is “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari. To be precise, listening to the the audiobook version.

While I occasionally could use a reference for this or that statement, and often feel depressed reading this, it’s a mind-twistingly fascinating read.

For instance.


One of the remarkable observations is that in all parts of the world, the arrival of homo sapiens is temporally associated with extinction of regional large fauna. Mammoths. Sable tooth tigers. Moa.

Just when I thought that primarily white people were bad, no, all of us are pretty awful.

I told Mary about the book on our day trip from Christchurch to Arthur’s pass. As we drove through the sheep and cattle pastures running along the majority of the roadside, we reflected how sad the view was: all that likely as forest just 200 years ago.

I told Mary about the large fauna extinction to make a point that it’s not just the Europeans who go around destroying stuff.

“True,” said Mary, “Maori ate all the moa, but at least they didn’t destroy the forest.” Fair enough; we are the worst.

The feature photo shows sculptures of moa in Franz Josef.

And here is the info plaque about all the birds out there before the sapiens showed up.

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