World without man: an unimaginable hypothesis in the anthropocentric view of nature but possible in abstract thanks to the theories of science. Recent research conducted by scholars at Aarhus University in Denmark has painted a picture of a planet, without modern man’s presence, like a giant wildlife park where the animal species at risk today roamed freely.
Wolves, bears and more
The first assumptions from the remarkable study on how the world would look without man is that Europe, with no human intervention, would be the favoured habitat of moose, bears and wolves. This should not surprise us at all: the canine, for example, has found its place within the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Italian Alps, positively influencing the balance between species through its role as predator.
The bear, up until a few years ago a natural inhabitant of the Alps, has literally found refuge from human hunting and occupation of the lowlands by adapting to mountain living even though the animal is more suited to living in the plains. This aspect has been effectively explained by Soren Faurby, co-author of the research conducted at the Danish University: “One example is the brown bear, which now virtually only lives in mountainous regions because it has been exterminated from the more accessible and most often more densely populated lowland areas.”
Large mammals and the paradox of Africa
The researchers’ estimates also saw North and South America as well as Northern Europe populated by endangered species. Not only does this research allow us to glimpse the possibility of a world without man but also adds curious considerations about the proliferation of large mammals such as elephants and rhinos in this hypothetical land. Of course, nowadays, these gentle giants are mostly concentrated in Africa and represent the collective consciousness of the continent. In fact, the presence of these beautiful animals below the Equator is not due to climate change or environmental factors, the researchers claim, but the absence of the intervention of man. One of the researchers Jens-Christian Svenning, commented: “Here man, because of multiple factors, failed to settle in the same way as other parts of the planet.” And the same is true comparing the plains, a typical place of human settlement, with the mountains, which because their structures don’t represent ideal habitat for humans: the places where man doesn’t master guarantees living space for other animals.