SA Perspectives: Serengeti in the Dakotas; June 2007; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 1 Page(s)
Some people love science for the crazy ideas, the ones that transport you beyond the everyday grind: black holes, alien life, anything with the word "quantum." Others prefer the not-crazy ideas, the practical solutions: zippier computers, 100-mpg cars, cures for cureless diseases.
So what do you make of an idea like Pleistocene rewilding? It manages to be both crazy and not crazy at the same time. As the article by C. Josh Donlan describes, a team of biologists has proposed a decades-long project to restock North America with large mammal species like those that roamed the continent before humans crossed the Bering Strait--species such as camels, lions and elephants (the nearest thing to mammoths). The undertaking would culminate in a vast national park--1,000 square miles or more--stretching across the Great Plains. The plains states are depopulating anyway, whereas Africa and Asia are filling up. So the project would transplant wildlife from where it gets in the way to where it would have plenty of room.