#942 - Dan Flores

Apr 5, 2017

Dan Flores is a writer and historian who specializes in cultural and environmental studies of the American West. His recent books "Coyote America: A Natural & Supernatural History" and "American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains" are both available now via Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/American-Serengeti-Animals-Great-Plains/dp/0700622276/ref=pd_sbs_14_img_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=9VRNEM68AF50K4W4WFHJ

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hey everybody what's going on I got some comedy dates coming up there all available at joerogan.net Ford tour the ones that still have tickets available are May 12th at the Verizon Wireless Theater in Grand Prairie Texas just outside of Dallas and May 12th that's with Tony Hinchcliffe and Ian Edwards and then the next one is July 7th that is at the Cobb Theater at the MGM in Las Vegas Nevada that's a day before the big UFC event there Joe Rogan. Net forward slash tour for all that stuff in the dates of the going to be coming up soon I'll have those announced quite shortly podcast brought you by onnit.com is what we call a total human optimization company what we're trying to do is provide people with all the tools meaning tools like strength

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offering listen to this podcast 50% off your first order when you go to naturebox.com Rogan that's naturebox.com Rogan for 50% off your first order naturebox.com my guest today is Dan Flores and Dan is the author of coyote America he's also the author of American Serengeti and he is a I guess he's a wildlife historian so what he is in a former professor and a brilliant guy and just man I love this podcast and this is a book that I've been talking about on the podcast that I heard about from Steve rinella he was on Stephen Ellis meat eater podcast and it's amazing episode should check that out as well and I said a great time with Dan so enjoy it folks Dan Flores

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set a reminder check it out The Joe Rogan Experience

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Malott how are you sir I'm very good Joe is good to meet you man the great to meet you and thank you very much for doing so I've learned more about coyotes over the last couple of months reading your book and listen to podcast with my good friend Steve rinella which was amazing what a crazy animal that is around my neighborhood and it became a very very close to me when I saw one of my chickens get captured by a coyote and a sub watch them hop the fence with a chicken in his mouth like God damn these motherfuckers is all around us especially I live in a fairly rural area around here about 40 minutes outside of La so it's you know the nights are quiet and hear him screaming in the night and slow much so I started reading your book then yeah they're amazing animal I mean I think there's not really another mammal side from us that has a biography like these animals do and that's kind of

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reasons I got fascinated with them they were doing the same thing around me when I was a kid growing up in Louisiana I mean and that's sort of the beginning of my my getting captivated by these little small wolves because they were suddenly showing up in the bayous and swamps of Louisiana when I was 12 13 14 years old as far as I knew this was an animal that was supposed to be in the deserts of the West and so that seemed to be something that you know commanded one's attention that this Critter is is appearing in places where you would never expect it now course everybody in the country is dealing with them that is so fascinating that in our lifetime they've spread for the American southwest to every single state and literally every single city in the country yesterday

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somewhere in Georgia they have some sort of a bounty on these wolves or coyotes that's what one thing a lot of people don't realize that a coyote is a wolf it's a separate species from gray wolves and red wolves but it's out of the North American wolf line many coyotes are distinctively North American animals that come out of Cana Devolution that began your 5.3 million years ago so now they're they're small wolves and they're offering some sort of bounty for each coyote killed now what's fascinating about calling the night there sexually making roll call and when one of them doesn't respond the female generates more pups

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yeah it's it's one of the you know one of the many things is probably happening when they're when they're howling at me they are taking a census basically of of coyote populations in the area and the result of of that census can very well be it produces some sort of chemical or metabolic change in in the females the breeding females the alpha ones and they end up often times having larger litters of pups which is why something like this and I was just at South Carolina two weeks ago and there was a lot of conversation about this this is Georgia Bounty because in South Carolina to another place where coyotes are fairly new the only been there in the last 20 or 25 years they were arguing that I know they had some pretty good science that coyotes are taking you know and some areas as many as 60% of the whitetail deer

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fonts and so the hunters are screaming along a lot about this because it means it's getting harder to take a whitetail so South Carolina has moved to the step that Georgia has of trying to impose some kind of bounty and encourage people to go out and shoot these animals to take them in any way they can but mostly shoot them but you know I think these states in the South and in the East have a lot to learn by the western or from the Western experience because truth is we've been trying to eradicate that mean totally exterminate coyotes in the American West we spent the years from about 1915 to about 1972 in an all-out War attempting to exterminate them and the only result of that as a result of their particular kinds of adaptation

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and their evolution in North America is that we spread them across the entire country we not only spread them across the entire country that mean they're in every state they colonize their 49th state Delaware in 2010 so the only state they're not in his Hawaii just because I have a stowed away and made it across the Pacific yet and you know I mean if they do you can imagine those endangered NeNe's on the big island they're totally done for but they are not only in every single state in the Union except for a y but they are seven thousand miles now North and South in North America from above the Arctic Circle all the way down to Central America and beginning to colonize into South America so the attempts to exterminate them I mean I can explain how this why this happens has to do with their evolution in the particular Temptations I have but the attempt to exterminate them or even to try to control their

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almost always produces exactly the opposite effects of Georgia is going to end up with more coyotes than they've ever had before in their efforts to try to suppress their population fascinating it is it's so contrary to logic what you would think would be the solution for something like that and when you go back to the American West before the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone in the 1990s we it is essentially extirpated them from of the vast majority of the United States are very very few left and if you could please explain the relationship that the gray wolves had to the coyotes which is one of the reasons that the coyotes became so adaptable

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it's true and they didn't coyotes didn't become so smart and I'm in the southwest the Hispanics say the only thing that's smarter than a coyote has got but I didn't become that smart and that Adept at surviving anything almost that happens to them because of us I mean we've only been trying to wipe them out of control their populations for a little more than a century now send that's too short a time for them to evolve these abilities to to adapt and survive they they have all those abilities because they were the small dog and a big dogs world and I mean gray wolves have this very interesting story to spray walls come out of North American canid evolution but they're one of the canid species that ended up leaving North America for a time and evolving for a couple of million years in Asia and a

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and they didn't come back grey walls in shark coming back North America till about 25 or 30 thousand years ago during sort of the height of the late pleistocene and when they did coyotes of course it's been here and headed volved into their present species about eight hundred thousand to a million years ago and when gray wolves return I mean they basically just started kicking the crap out of coyotes and so coyotes evolve their ability to survive being harassed and persecuted as a result of being basically harassed by gray wolf so this is why when you hear about the coywolf that you here on the East Coast this is a coyote that bread with the red wolf and and other Eastern wolves cry that's correct it's a very interesting story and it's kind of one of those instances where

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a modern event that we're all getting to witness the emergence of the coywolf has its origins in the evolution of mammals in North America a million years or more because the reason I mean if you think about this the reason coyotes red wolves and other Eastern wolves like the Algonquin wolf in Eastern Canada and and Northern New England the reason those animals can all hybridize and readily do I me they there no behavioral barriers at all to them breeding with one another and so whenever a coyote shows up and it's in the vicinity of an Algonquin Wolf's a female that comes into heat I mean she'll readily pick a coyote as a mate

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but the reason they do that is because those animals rules Eastern Wolves of various kinds and coyotes all seem to have come out of a group of animals that unlock the gray wolf never left North America and they probably didn't separate from one another until three hundred thousand to a half million years ago so that separation is recent enough that whenever they encounter one enough but one another today very red late hybridize I mean it's sort of the result of coyote spreading across the South has essentially kind of killed our hope that we were going to save the endangered Red Wolf as an independent species because Red Wolf so quickly and easily hybridize with coyotes that coyote Jean swamp to a red wolf Jane something that you know is millions of years are hundreds of thousands of years old and evolution but we

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getting to see it play out right around us in our own time and meanwhile gray wolves and coyotes in the west aren't hybridizing at all and so that's the explanation is that gray wolves left and didn't come back until a while well they they just they happen to be in evolutionary terms one of the groups and jackals did the same thing that they ended up leaving North America and in their absence while they were in another part of the world they evolved into the present subspecies we got for subspecies of gray wolves in North America all would seem to come back to North America by the way at different times so they had sort of separate migrations back to North America so the Mexican gray wolf the the Western gray wolf the Arctic Wolf these are all

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gray wolf species but they're separated at the sub specific level and they all seem to have come back North America different time but they they had left North America like about three and a half million years ago and so they became different animals in Asia and Europe by the time they came back then they were different enough from coyotes that they not only couldn't interbreed with some anymore but they sort of her mortal enemies of one another I mean when we reintroduce gray wolves to Yellowstone in 1995 coyotes head had 75 years and Yellowstone without any wolves I mean in that served as a wonderful laboratory to study them to because he gave us a sense of what happens with coyotes when nobody is harassing up when people are harassing him which course we didn't in Yellowstone Park and when wolves aren't harassing them either and what we realize is that they create this really stable territories they

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create verse table packs and their population Rises to a particular point the carrying capacity of the landscape based on what they eat which is mostly rodents and rabbits and things and and some fruit and berries but it doesn't they don't their population sort of levels off and stays at a carrying capacity and so we got to watch that happen in Yellowstone for like 75 years and it's become sort of the the example of what would happen if we just left them alone I mean some people think when we don't try to control them how they're going to be another just going to be Millions upon millions of them running everywhere but that's actually they only do that when you trying to persecute them and they go into this conversation mode and generate more and more and more tops and have more more pups survive so Yellowstone in that. From 1925 to 1995 was the

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sort of model of what happens when you just leave them the hell alone and they just kind of rise to a particular population level and are really stable at that level and and don't really go beyond it and they don't expand their territory that way either now they don't seem to them in one of the things that you know has happened obviously in the last hundred years or so last 75 years at least is that as a result of persecuting them we've sent them into this kind of colonization strategy where they they have larger litters of pups when their populations are suppressed it's easier for them to get the pups that they do have to adulthood

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how many Yellowstone for example one of the things we saw in that. When they weren't being harassed in the 60 seventies eighties is that they would have a litter of five or six pups and they can only get a couple of them to adulthood but whenever you try to control their populations and momentarily suppress their populations I mean the result is that there's no more food for coyotes out there for the coyotes that that have survived and that makes it possible for them to have a litter of seven or eight pups and get six to seven of them to adulthood and then they have this this marvelous ability amount talked about it a good bit in the book it's called fission-fusion they're one of the few species and we happen to be one of the other mammal species around the world that does this where they have the ability to exist as a social animal and a case of coyotes of the pack animal

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but whenever they are pressured they tend to split apart in two singles and Pairs and they scatter across the landscape and that's what since then, using across the continent the fact that they can do that is what separates I'm really from balls right and that's why they weren't able to wipe them out and West damn that's exactly at I mean if you think about what happened with grey walls and we started the sort of decided effort to eliminate gray wolves from the American West in roughly may we started just ordinary people started putting out strychnine bait for them in the 1860s and 1870s but was it ranchers at first a star that was it because of livestock Travelers on the Oregon Trail on the Emigrant trails and people short of regarded

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because they came out of Europe with a background with Wolves that's that's one of the things that distinguishes us Americans and coyotes is that we didn't have coyotes in Europe so we didn't arrive with this pre-loaded preconception about the role that coyotes played in the world but we did with animals like bears and wolves and so people just from the very beginning whatever the Atlantic Seaboard was settled there were wolf drives and wolf roundups and every kind of attempt to wipe out wolves as competitors with us for our stock

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turn the West people just threw strychnine bait out and me strychnine was invented in Pennsylvania in 1848 and it was widely available in places like Missouri when you set out across the west and people would just buy a bunch of Bates and they with your face hung around long enough to get the animal they would skin it and try to sell the Pelt but they just poison them like crazy then and starting in 1915 this government agency call the Bureau of biological survey which positions itself as the solution to predators

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first decides that it's the wolf that we need to take out then I mean they managed to take out the the last probably quarter million wolves in the West in the space of a little more than a decade and they do it as you just mentioned primarily because wolves are such pack animals so pack oriented that if you could chill or trap one member of a pact you could use the scent from that animal and end up catching every single animal in the pack but coyotes responded to that kind of pressure in a very different way I mean when you started pressuring them they tended their packs tended to break up a 10 to the scatter and go into this fishing mode and so indeed as you said a minute ago that's exactly why we were able to take out wolves by the middle of the night.

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20 we pretty much at resolve the wolf issue in the west but year after year after year as wolf numbers decline I mean I'll offer an example in Montana friend since 1899 the state of Montana bounded 23,000 Wolves of 1899 21 years later by 1920 the only paid bounties on 17 gray wolves because they have basically wiped them out and then the government agency the biological survey came in and cleaned up all the rest of them but every year from 1899 through 1921 and into the 1930s in Montana they were batting 30,000 coyotes in 1899 and 1910 30000 coyotes in 1918 33,000 coyotes I mean the number of coyotes never drop while wolf populations just plummeted so fast animal that is

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it's sew in a wonderfully counterintuitive in the whole kind of environmental story of America because what you always expect is that anytime we put our minds to taking on some preacher and and taking it out I mean we could do it I mean you know the only time this never really happened was in Moby-Dick where Captain Ahab is driven mad by his inability to control the great white whale in the control nature and that in a lot of places that seems to be where we land when people realize that you can't do anything about coyotes it kind of drives people out of their minds because this is just not the American way

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we can always deal with an animal yeah it is it's got to be very frustrating to people in a lot of ways but it's it's kind of amazing that means really kind of magical in a lot of ways that that they're so they're so adaptable and that all came you're saying because of their relationship with the gray wolf that the gray wolf left

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well we know that there still wolves in America there's no question about that and so I mean that is a a tricky question I mean there is and also I would hasten to say first of all I'm not a geneticist I'm not even a biologist I'm basically an environmental writer and and somebody who uses history a lot

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and there is unresolved science out there and buy what I mean what I mean by that is that there are a couple of different camps that have advanced positions about the relationship between all these different wolves that we have in North America and coyotes so there is a guy at UCLA here in Los Angeles pies name is Robert Wayne and he has done genetic work on canids one of his papers is called the title includes the phrase enigmatic wolf-like canids and he's done genetic analysis on coyotes Red Wolves gray wolves in eastern wolves and his argument is that

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gray wolves red wolves in eastern wolves are all actually

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some version of gray wolves

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so that's a different argument than the one that I made for you just a few minutes ago I've been following and I followed in my book because I found it a more compelling argument 1 Advance by a group of a geneticist Canada led by guy named Paul Wilson and that's the that's the position that the US fish and wildlife service and its endangered species division takes and their argument is that the gray wolf is a separate animal from the red wolf the Eastern wolf and the coyote they they argue that coyotes red wolves and Eastern wolves all come out of a clade the biological term c a c l a d e a clade of animals that are purely North American in origin and it had probably a similar ancestor as recently as maybe three hundred thousand years to 500,000 years ago

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so we've got two different arguments about the relationship of coyotes to two wolves and I don't know who's going to win it but one of the reasons I tend to sort of favor the the Paul Wilson line of argument and the one that the US fish and wildlife service is using is because they use somebody use evidence Beyond just genetics they also use morphology and they use fossils and Robert Wayne and the group of geneticist work with him all seem to just rely specifically on genetics and they don't ever try to verify their findings by looking at the fossil record for example

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so I don't know how it's going to play out between these these two groups but I find the argument the Canadian geneticist that has informed the US fish and wildlife service is strategy a little bit more compelling right now but I made something pay attention to we'll see how it goes what seems like you need some sort of a really comprehensive way of looking at it cuz you're dealing with so many different factors right if you're trying to acquire evidence based on 25000 years ago it seems like there's got to be a lot of different it's just it's very odd to me that we know as much as we do know I mean in to try to figure it all out has got to be incredibly frustrating when you're dealing with so little evidence and you looking at the fossil record mean a lot of the animals that it that died twenty-five thousand years ago there's a zero evidence of them right there that's right I made 25000 years ago for example in the the light plasticine

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the evidence from La Brea Tar pit indicates that coyotes were slightly different animal than they are now they were at the time we think gray wolves were coming back in the North America returning to their evolutionary Homeland coyotes were much bigger more strapping had larger than Titian stronger jaws and what looks like happened is when gray wolves arrived in the west and began competing with these larger Moore's Trapping Coyotes coyotes sort of sought a different path they they sort of stepped back away from outright competition with an even bigger tainted and evolved into a smaller more gracile animal that was not so much just a pure predator in scavenger but more omnivorous and so became our modern canis latrans species but yeah it's a and I was will say

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as you mentioned a minute ago and it's hard to know all this much of this information is fairly recent I may we just got a kind of a reappraisal of the taxonomy of the North American Wolves essential in the last seven or eight or ten years are other wolves can be omnivorous but they're they're pretty much really carnivorous pack predators in my yard all the time like these little red berries the garage here they eat Juniper them in the same thing is happening at my place in New Mexico starting at centrally out in August or September all the coyote droppings that I found on the place I mean I got a lot of coyotes in my place in New Mexico has just been filled with juniper berries that's what they've been eating I'm still running

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rabbits and eating rats and mice and things but I mean when they move into cities they tended eat I mean when they have access to fruit trees they tend to eat a lot of fruit so well I mean in other people have posted photos on the Internet or YouTube videos that show them plucking apples and peaches and things off trees in their backyard like they really go for that sort that Shabbos are such a strange animal and so do we know if anything like that or is it just a coyote characteristic pretty much a coyote characteristic I mean you know we've been saying the coyote and an evolutionary sense is a small wolf

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but it is different especially from gray wolves and what are the ways it's different that the biologist the behavioral is to have watched coyotes interact with one another and watch gray wolves interact with one another is an indication of how much more pack oriented pants sort of predatory carnivorous wolves are wolves because they exist mostly a spider in our cultural motif of the Lone Wolf actually wolves are such pack animals that they have a much wider range of Expressions that they convey to one another in their interactions with one another and they

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they basically will

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sort of engaged with one another and a repertoire of grimaces and grins and showing their teeth are curling their lip of course all sorts of body language were they curl their tails under and they'll drop their heads and drop their ears coyotes have a similar repertoire but it's a much more limited argument that the behavioral this make is that that's an indication of an animal that's not so packed or ended it's not living exclusively in a social group it can go off on its own or as a pair and therefore it doesn't really need all those facial expressions to convey emotion so how do we know that evolved in North America and then spread out and went to Asia and Africa and all these different places well that's out of the fossil record and there's a there's a

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good science in the fossil record of Tainted Evolution as I said a bit ago it seems to go back to about 5.3 million years ago and all the candles all around the world seem to have come out of this this singular origin what's the way all the primates of the world came out of An Origin in Africa and so you know in the horses for instant same thing horses came out of an evolutionary origin in North America and then spread across the land bridge is to become zebras in Africa for instant and so that's how it happened and some of these these animals like jackals for example to build and Jackal seem to have separated from the small chain did the coyote the line that led the coyotes about a million years ago and it cross the land bridge into Africa southern Europe

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Asia and became an animal that never returned to North America and because of its separation from coyotes by a million years it became a different creature so crazy they all did that on foot yeah they did in North America and made it all the way to Africa and the horses involved in North America but then they were introduced to the Native Americans by the Europeans what happened to the horses that were here

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well that's one of the great mysteries of North American evolution actually I'm a Frank answer is we don't really know what happened to them and so this is you know maybe somebody out there listening Joe you know in the next 10 or 15 years well so it will solve this problem because here we have a group of animals whose evolution of the horse their evolutionary origin go back 56 million years in North America so 10 times greater depth in time then then can't it's too and so they're here and all sorts of forms everyone has heard you know of the three-toed horse yoke hip us is what it's called now

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that gradually becomes bigger and it's fused together and they become hardened because it's running over Rocky ground and so it has to have hard Hooves and because it begins to it starts as a browsing animal in forest and ultimately becomes a grassland animal and it's eating brasses that are often coated with windblown sand so it has to evolve very strong and hard enamel and on its teeth and Order resist having its teeth being eroded down by sand it becomes ultimately by 15 20000 years ago an animal that we would not be able to tell would be any different from a modern horse it would look exactly like a modern horse same size I mean I've seen skeletons of some of the horses that were in North America down to about 11,000 years ago and even the paleontologist would have a hard time telling which was the skeleton of a North American

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in a horse in which was the skeleton of the modern domestic course but these animals had traveled across the land bridge has the Bering land bridge when it was open had ended up in Asia and Africa and Europe where they survived but for some bizarre reason sometime between about 10,000 years ago and eight thousand years ago in North America disappear they completely went extinct in North America and so when we Europeans return them to North America 500 years ago one of the reasons they become such a success and just spread across the western part of the continent in multiplying to the millions is because they're already pre adapted to the landscape this is where they evolved and so they've already got the clothes that got the teeth that got the running ability that he got the ability to Buck off predators

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and they get back here in North America and within the space of about after they get loose from the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 within the space of about fifty to sixty or seventy years they're all the way up into Canada and there are within a hundred years probably as many as two million of them spreading across the West reinhabiting their old ecological niche kind of Imagine because the West 10-15 25,000 years ago had been a place where horses had made up in some parts of the West as much of as a third of the biomass of all the grazing animals

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10 in the 1700's and 1800's they were doing the same thing again they were multiplying into the hundreds of thousands the millions gradually spreading New Mexico is where the domestic European horse first got loose and began to spread and they had reached all the way up into Montana to Wyoming and the end of the edges of Canada by 1850 1860 or so and head there probably were at least two to three million of them at that point so they were just worried inhabiting their old Landscaping kidding themselves into and ecology now they've been dominated by bison for a long time and now horses are back in the mix controversial animal Wild Horses aren't you know people trying to think of them as an invasive species but it essentially there just a reintroduced species and because of that there's a lot of

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controversy on how they should be dealt with like some people want to deal with them like almost like they deal with wild pigs and so you know there plenty of people out there who

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who argue that the domestic horse the feral horse in the west which is the rootstock of most of our population of wild horses in the way you know is a essentially it's a European animal that has become an invader

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I mean I always and I've had you no arguments on stage with people who who Express this position always say what you have to say about the horse first of all is that it's a it's an American animal with an asterisk it's gone for about eight or nine thousand years that's actually not a huge amount of time and evolutionary terms and even though we did domesticate them and began to produce some breeds horses left to their own devices pretty quickly breed back to the wild look in the while State and they acquire those dorsal stripes down their backs and zebra striping on their legs and zebra stripe oh yeah oh absolutely

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I'm not quite sure I can say whether the zebra striping evolve for a specific specific reason although most change this and animals do but yeah they they will fairly readily go back to this early Wildhorse look which is probably what horses look like in North America 10,000 years ago was like at the wild horses with zebra stripes I don't think I've ever seen it look it look in the Pryor mountains Wild Horse range in Montana and you'll see a whole population of animals that come out of that that background they let very interesting history because it was a group of animals that Lewis and Clark acquired from the Indians and they were going to take back and trade in the Mandan Villages and a guy named prior who was responsible for the heard was driving them through the today's Pryor mountains and Crow Indians

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raided his camp and Chase off a bunch of those horses in there now in those mountains and they represent this early sort of dorsal back stripe zebra leg look that probably came right from the Spanish horses of New Mexico up into the the Northern West so whatever the mass extinction event that took place somewhere in the neighborhood of ten thousand years ago they claim the woolly mammoth

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you know so honey we've got some pretty good explanations for what happened to the mammoths and other mammoths probably were taken out by human Hunters because this this was a version of the American West that

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they basically had emerged in the absence of people you know we're just like every other mammal that you mentioned a minute ago you were amazed the fact that the Wolves were able to spread around the world in the horses were able to spread around the world what we did the same thing we started in Africa and we spread around the world getting to Europe about 45 thousand years ago and didn't get to North America which was one of the last places except for the islands out in the Pacific that humans got to until about fifteen thousand years ago and so when we arrived we confronted a landscape that was full of animals like mammoths

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that had no experience with human Hunters at all and what we think is that these early arrivals from Siberia we're probably really accomplished big game Hunters I mean like all elephants man has had really long gestation. It took them once they were impregnated took him 2 years to have a calf wow and so they have a really too pregnant for 2 year the other Predator 2 years until they have a really low population recovery ability biologist call this suck a species that have a kind of low reproductive right and so whenever humans arrived and and I don't we take a look at the situation and I mean how Mammoth evidently were a lot easier to deal with and a hunt then the big bulls were and so these Hunters seem to have concentrated on cows

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I mean that's of course obviously going to be detrimental to the the demographics of the population and so probably in the case of mammoths it was human hunting of a animal that had no prior experience with human hunters and not very many defenses against us that took them out the other animals have a lot of them I mean some of the Predators we think they went because of their prey species disappeared but I mean the amazing thing with the horses is just hard to Fathom because we haven't found very many sides there was one recently discovered near Boulder Colorado of what appeared to be an early Indian chill of horses but you know if you tried to argue that the same thing happened with horses that happened with the mammal should think you'd be finding kill sites all over the place. Really found them have you ever looked into it so it's got the front paws got a little bit of 0

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but you you're saying it's a bath while it's about so they have the zebra stripes on the legs and that is wild and they have black stripe down the back the dorsal stripe is, so I read something about zebras that there that it makes it very hard for predators to differentiate between individual zebras and that they had put a a near collar or clip on one of the zebras and immediately that zebras taken out single. Zebra out it was very obvious to the Predators that that was an individual they went right after it but it could be something like that and I mean it's it's pretty clear from the North American forces that the zebra striping trait originated here and then ended up being taken by the animals that migrated

► 00:49:23

into Africa and perhaps elaborated on overtime where they're dealing with with lions and and cheetahs and leopards and things like that and they had a lion in North America was even bigger than the African Lion panthera the step line was a line that it was one and a half times the size of the African Lion you know a short faced bear that was probably even more ferocious than modern-day Grizzlies for one thing it seems to have been a mile animal it looked far more Nimble and fast and its ability to run and so forth than Grizzlies do we talked about that thing many times since I heard you talk about it pulled up pictures of it and the length of the legs yeah I know there's a guy suit

► 00:50:23

for a long time that he thinks until short-faced Bears became extinct humans were not able to actually colonize North America that those things were so Fierce that they basically kept Siberian Hunters at bay on the other side of the Bering land bridge and finally when they began to disappear then people began trekking across and getting a North America how they look like a monster look like a real animal it looks like something in a movie and they see the short faced bear and what is that near the day that's even bigger than the short faced bear go extinct about about fourteen thousand fifteen thousand years ago and as I said at least one

► 00:51:23

ologist argues that it's no coincidence that that's about the time that humans began showing up as it once this bear is is gone then it makes it possible for people to come into North America is there a hypothesis as to why that went extinct is that human intervention as well as swings and climate

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as a result of the the steady progression of ice ages and then water called the enter pluviales in between the ice ages and the reason we think we have sort of a a steady record of ice ages and then a warming. In-between and then a return to ice ages and then warming and that goes back in the record for a very long time is that the Earth actually doesn't spin a true perfect spin on its axis it has a wobble in and sometimes when it wobbles this is called the Milankovitch cycles of European is a geographer probably a geographer was the first to speculate that this is why we have this climate history of A procession between ice ages and

► 00:52:48

pluvial is in between is because the Earth wobbles and is it wobbles it will at certain times position the Northern Hemisphere farther away from the Sun for a period of thirty forty thousand years and during that wobble and and that position you get an ice age and then the wobble will take it back so that the Northern Hemisphere begins to point more directly at the sun in between you get water comp Louisville's sometimes quite warm episodes and we had one about 5,000 years ago that was probably six or seven or eight degrees warmer than today I would love to get you together with a guy named Randall Carlson who's an expert and Astro Astro it'll impact and he's got some pretty compelling evidence send some fascinating theories about the end of the Ice Age at the end of the Ice Age corresponds to a lot of nuclear glass sites and Asia and Europe that the new clear glass

► 00:53:48

this is essentially the same stuff they find doing the do nuclear test sites that also happens when they have meteor impacts and it's all throughout Asia and Europe and he believes there was a significant impact in North America not once but twice and it directly corresponds to our planet passing through like essentially Comet storm really fascinating stuff that I've heard of this actually together with him because he's got some compelling evidence something percent of the large mammal that died off during that very distinct time. He says it directly corresponds to physical evidence of this try tonight stuff and all these diamonds they find Micro Diamond to come from these impacts Fest thing it's a possibility that you may have read about it and I think you know as in so many questions out there and figure out the answers to things and a lot of instances and so

► 00:54:48

yeah this is a possibility I mean what I was sort of leading to buy tracking that Milankovitch cycle procession through time is that that sort of change tends to produce among animal species a lot in plants to really a lot of speciation another words that generates a lot of new because you're often isolating populations and in populations get isolated from their parent populations they'll evolve some new traits and maybe it would come a new species and so you get a lot. It's a kind of a cycle where you end up with a lot of different new animals but when change comes you often lose a good many of them and so these Extinction scenarios that are associated with the ice ages and the pluviales in between the interglacials do tend to produce quieter

► 00:55:48

number of extinctions the short faced bear I mean I wish I was more of an expert so I could directly address exactly what happened to it but all I can tell you from my limited knowledge of it is that it seems to have disappeared in North America around 15,000 years ago and that's at a time when the Wisconsin Ice Age is beginning to wind down and so you know we still haven't been there a little Scholars out there a lot of people out there who are arguing climate is the primary explanation for the pleistocene extinctions most people sort of concede that okay in the case of the mammoths are evidence tends to point more towards human hunting but we don't know about all these other animals why when the Predators is I said they seem to disappear because the prey disappears but I mean one of the camels disappeared one of the

► 00:56:48

Nelly's giant ground sloths disappear when the things that they ate the globe mallow seeds that are still in the west are still out there but the animal that's fat on them isn't there anymore so it's something you know that people have been the sort of hammering over beers and in Laboratories for actually more than a century now and we still haven't answered all questions it is so fast but it's so amazing that you could even formulate that much information based on something that was 25 15,000 years ago I mean this whole country that we we live in today for as far as Europeans are concerned we've only been here a few hundred years which is really kind of amazing I mean as you know from from the the other recent book of mine American Serengeti

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one of the animals that you can observe today that gives us may be our best sense of what the pleistocene is like is the pronghorn antelope still The Plains of course across a lot of the West on Ashworth they nearly disappeared at the turn of the twentieth century we've managed to bring them back and a lot of Western States but that's an animal that is essentially a holdover from the pleistocene and is kind of still fighting pleistocene ghosts I mean it's an animal as everybody knows that can run 65 miles an hour and yet for the last ten thousand years the fastest animal that can chase it the gray wolf only runs 45 miles an hour

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and so that leads to the obvious question why the overkill and terms of speed what you would think is all you need to do is run 47 miles an hour and you got it covered but here are these animals still Among Us that run 65 miles an hour that can't jump over fences that still congregate and what what people call the selfish herd where they'll group up as a herd of adults and the dominant animals will end up in the middle so they're there any Predators they get the ones on the edges and the dominant ones survive and yet they don't have any Predators except as Faunce and so what we think is happening is that we got an animal that has survived into our own time

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that preserves how Evolution shaped it

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to deal with the predators of the pleistocene when they're actually was a cheetah and a running hyena that could run almost 65 miles an hour and there were predators that went after their herds when they were adults and all those animals have disappeared there all ghost and have been for 10,000 years and yet Pronghorn still preserve the ability to run away from a cheetah and to group up as a selfish herd and preserve the dominant animals in the middle against the hyena attack had no idea they could run that fast they can run to 65 miles an hour how do I think some of the females which are a little bit lighter than the males are some of them may be able to run 70

► 01:00:21

on the highway you you're when you're violating the speed limit and a pronghorn Pronghorn that's right that's incredible I did not know there was hyenas that lived in North America is Waldo could run that fast a running hyena that was a major predator of of creatures like this and this is why I use the term American Serengeti for the title of this book what we had in North America were these versions look good on a video of them right now and then just this someone's driving in the car and they are just full lion by

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Meriwether Lewis you know famously said they're they're running motion more resembles the flight of birds than it does any mammal yeah I've seen them I saw them in Montana and what is a book it's kind of crazy to watch in real life there are version of Impala's and gazelles and in Africa and what are their antlers this cheetah now is it does it resemble the African cheetah was it did it look like Evolution I mean it it was an animal vet pursued these pronghorns that could run 70 miles an hour so it had to be able to run that fast did it develop independently of the African cheetah they did indeed and in fact it developed from The Cougar the mountain lion line so it doesn't come out of and I mean the

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cheetah is a cat that famously many people say it it's a dog like Cat and Its its own independent entity in Africa and so our version of it came out of the same line that produce mountain lions except mountain lions 15020 thousand years ago produced this very fast running version that was in fact an American cheetah how did it have the same sort of front paws as a cheetah cuz cheetahs there more almost dog right now this this this North American animal didn't have dog like pads like the African cheetah does at least I'm not in there may be some cheetah or North mac and cheese expert doctor who with who can test that but I don't think so I'm not seen any evidence anywhere anything I've read that it did so it essentially just developed this ability to run very fast

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Lawrence and catch they were there other animals that could run how many horses run pretty fast too and cats me the reason horses Buck for us and we translated in our own time into Rodeo Sports the reason they Buck is because that's their strategy for Des lodging a cat attack they were always a prey of cats and so and so I mean when we were talking about horses a minute ago and one of the points I was going to make and I can make this point to is that the reason horses reasons horses are an issue now and a problem in the west is a they're not on the Great Plains anymore which was the primary force range during the 1700's and 1800's there in the deserts of places like Nevada

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so they're in a much more arid country not in a lushly grass plain setting but in an in a desert setting and we don't have their predators around anymore I mean what we've taken out gray wolves would certainly did pray on Colts we've almost wiped out mountain lions there mountain lions are coming back and that's why I was always one of the major predators of a Colt but horses don't have the sort of predators anymore that they had during the pleistocene are even in the 1700 and 1800 and so without their predators on the landscape and also being out in a desert setting rather than out in the much Lusher Great Plains day and other become an issue in terms of how they compete with cattle how to compute sheep how to compete with mule deer and Wildlife that's why we were sort of you know endlessly rattling the cage or a

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wild horses now but

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in the 19th century in the 1800's I mean where they were or out of the Great Plains they were in eastern Montana in eastern Colorado and eastern New Mexico and this much more lushly brass setting and therefore still werewolves and still were Mount blinds to take out the Colts and certain keep their populations depressed though it seems incredulous that human beings that didn't even have bows and arrows to kill off the woolly mammoth but then you stop and think about what people are able to do in a few hundred years that we've been here when we arrived in North America when Europeans arrived in North America and just essentially swept through the country and almost extirpated everything we found like whitetail deer antelopes Buffalo we we almost wiped the whole thing out loud elk when we got it down to just I mean it that the turn of the 19th century for the 20th century rather it was a it was a sad state

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you know it's one of those instances in history where I mean I think I say this in the introduction of that American Serengeti book that was the largest destruction of wildlife that I've been able to discover in world history when Europeans came to North America and proceeded as you just described from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Pacific and essentially wiped out just dozens of animal species in most instances not completely Exterminating them but dropping them two numbers that were so low that you know you worried that this animal was going to survive and made some animals we did go extinct Carolina Parakeet for example was this beautiful Gotti green and yellow large crew

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what size parrot that was in North America all the way up to the great lakes and they became extinct by the 1930s people hunted them they were regarded as agricultural pests and Farmers basically I killed them and enlisted government agents as had happened with wolves and coyotes to their wipe them out is fast and I guess it makes sense but it's just fascinating that just a few hundred years ago they lack the foresight to understand that any sort of intrusion into the ecosystem any sort of you know eliminating one Predator are taking out one thanks causes a Cascade of events that can be disastrous

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now people didn't know anything about ecology I mean in a we don't have a ecology emerge as a science until the 1860s we knew we knew very little and we tended to come in with a complete lack of knowledge and we did the same thing with the the coyote attempt Exterminating them

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which we pass a law in Congress in 1931 to provide for the extermination of coyotes in to appropriate the money to do it I mean we spent probably a hundred million dollars over the next Forty or fifty years attempting to do it and passed that law at a time when we never sent the first scientist out to do any study of coyote Natural History we had no idea what they ate no clue about them but before we even have any science to go on at all we just go ahead and take the step up okay we're going to this animal we're going to completely weed out of the North American set we're going to eliminate it don't know a damn thing about it but we're going to make sure this thing does not survived through the 20th century it's not fascinating in your book the account of the early explorers were trying to figure out what the hell a coyote was they thought maybe it was a jackal they didn't know what it was

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I decided it was some sort of a small wolf and in the initial description of it but they call it a prairie wolf very well if that's right now in a lot of people don't know this for most of the nineteenth Century I mean I've seen references to this name as late as 1915 Americans call coyotes Prairie wolves that was the name Lewis and Clark gave them and so that's what everybody called them and it wasn't until we started getting out into the Southwest in the 1840s and 1850s especially around Santa Fe where there were

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Indian people who would come up with the Spanish colonization of the Southwest who spoke the language of the Aztecs language is, know what and the word peyote comes from the Aztec language so when Americans were first getting into New Mexico in the 1840s really they began encountering people who are using a different name for the animal and over the next 30 or 40 years that name sort of overtook the term prairie wolf and finally completely replaced it so the original name was an Aztec name that I was an Aztec name and it's pronounced end and the know what language it's it's spelled in their language c o y o t l

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but the L on the end is silent and so the way they pronounced it was coiled

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and I mean the Aztec language because they know they were an Empire and they they defeated a lot of people's and they impose their language and their Customs on a lot of people there are all sorts of Indians who weren't necessarily Aztec who spoke that language and there were evidently enough of them in places like Santa Fe and Tucson that when anglo-american got out there they they were encountering I don't know laid native people who are using that word but the Spanish not being privy to the American use of the term prairie wolf the Spanish had just adopted the Indian name for the animal and they had hispanicize it and they began they gave it an extra syllable so they call the animal a coyote

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and that's what these early Americans were hearing they were largely hearing the Spanish pronunciation the three syllable version coyota in Mark Twain comes along and 1870s and writes a very famous book about the West roughing it in course he's America's most famous writer at the time is book has best seller and Mark Twain not only kind of because we as you mentioned mentioned men ago we don't really know what to make of these animals Americans have never had any experience with an animal like this so we don't know what to think about them Mark Twain is the one who provides us with kind of a take on them as these cowardly despicable little creatures that have this overgrown wolf scan and this is despairing look and he says you know they're there such Scoundrels and such scavengers that a flea would desert 1/4

► 01:12:40

velocipede riff and it goes on for like three pages so that by the time you're this is a Despicable creature that's his breathing up good are so we should just get rid of it but he does in the course of that book tell Americans how what the animal is called and how you pronounce it and he says in the west this animal is called a coyote and he spelled it out phonetically giving us our modern pronunciation of coyote pronunciation comes from Mark Twain at least popular Rises it and everybody who read his book basically kind of I think absorbed that pronunciation of it is Native Americans have such a great respect for the coyote like what what was it about that animal that created so many Legends that's a great story and and I was I

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I argue in this book I mean I what I try to do with coyote America is to tell the the biography of the animal from its evolutionary origins through its history up until the present time when course it's in everybody's backyard all over the country and so we're all all dealing with it having to figure out what it is and and how you coexist with it but it's a real roller coaster ride because it goes in 04 a million years of its Evolution confronting at certain times the return of gray wolves in North America which clearly don't like coyotes and beat the crap out of them and even probably influence their evolutionary Direction into a smaller more jackal like animal

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but then it also it has a story that sociated with us when humans arrived in North America how many coyotes get this wonderful. Last like 14500 years or something

► 01:14:48

native people look at them and say that's the most intriguing animal on the continent it's for one thing mammoths camels horses all these big grizmatik animals are dying out around us in the pleistocene extinctions somehow these little guys don't seem to be perturbed by it their surviving while all these big creatures these big and present creatures are going away and I think they also at least this is what I argue and the book they had the sense that

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coyotes live by their wits and I think that provided them with a model that they thought was valuable because I think living successfully because you're smart and I know is that's a trait that humans in any age including hours right now could very well follow and and find to be an effective way to go about facing your future so they see this animal is being particularly smart particularly adaptable a Survivor and because it was a social animal it has pups the pups don't know how to fend for themselves in the world and coyotes have to teach the pups just as humans do with their children how to become full-grown coyotes and how to survive

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that it seemed to have a lot of traits that people found familiar and so at some point in time and who knows when it was and it could have been ten thousand years ago they converted into Indian people in the west everywhere coyotes range convert this animal into one of their principal God's their principal deities and make it this sacred creature I mean they have no reason to kill them or harass them or anything and so instead they look at it as this Avatar this stand in for humans in the world study at really closely and they proceeded to create this body of of literature it's our oldest literature from North America in the form of oral stories that have coyote

► 01:17:15

as the central character but it's not it's not the little coyote that strutting through your Camp it's a coyote man he's a character who stands on its hind legs he has pointed nose and ears erect ears and has a tail but he's standing up and he personifies all the traits both good and bad of human beings it's it's so weird that you know what the way we look at coyotes today is this new sense in this past and that's directly attributed to agriculture ride directly showed it to us having livestock anywhere near them decide if you want them but you look at the Museum of Natural History Los Angeles when I was there I took a photo of it cuz it was so weird I put them on my Instagram there the photo the the stuffed coyote did they have their they have all these different types of African animals they have gorillas chimpanzees only different stuffed animals that start to give you a sense of what they look like with this mock natural environment the Coyote's natural environment they show a porch

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coyote has a cat in its mouth me this is this is this is this image right here that is my photo that I took from the Museum of Natural History it's like what like that's the natural environment is a porch with a cat in his mouth it's just it's so bizarre but that's how human beings especially in and around La you know what I had my situation with the the chicken before I started reading your book I thought about killing that coyote it was like, kill that fucker you killed my check and I'm going to kill him then I found out I believe I'm pretty sure that it was a female because he this female kind of honeydicked my dog into jumping the fence and I have hurting converting and that's how they got the chickens my dogs huge have a Mastiff and he knocked over this when chickens when they they they brewed do you know about chickens brooding do you know that my dad chicken

► 01:19:15

Louisiana so yeah I kind of you know hanging out with him when I would go back and visit came to know a little bit about chickens before people don't know what happens if chickens think that their eggs still await chickens have eggs everyday pretty much her sort of every day every few days and when they have an egg those eggs are non viable that's one of the reasons why vegetarians can eat chicken eggs and get protein from you not hurting anybody they have the eggs whether or not there's a chicken there any or not they always have the egg and it has to be fertilized by the that the rooster in order for it to become a chicken I didn't figure that out I was almost forty but my stupid stupid the chicken sometimes are convinced that these non viable eggs will become chicks and so they sit on them and they start plucking their feathers out and it takes the entire cycle that an egg would be

► 01:20:15

come and check for them to get out of it the only way to stop them is to put them on a perch and put them in a small cage so we put them in a perch and a small cage we separated from the chicken coop and the coyote of figure this out that this chicken was by itself and convince the Mastiff to not the cage over cuz it was too small to knock this Coupe over but the massive is 140 lb if I don't fucking take care of but he knocks The Coop down the coyotes just grab the chicken and then jumps and hops the fence and I was talking to my neighbor about he's like a fucking hate coyotes I go do you like rats cuz if you don't like rats you should thank the coyotes a reason why we're not infested with rats I mean we're in the Hills when you're in the Hills out here in California there's rats and rodents everywhere but they're not the reason why is cuz he's coyotes like

► 01:21:05

we make that mistake so often where we think that we are smart and we're going to eliminate one thing in this the system and it's going to be fine now all we have to do is take out this coyote and everything will be great with no you don't have a rat infestation that's one of things you talked about in your book about farmers who had chased off the coyotes and they had rat infestations that's never praying for coyotes in this happens in a just over and over and over again and so and I think one of the reasons that we tend to endlessly make the same mistake with animals like this is because we don't try to spend any effort to understand the ecological world around us and to understand their role and attempt and I mean I've been going around the country a lot over the last eight months talking about this book because obviously everybody is dealing with them and some people are brand new and dealing with them and

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another alarm first of all that there's this small wolf trotting down the street or through their yard and then of course they immediately here while it's going to get your cat that's going to get your small dog gets a lot of grab your three year old I mean you just saw the horror stories through kind of urban legend make the rounds in an accelerated rate and serve basic good information about the animal doesn't make the round very effectively at all it's not fun no it's not fun but what you have to Grapple with first of all is you got to start with a position which I'll admit this is not the American position to take it's the position that in this instance we have confronted a part of the natural world that we are not able to control we can't control coyotes we met resistance basically is futile

► 01:23:05

they're going to be among us no matter what we do I mean you can certainly take out a you know coyotes are individuals and so if there's a bad actor in the neighborhood and very few of them by the way in the studies of coyotes in urban settings are Bad actors but occasionally there's one that starts catching cats or search chasing dogs or something, you can take that one out and perhaps improve the situation but just blanket going after any coyote because you're afraid of something like your cat might disappear is going to boomerang in every instance because attempts to persecute them as I try to point out over and over in coyote America result in every case in more coyotes and an excuse the populations so that what you end up with are often youngsters teenagers that like human teenagers get in more trouble than adults to sew the

► 01:24:05

that I keep trying to do in the course there's a group in in California and San Francisco call Project coyote that's been at this trying to help people understand out of coexist coexist with coyotes for the last seven or eight years what you have to do is first of all except the fact that okay resistance is futile these animals are here they know how to live in an urban setting they know how to live in the hills around me now I've got to figure out how I live with coyotes in my life and I mean the obvious thing is you don't let your cat's out in the morning to go hunt songbirds you don't let your cat's out at night I mean the coyotes are in most instances not attacking cats are small dogs because they want to eat them they regard them as competitor predators in their territory and so they're attacking them because that's

► 01:25:05

now they they see them but they will eat them in some instances when they're trying to provision a litter of pups so the times when cats will be snatched by coyotes and will disappear and you don't see the cat again is off on the. From basically about now from April through about July that's when they have their litters and I made sometimes hard to come up with enough protein to raise five or six little coyote pups and so occasionally a cat or a small dog will be taken away but usually what happens with cats and small dogs at coyotes attack them and I just leave them there and I've told people for for most of this year I mean this is for my own experience cuz I've lived in the urban Wildland interface for almost all my adult life out in the countryside away from town

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whenever you find your cat that's probably a coyote and it's attack the cat because it thinks it's a competitor and it attacks and kills it blaze it if the animal disappears if your cat disappears and you never see it again

► 01:26:18

either that's happened in the time when they're provisioning pups or if it happens in the fall or the winter or the early spring and your cat totally disappears I probably was a great horned owl that got your cat I mean owls eat cats and take them to their Roost and devour them and so your cat disappear is that you never see it again but what I want to see everybody does now that we know we've got coyotes is your coyotes howling in the Hills the neighbor had a cat disappear course it was coyote coyote got it pretty sizable percentage of cases it was actually a great horned owl that got the cat and not a coyote there's a great video that I found online that I put on my Instagram of an owl's snatching some other right out of its nest if you ever seen it I haven't seen it but it's someone had like a trail cam video of the black and white trail cam and you see that I will flying in

► 01:27:18

stories of the cbi's and the other bird in the nest doesn't even know what happened it at watch this it happened so fast to what Prince of all do you know what kind of animal that is that what that bird is can you tell by looking at it looks like a hawk of some kind maybe a red tail and the fledgling just let the eyes and a distance are amazing look who These Eyes sneaking up here comes the wise old owl give a hoot don't pollute mean while those motherfukers are as evil as it gets well they're definitely major Predators at 8 and I know if the stories about them in New Mexico I'm either I've got friends who were sitting out at an outdoor bar a couple of years ago with a railing on it it was late afternoon and a cat was walking along the railing weather sitting there with their drinks shooting

► 01:28:18

and all of a sudden an owl comes in and in a Flash plus that cat off the railing in the next thing they say is the owl flying off to the cottonwood trees over Creek with this cat dangling from its while they're all sitting there with their drinks poison there I was driving home one day and I saw this owl fly right above my head and I must have apparently while I was driving it must have got this rabbit somewhere close to it and I startled it so it's flying off and decided to drop the rabbit so we're right in front of me in the highway or in the road is this a v serrated rabbit no big rabbit to and I was in that was like one of the first years I lived here and I remember thinking I got to read I got to re-calibrate my idea when an owl is cuz he was just torn apart and it was a big rabbit and I saw this was a big owl to so the whole thing was like wow this is a predator this isn't just a bird

► 01:29:18

best what they do with cats they have this right them they may put a Talon basically into their ass and just rip it all the way up there all the way up to their sternum

► 01:29:28

spill their guts out who their said Wildlife Sanctuary near here and now we visited a couple of times and they have owls there and you get to like cm and check them out up close I can't animals have been injured and things like that and you just see the towns on those suckers and just serious yeah it's it's a fascinating how we anthropomorphize some of these animals and turn them in these Cutie Pies and I like polar bears are selling Coca-Cola and Klondike Bars and owls are selling Tootsie Roll pops in Los Angeles I want to ask you about this is cuz I'd heard you say before I think I'm rinella podcast what you just said about cats and dogs that essentially there there the coyotes think of them as competitive Predators but there's a video in Los Angeles in Hollywood of a coyote eating a cat on a lawn and these people are in the car wash

► 01:30:28

watching and they're filming it and they're freaking out like all my God oh my God is kind of just sitting there eating that cat so you think that the reason why is he not get me is it just hungry maybe or is it is it an occasional meal. They think of them as prey or is it primarily because they're a bunch of different factors or is it primarily because they're competitive Predators the well I think it's primarily because of that but I mean they're so you know there's coyotes are so individualistic walking by the car right in Los Angeles I mean just so bizarre that they're so comfortable around people Street city streets streets like that too so strange how does it figure out how to make it across the street now there's a there's a biologist in Chicago who argues that in rush hour traffic on the interstate

► 01:31:28

Chicago 9 million people there that he's seen coyotes cross four lanes of the interstate and stop in the median and sit there and wait until the traffic lightens up for the other four lanes and then cross that way so this is the coyote goes in and gets this cat but apparently had it already killed before he starts eating it so it's got it right there at that thing at his feet yeah well what I was going to say about that is that

► 01:32:03

so what a strange animal so two things I would have reserved about this particular video is first of all you know everybody is making the assumption does coyote kill the cat that cat may have been hit by a car and a coyote found it in his Scavenging it behind why you eating my friend the other thing I would say is that they're so individualistic that sometimes cats they developed coyotes develop a Yen for cats taste in Tucson that basically did this very thing they they decided that cats were and I'll go to be their target. Most coyotes you know that's not how they react

► 01:33:03

the cats but what cats do kill an unbelievable amount of rodents and birds and people don't want to hear this of course but the truth is that in all cities work coyotes of spread which is literally everywhere now we have from the ornithologist a decided record of numbers of nesting songbirds going up dramatically as a result of the appearance of coyotes yeah there was a statistic that we quoted on the podcast and it's something insane like 3 billion Birds a year in North America alone are killed by cats by house cat be with a B that when you tell that the people that like there's no way that look these are biologists these are people that are actually studying is and it blew them away I don't know how they studying I don't know maybe you could enlighten me

► 01:34:03

Mexico continental US similar studying Natural History magazine a few years ago about Great Britain same same kind of thing I don't remember the figures anymore but yeah I got me cats in other they devastate bird populations and so letting your cat roam out through the neighborhood in O seems like this very compassionate thing to do you know fluffy wants to be out there if he needs you know some space to Rome but you're releasing an extremely effective Predator into the world and that's the result of it and when coyotes have shown up in town it's suddenly getting a lot harder to make a living as a bird killing cat we're getting off sharp uptick now and songbirds

► 01:34:57

yeah it's interesting how it all just cycles and I'll just make sense at all figures out at all seeks its own level one of the things that I found hilarious as we were talking when I was podcast about a group that approached you they were doing a documentary on saving the coyote yeah send a couple of women who were pretty fresh and into the Southwest in Santa Fe they hadn't been in town for very long and they were interested in doing a documentary to save the coyote and you know so I mean there's a way to approach doing something like that I mean you could say okay so I want wildlife services to stop killing 80 thousand of them a year on behalf of agriculture

► 01:35:45

but what these women didn't seem to quite have a handle on was that coyotes don't need our help in Saving themselves they're perfectly capable of doing it and so this is not an animal you have to worry about for example going on the endangered species list

► 01:36:10

and that's not going to happen as one of the people who blur my book in fact it was Bill McKibben then I tried and I think about all the things he said was that in his blurb was that a biologist wants told him that when the last human dies on earth a coyote will be sitting on that humans grave howling at the moon have always loved that thought because it's an indication of how about what great survivors are you are starting to see a Resurgence of wolves in Europe and there was actually an article recently published in Paris about it where I guess the mayor of Paris was telling people not to be alarmed because they only look for four legged pray and people shouldn't be worried about these wolves but that did the idea of these animals like intermingling with our with our civilization in a week we've decided we put some Hardscape

► 01:37:10

down put up some houses when I go this is our stuff you got to stay out and they don't recognize these boundaries and now you're still slowly starting to see these animals creep back in in Des Peres France and Paris Smith well you know I think when we moved into cities 5000 years ago one of the things we thought we were getting away from by living in cities was predators are we off the most part we haven't we don't have at least not so far we don't have lepers patrolling the alleys in and Denver but I'm intrigued by one of the stories I am covered in the book which is an argument that I make is based on the work of a graduate student I knew at the University of Montana name is John Hall and he was doing a a dissertation in history on why he was calling the great dog wore in the 19th century and what it was all about and then the more I dug into it I realized it's just one of the explanations

► 01:38:10

why you don't see account of coyotes in cities much even in La I mean the first accounts I've seen coyotes in La Francis or in the 1920s but it's because in the 19th century until about the 1870s we let dogs are on pets and packs of feral dogs roam through American cities at will and so every city in the United States had a large population of feral and sort of lucious Lyon dogs roaming around our cityscapes feral meaning that they were totally wild or people would feed them when people would feed them I mean they were just basically stray dogs that would roam the city they would find things to scavenge behind restaurants in behind houses and they would knock over people's garbage and

► 01:39:10

but in the this happened and I think in that late 1840s Boston had an epidemic one year of rabies attacks from these kinds of wild dogs in the city and so Boston began to Institute what became our modern system of dog catchers dog pounds leash laws dog control and it was at the moment when the Boston model began to spread to Philadelphia to New York eventually to New Orleans eventually to the cities in California and we have instituted this new model of okay a dog is properly meant to be in an enclosed yard on a leash when it's with its owner it's all supposed to be running through the streets with packs of other dogs Scavenging garbage and stuff when we did that

► 01:40:10

what that in effect did was to open up the niche in American cities for wild canids and the volcano that was able to take advantage of it was the coyote that provided them the opening that had been there before because the coyote wandering into a city in the 1860s or 1830s would end up being a course assaulted by dogs suddenly all the dogs were put up and that opened up the city's to the arrival of coyotes in our midst

► 01:40:48

just fizzled interface between human beings and the Wild and then our interaction with the Wild and then to start our ability or inability to manipulate it is so fascinating to me and I don't want to talk to you about what they're trying to do right now in I guess it's Wyoming and parts of Montana this American Serengeti project please explain that

► 01:41:14

well so this this other book that we we talked about some of mine that has been out now just about a year came out last last March of 2016 that's a book American Serengeti is a book that's about the story of the Great Plains and the fact that we had up until about a hundred and twenty-five or hundred thirty years ago in North America one of the what was widely regarded around the globe is one of the great Wildlife spectacles of of the world and these enormous herds of Bison of a re-emerging Wildhorse bands of pronghorns maybe 15 18 million pronghorns on a quite as many as bison but almost as many half-million gray wolves that were there predators of course

► 01:42:14

Phillies playing a role jackals grizzly bears that roamed I mean the original range of the grizzly bear was actually out on the plains they were all the way out into Kansas and into Nebraska and I mean everybody saw the movie Revenant of course which the filmmaker said in the Rocky Mountains but that was based on an actual event that happened in history a guy named Hugh glass getting mauled by Grizzly that happened in South Dakota though not up in the mountains because the Grizzlies were out on the plains in this version of the Serengeti that prevailed 150 years ago

► 01:42:55

but we ended up basically wiping all those animals out I mean we we wiped out probably as many as Thirty million bison through the 19th century almost all we got the pronghorns down from 15 million to about 13,000 we drove the elk off the Great Plains that was their primary range was the plans we drove them off and up into the mountains did the same thing with the Grizzlies so we basically reduce this this American Serengeti which Africa didn't do with its Serengeti or its Masai Mara or its value it preserved all it's great animals but we destroyed hours and ended up not ever successfully creating any kind of Wildlife Preserve to sort of save at least a part of it I mean we got Yellowstone of course Yellowstone is set in the Rocky Mountains and so what this a

► 01:43:55

American Prairie Reserve is about now it's based in Bozeman Montana it's only about a dozen years old but it's been pretty wildly successful in trying to do this it's had the imagination this group of people has had the imagination to try to recreate this American Serengeti that we are both our government and our statecraft never did preserve for us and so what they got in mind and Central Montana is taking a couple of large pieces of of existing public lands one is the Missouri River breaks National Monument that Bill Clinton created along the Missouri River and then just Downstream of it still along the Missouri River is the Charles M Russell National Wildlife Refuge

► 01:44:48

and together those two public lands that are along the Missouri River and mostly on the South Bank of the Missouri River and Central Montana

► 01:44:59

makeup about 1.6 1.7 million acres and what American Prairie Reserve is trying to do is to as they come up for sale to acquire the private ranches on the north side of the river with the idea of ultimately creating a preserved that's going to be maybe as big as twice the size of Yellowstone Yellowstone is a little more than two million acres in American Prairie Reserve is shooting for a preserve that would be something like four million Acres with the idea of recreating this American Serengeti of repopulating it with bison with pronghorns with elk with bighorn sheep with mule deer all the animals that were there and then because they are private entity and they know that it's not the fish and wildlife service so they can't on their own merits reintroduce wolves are grizzly bears just sort of sitting back

► 01:45:59

and hoping and letting wolves come out of the nearby Rockies and Grizzlies which Every Spring now are coming out of the the Rocky Mountain front in Montana and and getting out some times as much as a hundred miles out of the plane what the American Prairie Reserve wants to happen is for these animals to get all the way out to this preserve find this recreated American Serengeti with all the animals that were there and give us in our own time of the 21st century this chance to not just read about this in history or maybe see some version of it on a late-night old western movie but actually to experience it ourselves where they going to get them from well I'm getting the Bison is not too difficult because their Surplus bison pretty much around most of the West and we got a larger bought by some population

► 01:46:59

North America right now then we've had since the 1890s more than 300,000 of them so it's fairly easy to come up with bison pronghorns are already there and so all you have to do is just sort of in a make conditions beneficial for their herds to grow same thing with mule deer with elk with big horns are going to still have to reintroduce Big Horns but that was an original rains they were big horns out on the in the Badlands of the Great Plains and then as I said they can't deliberately on their own reintroduce gray wolves are grizzly bears but their idea is that if wolves and grizzly get there then they're welcome and and the I guess they probably wants this preserve exist with all these grazing animals that the Wolves and the Bears will will find it

► 01:47:59

the try not to composition you know it's as I said they've been around for about 10 or 12 years now I'm more than $100 and I've got major donors on both the coast along with lots of you know just people like you and me who give them 10 and $15 or $25 I got lots of friends who once I'd sort of alerted them to their suit have joined American Prairie Reserve and donors small donors the timeline is basically whenever they can make it happen I mean there's some considerable resistance from the ranching Community not only in Montana but kind of across the West because ranchers don't want to see bison and especially bison in Predators replace cattle herds so there's kind of an idiot logical opposition on the part of of ranching people but

► 01:48:59

best to fold right that's one because of the food that the Bison would eat because of battle resources but also because of brucellosis well brucellosis of course is especially in Montana bison and Elk have and that if cattle Janet their beef cannot be sold in North American markets all beef that sold and are supermarkets has to be brucellosis free how do they determine each individual and when they slaughter them well I mean they would if there was a real threat about it the truth is there has never been an instance in the wild of either a bison or an elk transferring brucellosis to cattle how would they transfer to they have to eat the same food now they basically it comes through largely from afterbirth whenever they whenever a bison a cow for exam

► 01:49:59

what has brucellosis gives birth if cattle come through the area say within a few days and Braes the same brass wear after birth has been dropped from a brucellosis infected by Sum then the theory is that a cow could get the disease it's been made to happen that way and Laboratories we have no record of it ever having happened in the wild when they when they made it happen in Laboratories did they force feed the cows I don't think so I mean but I have to say that I have not read the study so I'm not quite sure how they how they pulled it off but they did they did make a transfer happen in a laboratory setting how it's been bizarre about the whole brucellosis thing is that elk are infected with brucellosis far more than bison are but the Rancho Community doesn't seem to be concerned about elk it's bison that they don't

► 01:50:59

want any part of it it seems to be almost dates back to the 19th century when we destroyed the original American Serengeti and killed all these bison and converted the Great Plains into largely a ranching country with cow I mean the idea has been from the ranch and Community ever since that bison or a direct threat to the existing ranching community that if you get too many people and never heard of bison and I don't I'm not sure I can track the logic of their arguments but it somehow seems to lead in that direction they don't like people introducing bison into the middle of a ranching setting particularly what they don't seem to like is someone with an old Montana Ranch of 40 or 50,000 Acres

► 01:51:57

selling that ranch to somebody like American Prairie Reserve which clearly is going to introduce Wildlife on it and remove it from as an active sort of livestock ranching economic Enterprises had in it it's it's so I think the most exciting conservation project that's out in the West in our time this is something that we didn't get a lot of people don't know that that's kind of why I wrote this American Serengeti book cuz I wanted people to understand that we are in 2530 years ago we had the equivalent of the Masai Mara in places like Nebraska and South Dakota in eastern Montana and

► 01:52:57

Troy it just like that and then just a space of a few decades we completely wiped it out and is like I said a minute ago what seems to me to be the largest struction wholesale destruction of wildlife discoverable in modern history and so right now the American Prairie Reserve is just they're just taking that land and buying it up and they haven't started this project at now that I have started the project yeah it it certainly exists and I've got a map of it in the in the book and American Serengeti animals already animals they're trying to come up with $12,000 how dare they blow that Jamie lower right-hand corner there you go lower right-hand corner

► 01:53:51

interesting so there's a lot of ice in there roaming around and this is land they occupied and so he's bison have essentially very few predators and they're just wandering around and they going to repopulate got to repopulate and so one of the things that American Prairie Reserve does when they acquire these ranches is that they remove the fencing from I mean they've been fender on a course to create passwords for bison but they removed or 4, but they remove the fencing in order to let bison roam freely and of course the idea is you ultimately have to have the Predators back you're not going to have a complete ecosystem unless you have the Predators there as well that is really tricky right because they're not allowed to reintroduce grizzly bears they are not allowed to as a private organization know the fish and wildlife service would have to do this and Fish and Wildlife service doesn't actually even the public lands that are there are not managed by

► 01:54:51

Nadia's fish and wildlife service estimation of the population and all the other livestock issues they've had their damn soap so they argue at least you know when I was the last few years I was in Montana on this was about ten years after the Wolves had been recovered we had about 1700 gray wolves in Montana are in the northern Rockies actually I buy about 2012 or so and

► 01:55:23

so the hunters in Montana were up in arms cir the way these Whitetail hunters in South Carolina now are up in arms over coyotes the hunters of Montana up in arms because it wasn't so easy to get an elk anymore and they blame it on wolves and someone from the University of Montana did a study of a particular heard that have been singled out as one that was just being harassed by wolves and it was impossible to kill bull there anymore and the concluded that I actually most of the probation with that was taking place on that elk herd was from mountain lions in not the wolves that have been reduced but it's become the for The Hunting Community the Sporting Community which is had course a century now of getting to hunt elk and Whitetail and mule deer and everything else without competition from predators this is become kind of the new excuse of why I didn't get my elf this year

► 01:56:23

that makes sense also I think it's super important that The Hunting Community step back and understand that these animals are supposed to be preyed upon by wolves and that without them you're going to get to these enormous overpopulation which we tried happened in that hundred year. When we were reintroduced hanging out with no Predator they develop diseases and we drove by this house and we had to pull over and let me out by nocular to my car and I gave you my kids and they're the first time they saw out there was a hundred elk on this lawn they're all over the place and one of the women who live there was explained to us a bad wolves come through just a couple nights before and it was really exciting ever he's looking out the window and I think if you live there if you're up a person is now Connor special Bureau lazy one I get where you could see that that would be something you would complain about but I think the alkyd APT you know they figured it out they don't call as much and maybe people are complaining about that you don't hear the

► 01:57:23

you going as much but that bugling was probably a little unnatural to get a little too cocky that they could just scream and yell whenever they were breeding and I would they they got preyed upon right well you know what we have to remember is that we are newcomers to North America this is a very old place and wolves and coyotes

► 01:57:47

and mountain lions have been part of the ecologically equation here with all of these animals that we like to hunt with pronghorns with elk with milder I mean this is they've been evolving with one another for hundreds of thousands of years I mean pronghorns I talked about this in the American females always have two fonts they basically have little litters of 2 and the reason they have to is because coyotes prey on Pronghorn Fons and so you basically have an heir and a spare and the spare is the one that you assume the coyotes are going to get wow so they evolved disability and I know hundreds of thousands of years ago so it is just coming to terms with the fact that we're we're brand new here and it's going to take a while for us to actually truly become Americans in an echo

► 01:58:47

magical Stanton one way to do it is to think in terms of these long patterns that extinct in back through time I want to talk to you about your paper on bison is called Bison diplomacy and bison ecology is the opposite of ecology but you were saying was incredibly fascinating was that when we came along when the Mark I say we obviously if my grandparents are immigrants it wasn't me but when Europeans when you know people that we consider America's now came along a few hundred years ago and then when they started doing the market hunting and killing off all the Bison who we had done was something that the Native Americans were already on their way to doing

► 01:59:34

well I mean so let me let me assure to offer a revision of that okay native people and bison have coexisted in that have been going on for eight or nine thousand years with the the modern bison I mean if you track it back to you know the the large pleistocene bison bison antiquus and buy some ladder Franz the big long-horned bison long-horned bison it was so it's a long-horned bison and then there is a slightly smaller one that existed farther into into our own time or I expressly of these pure

► 02:00:25

well some hearts are wild looking that thing that's amazing so that's that's buy some lot of fun I'm sure you're aware of the scrub Bulls like particularly in Australia with these animals get free and they become feral and domestic cows change the characteristics look at the size of that thing so what

► 02:00:50

the Contemporary are bison over on the right side of the graphic and you can see how much smaller it is than the animals that were here during the pleistocene ice and Ladder Franz is the animal over on the far left and bison antiquus is one of these in the middle is probably the very middle one right there these animals were hunted by early human Hunters here to when the plaque cuz they arrive before the pleistocene produce that Extinction scenario so they hunted these these large forms of Bison but about eight thousand years ago

► 02:01:30

the large ones having become extinct bison sort of evolved into the smaller I mean some people actually refer to the modern botched episode dwarf from play compared to these older one and so what I argue and I've got a chapter on this in American Serengeti to sort of my most recent take on this bison ecology buy some diplomacy peace which came out very fancy Journal academic Journal but 25 years ago now but argue is that had been going on for eight thousand years and probably the reason that bison never that Indians never hunted them to Extinction is because bison were actually better adapted to the grasslands than people were

► 02:02:22

so they were more successful as a grassland species than humans were

► 02:02:28

until we get the introduction from the European arrival of a couple of things that change the equation one as the reduction of force to North America which Native people in the west quickly take up and gives them a belt and ability to hunt bison far more efficiently and to become just as well adapted to life on the grasslands as the as the Bison why but the other thing that changes the equation is the market the introduction of the market economy and so what that article actually argued and what my chapter in American Serengeti argues to I'm a changed my mind over the last 25 years about this is that

► 02:03:13

the market became a force for native people just as it did for people all around the world and Africa an Indian everywhere else that they found difficult to resist and one of the primary reasons they found it difficult to resist was because if you were hunting with Flint arrowheads your best Arrowhead maker could maybe produce 15 of them through hard labor in a day

► 02:03:47

but you could go out and kill a bison and have your wife tan its Pelt and make a robe soflete an robe out of it and you could trade that to a white Trader from the Hudson's Bay Company or the American Fur Company

► 02:04:09

and they would give you a hundred fifty steel arrowheads that were far better than the flat ones that took your best arrow-maker a day to produce and you could get a hundred and fifty of them for the work of 30 minutes going out and shooting a bison and of course your wife had to spend a week working on the pill but basically the European market had so many labor-saving Technologies

► 02:04:45

steel Arrowhead Steel knives steel hatchets firearms

► 02:04:54

that it became almost impossible for Indian people to resist trading for those things

► 02:05:02

I mean if you didn't trade for them in the tribe down the river did then they suddenly had guns and you didn't and so you were going to be out competed by your neighbors and so perfect what happened was at the lower of the goods of the industrial world in the market economy Drew Indian people into the market hunt so that by the 1820s and 1830s and 1840s they were still killing buffalo in order to provide meat for the family and to provide and hides to make a teepee and all that but they were killing an additional percentage of animals to trade to the European market and so they became actors in the market economy that was basically wiping all these animals out so it also was the reintroduction of the horse as well right because it wasn't for that they were hunting these animals on foot and they were far less effective

► 02:06:02

yeah and I are there beasts of Burden was the dog and so couldn't travel nearly as far obviously by using dog propelled Locomotion as you could horses and you couldn't carry the kind of burdens the kind of goods that you can carry on dogs that you could with horses and so the transformation from being a dog propels people to being a horse for pale people was it was a revolution and their lives in one of the things that happened as a result of it there were people all around the borders of the Plains many of whom were agriculturalists who are farmers who

► 02:06:46

headed up especially their young men ended up abandoning farming

► 02:06:54

because they realize that the potential for rising and status and for creating a better life was much higher if you mattered up on a horse and rode out of the planes and hunted Buffalo and so I mean there were entire groups like the trolls had been relatives of the man Dan's in the air. Says and had been agriculturalists and that entire group of people ended up abandoning farming matted up on horses rode out of the planes become Buffalo Hunter I mean during the. From basically about 1720 when a lot of the people in the west began to acquire horses and the what's spread horses as I mentioned earlier in our conversation was basically in 1680 the Pueblo Indians down in New Mexico rose up against the Spanish colonists and drove them out of New Mexico and in the process they captured

► 02:07:54

older herds of watch. They captured their goats their sheep and their horse hurts and some animals some of the horses got loose and it sort of the origin at least one of the origins of the wild horses that spread across the west but the Pueblo Indians trade the sheep and the goats to the people who become the navajos to become the herders of goats and sheep and they start training the horses which they have now and great Surplus that they liberated from the Spaniard up the mountains from One Tribe to another to the Utes to the shoshones to the Nez Perce to the blackfeet to the Cinnabons and then on out of the planes and so from a1683 about Seventeen Twitter 1730 just about everybody in the west end up getting horses and you have to have the culture will it to them you can't just hand the animal over to somebody and there's a famous story where the first horse that the blackfeet see they offer it buffalo meat to eat

► 02:08:53

and somebody has to say it's a Kalispell Indiana is riding horses and no no not Buffalo made it eats grass and crazy some rest and they have to be shown how to take care of horses and how did Gayle stallions and how to ride them and how to break them in the whole bit so there's a culture that goes with it but once they acquire them and this. It only lasts for about 200 years of the famous horse mounted buffalo hunting Plains Indian emerges that lifestyle becomes which is kind of a backward step really an anthropological terms you assume that any you go from hunting to be in Farmer and you go from farmer to be a city dweller this is a step going back the other way but it proved to be so compelling the so many people as I said earlier especially young men

► 02:09:48

too often these farming communities didn't have much opportunity for Upward Mobility but you can mount up on that horse and ride at become Buffalo Hunter and Men you know the world was your oyster so is essentially the influence of the Europeans coming here and now offering up the market and creating this environment where they where was really profitable and so and it became kind of something that maybe people almost couldn't escape you couldn't get away from it because there were some groups it said okay we're not going to participate in this and know but that immediately disadvantage them compared to the group write down the river and so people who didn't participate were pretty quickly over run by the people who became fully engaged in the horse hunt and the market hunt instances where I mean like the the Sioux and people you know in the movies the lakotas and they basically march across the

► 02:10:48

Northern West like Pac-Man once they acquire horses they come out of Minnesota and out of the woodlands and march across the West gobbling up one tribe after another and taking away their buffalo territory I mean they're still doing it down to the time of the battle of the Little Bighorn that's why I crows fight on the side of the United States at the Battle of Little Bighorn is because the lakotas are seizing their Countryside the goal of Cota is what they call themselves and other Native Americans called in the Sioux and the word that we say but yeah I mean on the Southern Plains the Comanches did basically the same thing they created this Empire that was really auto part and able to compete with the Spanish Empire with the Republic of Texas and even for a while against the United State and they created around this this horse propelled

► 02:11:48

bison hunt that provided Goods for the market economy steel arrowheads did they or when did they start using firearms

► 02:12:01

well I started using Firearms I mean I was early trade item and it was usually in the very beginning of contact between Europeans and Native people a firearm was maybe a couple of them or given to that the head man to the leaders of a particular tribe as a status on them one time I was on editor on a forum anthropological Journal call ethnohistory and my task as a manager I was an assistant editor associate editor something at my task was to read the the incoming manuscript that were submitted for publication and one of the ones I read I've never forgotten this was an account by a traitor in South America

► 02:12:49

who was turning his Trading Post over to a newly arriving traitor who I think they were Portuguese and so this traitor who had experienced in the area was queried by the new guys it so how do I get the Indians to trade with me

► 02:13:08

and the guy who been on the scene for a while

► 02:13:12

nothing to it

► 02:13:14

write out 15 or 20 miles into the Wilderness and take a Stihl axe

► 02:13:22

and suspended from a rope from the branch of a tree

► 02:13:28

and then leave and then two weeks 3 weeks later go back

► 02:13:34

and this guy this new Trader did exactly that and he went back two weeks later to the spot that's clearing in the forest in the Amazon in Florence where he had tied this double-bladed still acts and there were hundreds of native people gathered around the spot wanting more of these objects or of these axis because steel I mean there's a famous story when Captain Cook first puts off the coast of the Waimea coast of Kauai and the lion people paddle their Outriggers out and climb on board his ships and immediately start pulling all the nails out of the planking on the ship and Diving off into the water with the nails because they want metal they realized this is such an advantage over

► 02:14:29

the technology that they have and so I mean they're willing to trade what what do you want for an ax why what do you want for a box of nails so they just let the people know that the ax was a thing hanging from a tree leaving for awhile let him play with it and go back wow

► 02:14:52

that's that's a mind-blower so that's how how native people kind of all over the world who hadn't progressed to the iron Revolution to the Iron Age were seduced into the market economy is that they were offered items that were so compelling

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and as I upset a couple times now it if you'd if you didn't participate in it you kind of within a decade you were disadvantage because everybody around you was going to end up doing it and so you got caught up in it and so that's how that's how it what I was arguing in Bissonnet college and bison diplomacy a man and their argument is slightly revised and American Serengeti but it's the same argument and it's become the prevailing argument about what happened to bison in the 19th century is it we used to think that okay there were still a hundred million of them by the end of the Civil War and then guys go out with rifles and space 20 years that shoot them all down and that's the end of it for their tongues and for their hide but what the story actually is is a much more believable and real story that it has to do with the introduction of horses which drink water and Grace grass and so that reduces the carrying capacity for bison

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once there two or three million horses out on the plains there can't be as many bison anymore it happens because there is a climate downturn in the 1840s for about 15 years there's a drought that reduces the carrying capacity for bison so climate plays a role we know that diseases like Anthrax and ultimately brucellosis get among the Buffalo herds and those diseases probably got among the Buffalo hurts because oxen and other animals on the Overland Trails took these European exotic diseases Out Among the Bison herds infected them with disease and then there's no question that the way the market worked it was and there's course no regulation of it this is before we ever regulate and I will have any environmental regulations it's just a free-for-all capitalist World also no Refrigeration Refrigeration

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and eat it within a certain time. So that you can try them in that dry climate you can dry it and preserve some of it but yeah there's no Refrigeration

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sew-in on I mean no no Refrigeration thing really plays a role in the butt of the famous Buffalo jumps that happened in the west because you couldn't control how many animals were going to go off those jumps and so if you wanted to run 10 off in order to provide you with Buffalo for the next month and a half your tribe of 125 Buffalo Run off cliffs yeah and you wanted to run off 10 and instead you got into a herd of 1313 hundred and they all went off and it is even became the first thing we know about these Buffalo jumps at people regarding Indian people regarded this as a stratagem that you don't want to let surviving Buffalo

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go out onto the Plains and inform other Buffalo that there's this thing called a jump that you want to avoid and set up they end up wanting to make sure that they get every single animal that you're driving so that you don't have Buffalo go off and tell other Buffalo how this works ignorance on their part that the disease animal could communicate like that or if they had some sort of an intuition about how instincts and how how certain fears were developed

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well I think you know and I know I spend some time talking about this and the Buffalo chapter in American Serengeti it has to do with what we would call native science but what you mentioned at the last there that they do understand and they probably seen examples of in an animal learning very quickly how to avoid trap but it also has to do with the cause-effect explanation that they have for how the world works and the they don't have this kind of in a western explanation for this is a cause and this is an effect they have a cause-effect relationship to be sure but that explains the world in a different way

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and it is people pretty pretty generally believed that bison were a people that they were a family of animals and they had families that were very similar to the families that any of people had and they had a controlling Master animal sort of a buffalo master who you had to appeal to try to get the animals to give themselves up to humans for the good of humanity and so the idea was that you had this kind of ethereal tie to these animals it was a tie that we would explain now looking back I was so catch a religious thing this was some sort of spiritual kind of understanding of how people in an animal's interacted with one another but it was informed a little bit by kind of native scientific

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patient too and I think in particular this one where the argument wasn't it it's from what I've read it's been if it was pretty widespread that if you did a Buffalo Jump you needed to kill all the animals that went off the Jump you couldn't let any of them get away I think that probably was more in the line of kind of native science because they may be had observed there being instances where an animal that had gone off a jump and had survived the next time you encountered that animal it might be particularly marked with a white patch on a hip or something and a few months later you saw that particular animal in another group of bison and when you try to do a jump it led that hurt off in a different direction and so I think there was kind of native science in that but there are you know where we got to and talkin about this was no Refrigeration so if you ran 1300 of them off and it's August

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then all you're going to get to do and you got a group of 125 people all you're going to get to do is basically take the best pieces off about 25 or 30 animals and you're going to lose the rest of it because you can't preserve the beat of all those animals so they find these sites where they just be Mass carcasses or mass bones oh yeah there's a side in Texas it's called a bonfire shelter site and the reason it's called that Anthropologist gave it their or archaeologist get it this name is because there was a bison jump that was so big there we think about 10,000 years ago during the Folsom. That and so many animals went off that jump and only a few of them could be harvested by the people who did the jump that that big mass of animals set there and basically

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over to three weeks of time burst into spontaneous combustion and scorched the cliff that they had gone off of and so we're White's first thought they thought somebody has built a giant bonfire at the base of that Cliff look at that it's Street hundred feet up the side of the cliff and what archaeologists realize about it when they began investigating it was that it had been a huge mass of Bison driven off a cliff that had burst in hot weather in the spontaneous combustion and probably burn for for 5 days how do they how they burst into flames well I mean in hot weather with that much Decay and fermentation of all the juices that are in intestines and stomach you basically created condition where you got flammable chemistry that

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lights what causes the ignition

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you know who knows I mean I think it's the explanation of red is spontaneous but you know somebody may have walked over with a torch and tossed it onto the pile of animals and burn them thousands of animals explaining this idea that if one of them survived they would inform the other ones there's a study that was done recently on mice and this is a direct genetic studies hope might not be totally related but it might be in some way they took these mice and they spray the Citrus smell in their cage and then when they smell the Citrus smell they shock them they shot their feet they had the the bottom for the cage was electrically charged and every time they sprayed that Citrus smell that would give him a zap then their ancestors who never experienced it before they did the same thing to them just

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play the Citrus smell and they had a physical reaction a heightened sense of danger fear you know Dae Dae realize that a shock was coming just by the smell that's interested were terrified of it now instincts are passed on well you know what does what mean we've sort of concluded from studies that have been done primarily in Italy over studying families through the generations and Italy debt

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descendants of a particular group of people will preserve evidence in their genes sometimes four five six Generations down a timeline of an ancestor who went through a famine or a starving time and so that famine would produce a physiological effect on the body and that would be passed down so that geneticists could discover effects of it several Generations down a timeline so similar to what you're describing with with mice and I think that's probably in on we just studied at least I'm not aware that there have been a lot of studies at this kind of thing but what it really kind of means is that where the products

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you know in our modern world of things that happen to our ancestors maybe two or three hundred years ago and maybe even the fears like they think that Arachnophobia on a video phobia on a lot of fears of snakes and bugs and things that people have might be directly attributed to ancestors being bitten a poison by those things or I seeing someone getting bit of Poison by them I mean speaking of that sort of thing and now there's a a section I do it when I'm talking about the development of poisonous to try to eradicate coyotes in the coyote America book where

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the reason during World War II we decided the government What Now call wildlife services this agency that was trying to solve the Predator Problem by Exterminating coyotes the reason used our new chemical insights during World War II come up with new poisons against coyotes was that they began to realize that strychnine which have been the poison of preference for the previous 70 or so years was a poison that kill coyotes too quickly

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and coyotes are really smart about cause and effect and so a coyote that was in the presence of an animal that ate a baked Cube and then suddenly went into convulsions and strychnine produce these really sort of bizarre and grotesque deaths that those animals would not take a strychnine bait after they saw that happen to one of their members and so in the the 1940s we came up with three new poisons one of them was call

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sodium essay

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sodium fluoroacetate which is the one we now called 1080 and it was called 1080 and it was used for the next 19 that were affected still used in limited application today but it was a poison that was developed after 1080 tries by this laboratory that assist 1928 specialized in developing poisons to kill wolves and coyotes it's called the eradication methods laboratory so 1080 another one sodium of aluminium was a poison that

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kill coyotes so slowly that they would often survive for a week after they ate the poison

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and in that week their pads would fall off their hair would fall off the pillage would come off their bodies there is one story where a farmer in Colorado found during the winter of about 18 or 1947-48 he found seven or eight coyotes in his barn with no pads on their feet no hair on their bodies all huddled together trying to stay warm skis and he killed him with a pitchfork

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but the reason we introduce these poisons and it was a third one to which was a cyanide basically the one that we call m-44 is now that her little cartridges the Firesign I miss into their mouth is because these poisons kill them slowly enough that other coyotes witnessing the victim taking the bite of the poison bait didn't put two-and-two together

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I mean so we had we even had these kind of insights about how animals will observe something and preserve a memory of what they've seen and then try to actually come up with with a poison that plays against that I'm who it fascinating

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the whole the whole subject absolutely fascinating listen man I'm so glad we got together I want to get you together with Randall Carlson. Would you be interested in coming back to do another share notes cuz he has some really interesting observations about these asteroid impacts and I think the two of you together would have a fascinating conversation so let's do that down the line but until then your book coyote America is fantastic I loved it thank you very much for that and I'm going to I haven't started reading it yet but American Serengeti is your other book I'm sure it's equally awesome and I really enjoy this thank you so much really appreciate all right folks see you next week.

► 02:30:56

thank you everybody for tuna to the podcast thank your sponsors thanks to caveman coffee for fueling us with caffeine and wonderful delicious flavors go to caveman Coffee Co., use the code word Rogan and you'll save 10% thank you to LegalZoom go to legalzoom.com enter the code word Rogan at checkout for special savings and thank you to NatureBox go to naturebox.com Rogan for 50% off your first order and thank you each and every episode 2 on it.com go to Onnit use the code word Rogan and you will save 10% off any and all supplements okay folks that's it that's it for today will be back next week until then enjoy your time I'll see you everybody in Buffalo this Friday night with Joey Diaz and Tony Hinchcliffe very excited

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can I wait so