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historical/zoological question that is driving me crazy

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am always amazed at the level of wide ranging education here, so I am throwing out a question, and if anybody can answer it please do.


what lived on the pampas in the period after early humans came to south america, but before europeans did?


the pampas are a huge, rich grassfield, that for the past 200 years have fed millions of cattle that have then fed millions of people. the potential was there for grazing animals to utilize that resource.


as far as I can see, around the time of the early humans hitting the region, the animals that fed off the pampas died off.

while there were large herebavores living at higher elevation, none seemed to have moved to the pampas, leaving them, as far as I can see, more or less empty.

anyway - I can't seem to find anything that addresses this question. I find it hard to believe that in 20,000 years or so, at the very least 10,000 years, nothing adapted to eat all that grass.
post #2 of 5
Pampatheres, horses, giant sloth and The occasional mastodont If imright... Pampatheres was The first to go i think...
post #3 of 5
I believe they've actually found camels and elephants as well.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
^ thanks - but these were all extinct within a few thousand years of the first peoples getting to the land, and then nothing, as far as I can see, took over until the Europeans introduced cattle. I am wondering what lived in that land in the interum, if anything. it seems strange that nothing filled that gap.

thanks
post #5 of 5
The wikipedia entry on the Pampas deer implies that there wasn't much else (aside from rheas) when the Euros came:
Quote:
Scientists believe the deer evolved with no culling predators because when alarmed, they stamp their feet, have a particular trot and whistle, and deposit odor.
Quote:
Pampas deer are the most polymorphic mammals. This large genetic variation reflects the fact that there were millions at one time. Their current high nucleotide diversity shows that they had very large numbers even in just the recent past; so recent it is not reflected in their genes yet
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