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Thinking in mammoth time

I told a group of students a while ago that we had red pandas in North America until “relatively recently.” Big mistake. “Wait,” one stopped me. “What do you mean by ‘relatively recently?’” Oh, you know. 4.5 million years. I don’t know if paleo cultivates the temporal mind, or if the temporal […]

Can we please stop calling wild horses invasive?

The horse has a complex and fascinating environmental history. Wild horses have become such an icon of the American west that it’s easy to forget that humans introduced them to the continent five hundred years ago, during the age of European exploration. Horses quickly became part of Native American livelihoods and played an integral role in […]

How fast can trees migrate?

“As I did stand my watch upon the hill, I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought the wood began to move.” – Messenger, Shakespeare’s Macbeth The simple story of the last 2.5 million years of vegetation response to climate change could be summed up like this: temperature goes up and down, plants […]