« The Joe Rogan Experience

#942 - Dan Flores

2017-04-05 | 🔗
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
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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as fifty percent off your first order when you go to Nature box, dot, com forward, Slash Rogan, that's nature, box, dot, com forward, Slash Rogan for fifty percent off your first order: Nature Box, dot, com, ports. I stroke right my guest today, is Dan Flores and Dan. Is the author of Coyote America he's the author of American Serengeti and 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 even AL's 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
The Joe Rogan experience so it's good to meet you man but great to meet you and thank you very much for doing this. I've learned more about coyotes over the last couple of months. Reading your book and listening to your podcast with my good friend, Stephen L, which was amazing, who, what crazy animal. That is, you know. I have coyotes all 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 I watched him hop the fence with the chicken in his mouth, like God, Dam is all around us, especially I live in a fairly rural area around here about Forty minutes outside LA so it's you know the nights were quiet and you hear him screaming in the night, and I don't know much about him until I started reading your book them.
Yeah they're, amazing animal. I mean, I think, there's not really another mammal aside from that has a biography like these animals do, and that's kind of one, the reasons I got fascinated with some They were doing the same thing around me when I was a kid growing up in Louisiana. I mean sort of the beginning of my my getting captivated by these little small wolves because they were suddenly showing up in the by use and swamps of Louisiana when I was twelve one thousand three hundred and fourteen years old and as far as I knew this was an animal that was supposed to be in the deserts of the west and Does that seem to be something that you know: commanded one's attention that critter is appearing in places where you would never expect it and now Of course, everybody in the country is dealing with them. That is so fast
saying that in our lifetime they've spread. American Southwest to every single state in literally every single city in the country. Yeah, that's true I just got a somebody sent me this yesterday. That somewhere in Georgia, they have some sort of a bounty on these wolves. You know, coyotes, that's willing A lot of people, don't realize that a coyote is a wolf it's a it's a separate species from gray wolves in red wolves, but it's out of the north, American wolfline me coyotes are distinctively north american animals. They come out of tainted evolution that began here five point three million years ago, so yeah they're small wolves, and I send you this to me. Don't you found are beautiful. This is George. Coyote challenge apparently they're offering some sort of bounty. For each coyote killed now. What's fascinate Think about this, and one of the things that I learned from your book is that when a car,
nobody yells when they're doing their call in the night there essentially making roll call and when of them doesn't respond the female rates more pops yeah. It's? It's one of the you know one of the many things that's probably happening. When they're, when they're howling, I mean 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 can Michael Metabolic change in the females, the breeding females, the alpha ones, and they end oftentimes having larger litters of pups, which is why some like this- and I was just in South Carolina two weeks ago and there was a conversation about this about this Georgia bounty because
South Carolina, it's another place where coyotes are fairly new, only been there in the last twenty or twenty five years they were arguing that you know they had some pretty good science, that coyotes are taking. You know in some areas as many as sixty percent of the white tailed deer fonts, and so the hunters are screaming along a lot about this, because it means it's getting harder to to take a whitetail now so South Carolina hasn't 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 lot to learn by the western or from the western experience, because the truth is we and trying to eradicate- and I mean totally
exterminate coyotes in the American West uh we the years from about one thousand, nine hundred and fifteen through about one thousand nine hundred and seventy two in and all out war, attempting to exterminate them and The only result of that as a result of their particular kinds of adaptations in their evolution in North America. Is that we spread them across the entire country. We not only rhythm across the entire country. I mean they're in every state they colonize their 49th state, Delaware. In two thousand and ten, so they only they're, not in Hawaii, because they haven't stowed away and made it across the Pacific. Yet and you know I mean if they do, you can imagine those endangered name days on the big island are totally done for. But They are not only at every single state in the union, except for why, but they, There are seven thousand miles now, north and South and North America, from above the arctic circle.
The way down to Central America, and big to colonize into S America. So the uh cams to exterminate them, I mean I can Blaine, how this why this happens has to do with their evolution in the particular deputations area have, but the attempt exterminate them, or even how to control their numbers. Almost always produces exactly the opposite effect. So Georgia is going to end up with more Please, then never had before in there to try to suppress their population is not fascinate now it is it's so contrary to logic than what you would think would be the solution for something like that. I mean and when you go back to the American West before the introduction of wolves into Yellowstone in the 1990s. We had this process. Actually extra painted them from a vast majority of the United States, there's very, very few left right, that's true, and the
if you could, please explain the relationship that the gray wolves had to the coyotes, which is one of the reasons that the coyote became so adaptable, it's true I mean they didn't coyotes didn't become so smart. You know, in the southwest the Hispanics say the only thing that's smarter than a coyote is God but didn't become that smart, an that adept, surviving anything most that happens to them, because of us I mean: we've only been trying to wipe them out or control their populations for a little more than a century now, and that's too short a time for them to evolve? his abilities to to survive. They have all those abilities because they, or the small dog in a big dogs world and yeah, I mean gray. Wolves have this very interesting story to gray, wolves come
out of North American Kane did evolution, but there one of the case species that ended up, leaving North America for a time and evolving for a a million years in Asia an in Europe and they come back gray. Insert coming back to North America till about twenty five or thirty thousand years ago, during sort of the height of the late pleistocene and when they did Coyote These, of course, had been here an had evolved into their present species about eight hundred thousand to a million years ago, and when gray wolves return, I mean they basic, we just started. Kicking the crap out of Coyotes Ann coyotes evolve. Ability to survive being harassed and persecuted as a out of Bing basically harassed by gray, wolves so. This is why, when you hear about the coywolf that you hear on the
coast. This is a coyote that bread with the Red Wolf and in other eastern wolves, that's correct, yeah, and that's I a very interesting story it's kind of one of those instances where 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 wolves and other eastern wolves, like the Algonquin Wolf In Eastern Canada and and northern New England, the reason those and scan all hybridize and readily. Do I mean they're, no behavioral barriers at all, breeding with one another, and so whenever a coyote shows up uh
and it's in the vicinity of an Algonquin, Wolf say a female that comes into heat. I mean she'll readily pick a coyote as a mate. But the reason they do, that is because those animals, red wolves, eastern wolves of various kinds and coyotes all seem to have come out of a group of is that, unlike the gray, Wolf, never left North America and they probably didn't Sept right from one another until three hundred thousand to one slash two million years ago. So, Separation is recent enough that whenever they encounter one enough, but one- today they very readily hybridize? I mean it's sort of the both 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 in the species, because red wolves so
quickly and easily hybridized, with coyotes that Coyote jeans swamped pure red, Wolf jeans, so I mean that's something thing that you know is millions of years or hundreds of thousands of years old and evolution, but we're getting to see it play out right around us in our own time and meanwhile gray, wolves and coyotes in the west hybridizing at all, and so that's explanation. Is that gray, wolves left and didn't come back until little left? Well, they just they happen to be in. In evolutionary terms, one of the groups and jackals, did the same thing that 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've got four subspecies of gray wolves in North America. All of which seem to have come back to north by the way at different times, so
had sort of separate migrations back to North America. So the mexican gray, Wolf the western gray, Wolf the Arctic Wolf. These are all grey wool of species but they're separated at the sub specific level, and they all seem to have come back North America at different times, but they they had left, North America, like about three, 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 them anymore, but they sort of our mortal enemies of one another. I mean when we ran gray, wolves to Yellowstone in nineteen, five he said, had seventy five years in Yellowstone without any wolves, I mean that served as a wonderful laboratory to study them too, because it gave us a sense of what happen
with coyotes, when nobody is harassing him when people are harassing in which course we didn't in Yellowstone Park and when wolves aren't harassing them either in. What we realized is that they create these really stable territories. They a very packs and their population rises to a particular point that carrying capacity of the landscape based on what they eat. Which is mostly rodents and rabbits and things, and some fruit and berries, But it doesn't they don't they're popular sort of levels often stays at a caring capacity So we got to watch that happen in Yellowstone for, like seventy five years, Ann become sort of the the exam full of what would happen if we just left them alone, I mean some people Well, if we don't try to control and how they're going to you know, they're just going to be millions upon millions of them running everywhere, but that's actually
only do that when you try to persecute a man, they go into this colonization mode and generate more and more and more pups have more more pups survive. So Ella stone in that period from nineteen twenty five to nineteen. Ninety five was this: sort of model of what happens when you just leave 'em the hell alone, an 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 expect a territory that we either now don't seem to. I mean one of the things that you know has happened. Obviously, in the last three hundred years or so last. Seventy five years at least is 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,
populations are suppressed, it's easier for them to get the pups that they do have to adulthood I mean in Yellowstone, for example, one of the things we saw in that period when they weren't being harassed in the 60s seventies 80s. Is that They would have a litter of five or six pups and they could only get a couple of them to adult but whenever you try to troll their populations and momentarily suppress their populations I mean the result- is that there's 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 marvel possibility. I mean I talk about a good, in the book. It's called Shin fusion there. One of the
new species- and we happen to be one of the other mammal species around the world that does this, where they, have the ability to exists as a social, animal and a case of coyotes as a pack animal, of course, but whenever they're pressured they tend to split apart into singles and pairs and they scatter across the landscape, and that's what since colonizing across the continent. The fact that they can do that is separate some really from wolves right and that's why they weren't able to wipe them out in the west. Yeah, that's exactly it. I mean, if you think about what happen gray wolves and we started the sort of decided effort to eliminate gray, wolves from the American West end fully I mean we started. Just ordinary people started putting out strychnine wait for them in the eighteen sixties, 1970s, but was it ranchers at
the star. That was because of stock jet yeah was ranchers and just travelers on the Oregon trail. On the emigrant trails, I mean people saw have regarded because, they came out of Europe with a background with wolves? Yes, that's one of the things that distinguishes us, Americans and coyotes. Is it we didn't have coyotes in Europe, so we didn't arrive with this pre loaded preconception about the role coyotes played in the world, but we did with tools like bears and wolves, and so people just from the very beginning. Whenever the Atlantic keyboard was settled uh There were Wolf drives and Wolf round ups and every kind of attempt to Wipeout wolves as competitors with us for our stock. So in the west, people just threw strychnine bait out. Let me strychnine was invented in
Pennsylvania in eighteen, forty eight 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, I mean they would. If they hung around long enough to get the animal, they would scan it and try to sell the pal, but just poison them like crazy, then in nineteen fifteen, this government agency call the Biological survey, which positions itself as the solution to predators. First decides it's the wolf that we need to take out man 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, They do it as you just men, primarily because wolves are such pack animals, so pack oriented that if you could kill
trap, one member of a pack you could. Use the sent from that animal an 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 they tended to scatter and go into s fishing mode, and so, date. As you said a minute ago, that's exactly why we were able take out wolves by the middle of the 1920s. We pretty much. It resolved the Wolf issue in the west, but Year year after year, as Wolf numbers in decline, I mean I'll offer example in Montana, for instance, one thousand eight hundred and ninety nine, the state Montana bounty twenty three three thousand wolves. I was one thousand eight hundred and ninety nine, Twenty one years later by one thousand nine hundred and twenty, they only
bounties on seventeen gray wolves, because they had 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 one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine, through one thousand nine hundred and twenty one and right on into the 1930s in Montana they were bounding. Thirty coyotes in eighteen, ninety, nine and one thousand nine hundred and ten thirty thousand coyotes, and one thousand nine hundred and eighteen Thirty, three thousand coyotes- I mean the number of coyotes, never while Wolf populations just plummeted down, is so fascinating, what a crazy little animal that is, it is, and it's it's so in wonderfully counter intuitive the whole kind of environmental story of America, because what you always expect is that anytime we put our mind to taking on some creature 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 driven mad by his inability to control the Great White Whale to control nature and that in a lot of pain this is that seems to be where we wheel and when people realize that you can't do anything about coyotes. It kind of drives people out of their minds, because this just not the american way we can all always deal with an animal yeah it is it's going to be very frustrating to people in a lot of ways but it's kind of amazing. I mean really kind of magical in a lot of ways. That that they're so they're so adaptable and that all team you're saying because of their relationship with the gray wolf. Now, how do we know that the gray Wolf left well, I know that the there. Still wolves in America. There's no question
about then, and so I mean that is a tricky I mean there is uh. And also, I would hasten to say, first of all, I'm not a geneticist, I'm not biologists, I'm basically an environmental writer, an somebody who is history, a lot um and there is unresolved science out there and by what I mean, what I mean by that is that there are a couple of different camps. Uh 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, his name is Robert Wayne and he has done
genetic work on chain. It's one of his papers is called. The title includes the phrase enigmatic make flight. And he's done analysis on coyotes, red wolves, gray, wolves and eastern wolves. An his argument is that. Gray, wolves, red wolves and eastern wolves are all actually so some version of gray wolves, so that's uh, 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, one advance by a group of geneticists from Canada, led by guy named Paul Wilson and that's the that's, the mission that the US fish and wildlife service and its endangered to be
he's division takes and there 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 Eastern wolves all come out of a clade, the biological term c, a s c l a d e a played of animals that purely North american in origin, and it had a probably a similar ancestor as recently as maybe three hundred thousand years to five hundred thousand years ago, so We've got two different arguments about the relationship of coyotes 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 services using is because
They use some, they use evidence beyond just genetics, they also use morphology and they use fossils and Robert Wayne in the group of geneticists, who work with him all seem to just rely specifically on So they don't ever try to verify. There findings by looking at the fossil record, for example, so I don't know how it's going to play out between these two groups, but I've find the argument, the canadian geneticists that had inform the US fish and wildlife services strategy a little bit more compelling right now, but I mean it's something: to pay attention to we'll see how it goes well. It seems like you need some sort of a really comprehensive we have looking at it. 'cause you're dealing with so many different factors right if you're trying to acquire evidence stand. Twenty five thousand years ago, it seems like it's gonna, be a
I like what just it's very odd to me that we You know as much as we do know. I mean try to figure it all out is going to be incredibly frustrating when you're dealing with so little evidence- and you look at the fossil record- mean a lot of the animals that died twenty five thousand years ago, there's zero evidence of them right, yeah that that's right, I mean at twenty five thousand years ago, for example in the the light that's the saying the minutes from La Brea. Tar pit indicates HI coyotes were slightly different animal than they are now, they were at the time I think gray wolves were coming back into North America returning to their evolutionary homeland. Coyotes were much bigger. More strapping had larger dentition, stronger jaws and what looks like happened is, when gray wolves, arrived in the west and began competing with these larger morse trapping coyotes.
Coyote sort of SOD a different path. They they sort of step. Back away from outright competition with an even bigger chain id and evolved into a smaller, more gracile I'll That was not much just a pure predator in scavenger, but more omnivorous and so became our modern Kane. A trans species. Yeah. It's not will say you know, as you mentioned a minute ago. I it's hard to know all this. Much of this information is fairly recent. I mean we just got a kind of a reappraisal of the taxonomy of the north. American wolves essential in the last seven. After ten years, our other wool. Omnivorous or is it just coyotes? Well, wolves can
the omnivorous but they're they're, pretty much really carnivorous pack predators. I find Kayo the crap in my yard. Time Dan Scott Berries in it. Oh yeah, yeah, like they eat a lot of like these little red, the crowd here: yeah they they eat. Juniper's, I mean the same thing is happening it on my place in the Mexico, starting essentially out in August or September, all the kind early droppings that I've found on the place. I mean I've got a lot of coyotes in my place in New Mexico has just been bill with juniper berries, that's what they've been eating. I mean they color in know, running down rabbits and eating rats and mice and things, but I mean when they move into cities they tend to eat, I mean when they have access to fruit trees. They tend to eat. A lot of fruit, so well I mean that people have posted Photos on the internet at our Youtube videos that show them plucking apple.
Peaches and things off trees in their backyards, and they really go for that sort of stuff. So bizarre, Let's was just such a strange animal, and so do we know of wolves do anything like that or is it just a coyote characteristic? It's pretty much a coyote character is Coming in as we've and saying the coyote The evolutionary sense is of a small wolf, but it is different, Ashley from gray, wolves and one of the ways it's different, that the biologists the behavioralists have watched. Coyotes interact with one another and watch grey wolves interact with one another, is indication of how much more MAC oriented, hence sort of predator carnivorous wolves are wolves, because they exist mostly as despite our in our cultural
motif of the lone Wolf actually Wolves are such pack animals that they have uh much wider range of expressions that they can to one another and their interactions with one another and they they basically will sort of cage with one another in a repertoire of grimaces and an and showing their teeth are curling their lip. Of course, all sorts of body language where they curl their tails under an they'll drop, their heads and drop their ears Coyotes have a similar repertoire, but it's a much more limited one in the argument the behavioral is make. Is that that's location of an animal. That's not so packed oriented. 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 the Facial expressions to convey emotion, so, how do we know that all these animals, all these Kane Ids, evolved in North America and then spread out and went to Asia and Africa and all these different places? Yeah? Well, that's the fossil record and there's a there's a good science in the fossil record of tainted evolution. As I said a bit ago, it seems to go back to about five point three million years ago and all the Jean. It's all around the world seem to have come out of this. The singular origin. Much to weigh all the primates of the world came out of an origin in Africa, and so now, in the horses for instance, same thing, horses came out of an evolutionary origin in North America and then spread it lost the land bridge is to become zero. As in Africa, for instance,
so that's how it happened and some of these, these animals like jackals, for apple. The golden 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, Asia and became an animal that never returned in North America and because separation from coyotes. By a million years it became a different creature so They all did that on foot I did it somehow another. The animal came from North America and made it all the way to Africa, and I want to bring something up that you talked about just now. The horses evolved in north American became zebras yeah. I mean all that started here, but then
They weren't here anymore yeah, and then they were re introduced to the native Americans by the Europeans else about what happened to the horses that were here. Well, that's one of the great mysteries Ovh North America, evolution. Actually I'm a frank answer We don't really know what happened to them and so this is a you know, maybe some out there listening Joe in the ten or fifteen years will saw it will solve this problem, because here. We have agree group of animals. Whose evolution in case the horse, their evolutionary origins, go back. Fifty Six million years in North America, so ten times greater, in time, then, the cane it's Dave and so they're here
in all sorts of forms. Everyone is heard. You know the three toed horse Hippus is what it's called now that gradually becomes big n, its hooves fused together and they become hardened because it's running over rocky ground, and so it has to have hard hooves and cause it begins to. It starts, the browsing animal in forest and ultimately becomes a grassland animal and it's eating grass that are often code with windblown sand, so it to evolve very strong and hard and namel on its teeth in order to resist having its teeth being eroded down by sand, it becomes ultimately by fifteen twenty thousand years ago, an animal that we would not be able to tell would be any diff. From a modern horse. It would look at like a modern horse same size. I mean I've, seen
skeletons of some of the horses that were in North America, down about eleven thousand years ago and even the paleontologist would have a hard time telling, which was the scale Son of a Northam, going to horse in which was the skeleton of a modern domestic horse butt. These animals had had travel. Cross the land bridges the Bering Land Bridge when it was open. They had ended up in Asia and Africa and Europe where they survived, but for some Bizarre reason sometime between about ten thousand years ago in eight thousand years ago, in North America, they disappeared. They completely when linked in North America, and so when We Europeans return them to North America five hundred years ago. One of the reasons they become such a success and just spread across the western part of the continent and multiply into the millions, is because they're already
free adapted to the landscape. This is where they had evolved. And so they've already got the hooves. They got the teeth. They've got the running. Building that we got the building a buck off predators and they back here in North America, and within the space of about after get loose from the Pueblo revolt in one thousand six hundred and eighty within the space of about fifty sixty or seventy years. They're all the way up into Canada and there are within a years, probably as many as two million of them spread. Across the way? re inhabiting their old ecological niche? They just felt glove fit like a glove man an and they became me. It's a fascinating thing too. Kind of imagine, because the West ten fifty Twenty five thousand years ago had been a place
where horses had made up in some parts of the west as much of as a third word of the Bio mass of all the grazing animals. Ten in the 1700s and 1800s we're doing the same thing again. They were. Applying into the one 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 Wyoming and the edge Is Canada by one thousand eight hundred and fifty one thousand eight hundred and sixty or so Ann had probably. Or at least two to three million of them at that point, so they were just re inhabiting there old, Lance Gabon fitting themselves into ecology now that been dominated by bison for a long time and now horse Those are back in the mix and
The horses today are very controversial animal wild horses are they are you know, people trying think of them as invasive species Essentially there just to reintroduce species and because of that there's a lot of, controversy on how they should be dealt with, like some people want to deal with them like almost like they deal with wild pigs, yeah right yeah yeah, and so you know there are plenty of people out there who who argue that the domestic the feral horse in the west, which is the roots talk of most of our population of wild horses in the west You know is a essentially it's a european animal that has become an invader. I mean I always and I've had, you know, argue, on stage with people who expressed this position, always say well what you have to say about the horse. First, how is that it's
it's an american animal with an asterisk. It's gone for about eight or nine thousand years. Uh. Actually not a huge amount of time and Lucia terms and 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 wild state, they'll acquire those door, all stripes down their backs and Libra striping on their legs and so zebra striping, oh yeah. No, absolutely is that there's a lot of Traverse as to what the zebra striping is for right is it to to just distract predators of the idea behind. It may have been that you know, as I'm I'm not quite sure I can say whether the zebras dropping evolved for a specific specific reason, although most changes in animals do but
Yeah they. They will fairly readily go back to this early wild horse. Look which is probably what horses look like in North America ten thousand years ago, James, you can find some pictures of like the wild horses with zebra stripes. I don't think I've ever seen that look. Look. I get asked to have a look in the prior mountains. Wild horse range in Montana and you'll see a whole pile. Population of animals that come out of that that bag. I have a very interesting history because it was group of animals that Lewis and Clark Acquire from the Indians, and they were going to take back trade in the Mandan villages and a guy named uh prior who was responsible for the herd, was driving them through the today Pryor mountains in the Crow Indians raided his camp, and self bunch of those horses in there now as 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 open into the the northern West, so the never the mass extinction event that took place somewhere in the neighborhood of ten thousand years ago. That claim the bully mammoths, Saber toothed, Tiger all these different animals. The horse was amongst that as well. Is that the horse is one of the ones that disappeared, yeah and. You know so I mean we've got some pretty good explanations for what happened to the mammoths. You know the mammoths, probably uh, taken out by human hunters, because this, there's a version of the American West that it basically had emerged in the absence of people. You know. Just like every other mammal that you mentioned a minute ago, the fact that the those were able to spread around the world and the horses were able to spread around the world. Well, we did the same thing. We started in Africa and
spread around the world. Getting the Europe about forty five thousand years ago, an didn't to North America, which was one of the last places, except for the islands out in the Pacific, that humans got to until about fifty. Thousand years ago- and so when we arrived, we confronted a landscape that was full of animals like mammoths. That had no experience with human hunters at all and what we think is that these early arrivals from Siberia, probably really accomplished big game hunters an. I mean, like all elephants, mammals had really long, just ation it took them once they were impregnated, took up two years to have a calf and so they have a really to pregnant for two years- the other praying for two years, and so they have a really low. Elation recovery ability, while Just call this case species that
kind of a low reproductive right and so Whenever humans arrive- and you know- and we take a look at the situation- and I mean cal mammoths evidently were a lot easier to deal with in a hunt. Then the big bulls were, and so is hunters seem to have concentrated on cows. I mean that's First, obviously, going to be detrimental to the the demographics of the population and so, probably in the case of mammoths, it was him the hunting of an animal that had no prior rich with human hunters and not very many defenses against us that took them out the other animals of a lot of them. I mean some of the predators. We think they went because 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 sites. There was one recently discovered near bowl Colorado of what appear. To be an early
indian kill of horses. But you know if you try, to argue that same thing happened with horses that happen with the man I should think you'd be finding kill sites all over the place so really found have you. I looked into this one of the animals. So it's got the front. Paws got a little bit of zero strikes or front legs rather but you're saying it's a back legs. Well, it's both! So look at that wow, that's fascinating yeah. They have the zebra stripes on the legs and oh wow, that is wild and they have this black stripe down the back. The dorsal stripe is yeah what I read something about zebras that that it makes very hard for predators differentiate between individual zebras and that they had put
a near collar or clip on one of the zebras, an immediately that zebra was taken out. They had singled that brow. It was very obvious to the creditors that that was an individual and they went right after it yeah. Well, it could be something like that I mean it's surf, pretty clear from these Northam horses that the zebra griping trait originate 'ed here, and then and ended up being taken by the animals that migrated into Africa and perhaps elaborated on overtime, where they're dealing with with lions and cheetahs and leopards, and things like that, and they have a lion in North America yeah, we had a long time that was even bigger than the african lion. That's right, Panthera the step line was a line that was one I have times the size of of the african lion- and we had a short faced, bear that was
probably even more ferocious than modern day grizzlies for one thing It seems to have been a this really grass I'll animal. It looks far more nimble, an fast and its ability to run and so forth than grizzlies do. Yeah. We've talked that thing many times since I heard you talk about it would hold up pictures of it and the size of things in the length of the legs yeah, and I look like mazing right. So huge animal at the his enemy is bigger than a polar bear. So I there's a there's a a canadian biologist named Valerius Geist, who has argued for a long time that he thing until short faced bears, became extinct. Humans were not able to actually Colonize North America that Things were so fearsome 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 begin
across and getting in North America wow. Well, they look like a monster. I mean it doesn't even look like a real animal. It looks like something in a movie and then you see the short What is that near? that's a an animal, even bigger than the short faced bear. So all these animals that existed in North America, when did the short faced, bear, go extinct. The size of that thing- Jesus, that's terrifying, yeah, I think probably about forty one thousand and fifteen thousand years ago and, as I said it least, one biologists argues that it's no coincidence that that's about the time that humans began, showing up is that once this bear is is gone, then it makes it possible for people to come in, and Is there a hypothesis as to why that one extinct as a human intervention as well? Now you know, I think, what's happening in a there's a
each of pretty wild swings in climate as a result of the the steady the progression of ice ages and then water called the Pluvial in between the ice ages and the reason we think we have sort of a steady record of ice ages and then a warming period 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 trooper, of expand on its axis. It has a wobble in it and some times when it wobbles call procession of the Equinoxes. Well, it's called the Milankovitch cycles of European can't remember geographer geographer was the first to spec
right. This is why we have this climate history of a process. Between ice ages and Pluvial in between is because- earth wobbles Anas it wobbles, it will at certain times position, the Northern hemisphere farther away from the sun for a period of thirty. Three thousand years, and during that wobble 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 called Pluvial's, sometimes warm episodes, and we had one about five thousand 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 in astral Astral impacts and he's got in some pretty compelling evidence and 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 in Asia and Europe. The nuclear glass this essentially the same stuff they find in the do nuclear test sites. That also happens when they have meteor impacts and 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 this. Actually, I would love to get you together with him, because he's got some compelling evidence. He believes that the woolly mammoths and the what was it sixty something percent of the large mammals that died off during that very distinct, time period now he says that directly corresponds to physical evidence of this try tonight stuff
all these diamonds, that they find micro, diamonds. A come from these impacts very fast thing it it's is it up to a possibility that you have not considered not well, I mean I've read about it and I think you know, as in so many questions out there and we haven't figure out the answers to things in a lot of instances and so yeah. This is uh 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. He's a law and plants to really a of speciation; in other words, it did generates a lot of new, because you're, often isolating populations an when populations. Isolated from their parent populations. They'll evolve some traits, and maybe even become a new species. And so you get a lot it's
kind of a cycle where you end up with a lot of different new animals. But change. Comes you from lose a good. Many of them and so the is extinctions scenarios that are associated with the ice ages and the Pluvial's in between the interglacials uh. Do and to produce quite a number of extinctions Ann, 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 with the knowledge of it is that it seems to disappeared in North America around fifteen thousand 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. I mean there are a lot of 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 ok in the case of the mammoths are evidenced tends to point more towards human hunting. But we don't know about all these other animals. Why mean predators. As I said, they seem to disappear because the prey disappears, but I mean One of the camels disappear one of the the giant. Ground sloth's disappear when the things that they ate the globe mallows that are still in the West are still out there, but the animal that fed on them. Isn't there anymore? So it's something. You know that people have been the sort of hammering- or beers and laboratories for actually more than a century now, and we still answer all questions it is so,
last name, but it's so amazing that you could even formulate that much information based on something that was twenty five fifteen thousand years ago. Yeah. It is, I mean this whole country that we we live in today. Use it for is are Europeans are concerned. We've only been here a few one hundred years, which is really kind of amazing. We've only been here for a few one hundred years. You know an I mean, as you know, from from the the other recent book of Mine American Serengeti one of the animals that you can observe today that gives us. Maybe our best sense of what the Pleistocene is like is the pronghorn antelope, which is still out on the plains and, of course, also a lot of the west afterward, they nearly disappeared. At the turn of the century, we've managed to bring them back in a lot of western states, but that's an animal that
is Essentia Lee a holdover from the Pleistocene Ann is kind of still fighting pleistocene ghosts, I mean it's an animal. As everybody knows, I can run sixty five miles an hour and yet for the last ten thousand years- fastest animal that can chase it. The gray wolf only it's forty five miles an hour, and so that leads to the obvious question Why the overkill and turn of speed. What you would think is all you need to do is run forty seven miles an hour and you got it covered But here are these animals still among us that run sixty five miles an hour that can't jump over fences that congregate in what what people call the selfish herd, where they'll group up is a herd of adults and the dominant animals will end up in the middle still there, there, any predators they get the ones
the edges and the dominant ones survive, and yet they don't have any predators except as fonts, and so what we think is happening is that in the pronghorn horn, we've got an animal that has survived into our own time that preserves how evolution shaped it to deal with the press tours of the Pleistocene. When they actually was a cheetah Anna running Hyena. That could run on sixty five miles an hour, and there were predators that went after their herds when they were adults and all those animals have disappeared. There all ghosts and have been for tenth, years and yet problem and still preserve the ability to run away from a cheetah and to group up
is a selfish herd and preserve the dominant animals, in the middle against the Hyena attack no idea. They could run that fast. They can run sixty five miles an hour. How think some of the females, which a little bit lighter than the males are some of 'em. Be able to run seventy. TIM actually going on the highway. Your violating the speed limit and a pronghorn processes. Yeah. That's right! That's incredible! I did not know that it was hyenas that lived in North America as well, that could run that fast yeah. We had a fast running hyena, the it was a major predator of of creatures like this, and now I mean, if you think about it, what you know This is why I use the term American Serengeti for the title of this book. What we had in North America, were these, versions- yeah yeah
in a video of them right now, and then just this someone's driving in the car and they are just full lion by. Meriwether Lewis in famously said there 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 boy did they book my crazy to watch in real life. You see him take off when they get spooked, you like whoa, There are version of in n impalas and gazelles, and in in Africa So what? What other? And there was this cheetah now? What is it? Does it resembled the african cheetah? Was it? Did it look like an african cheetah it it did resemble it as a result of kind of convergent evolution. I mean it. It was an animal vet, pursued these
prong warns. That could run seventy miles an hour. So it had to be able to run that fast. Did it develop independently of the african cheetah they did and date are in fact it developed from the Cougar the mountain lion line. So it does come out of you know I mean the cheetah is cat, that famously many people say it. It's a dog like cat, and 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 fifteen thousand twenty thousand years ago produce this very fast running version. That was in fact an american cheetah and did it have the same sort of front paws as a cheater, because she is there more almost dog yeah, now this this north
an animal, didn't, have dog. Like pads like the african cheetah does at least I'm not. There may be some cheetah, our north, Merry Cheetah expert doctor who would would test that, but I don't think so. I'm not seen any evidence anywhere anything I've read that it did so essentially just develop disability to run very fast and has prom warrants to catch prong, horns and catch, and and they were there other animals that could run. I mean horses run pretty fast, too yeah and cats I mean the reason horses buck course in which we translated in our own time into rodeo sports, but the reason they buck Is because that's their strategy for DIS 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. I mean one of the points I was going to make, and I can make this point too. Is that one of the reasons this reasons horses are
The issue now and a problem in the west is a they're not on the planes anymore, which was the primary horse, strange during the 1700s and 1800s there in the dead search love places like Nevada so they're in a much more airy country, not in a lushly grass plains sitting, but in a in a desert setting, and we don't have the predators around anymore. I mean we we've tell and out gray, wolves, which certainly did pray on cults. We've almost wiped out mountain lions that are lions are coming back and that's why I was always one of the major predators of of cults. But horses don't have the sort of predators anymore that they had during the Pleistocene are even in the US and Tina under than eighteen 1800s, and so without their
predators on the landscape and also being out in a day search setting rather than out on the much lusher great plains day you become an issue in terms of how compete with cattle, how they compete with sheep, how they compete with mule deer. Wildlife and that's why we were sort of endlessly rattling the cage around wild horses now but. In the 19th century. In the 1800s I mean well they were or out on the great plains. They were in Eastern Montana, in Eastern Colorado and Eastern Mexico and in this much more lushly grassed setting and their of course, still werewolves and still were mountain lions to take out the cults and sort keep their population suppress. It seems you know. I mean I'm incredulous, that human beings that didn't even have bows and arrows could kill off the woolly mammoth. But then you stop and think about what people are able to do.
And the few one 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, an almost extirpated everything we found like white tailed, deer antelope Buffalo. We almost wiped the whole elk when we got it down, found it just I mean at at the turn of the 19th century or the 20th century. Rather we it it was a sad state. There was a sense and it was a 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 the June of Wildlife that I've been able, discover and world history when Europe kids came in North America and proceeded as you just described from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Pacific and
ascential a wiped out. A just. Does sins of animal species. In most instances, not completely exterminating them, but dropping them to numbers that were so low. That No, you worried that this animal was going to survive and I mean some animals. We did go extinct A parakeet, for example, was this beautiful gaudy, green and yellow large microsized Parrot, that was in North America, all the way up to the great lakes and they became extinct by the 1930s. People, haunted them They were regarded as an agricultural pest, and so farmers basically killed I'm an enlisted government agents, as had happened with, will coyotes to to wipe them out
it's fascinating 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 thing causes a K. Cascade of events. That can be disastrous, no people to know anything about ecology. I mean in a we, don't have a college emerge as a science until the eighteen sixties and may it it makes sense. But it's amazing. It really is amazing in the new. So little we knew we knew little n we tended to and I'm in it with a lack of knowledge. I mean we did the same thing with the the coyote uh. That exterminating them. We pass out law in Congress. In nineteen thirty one to provide the extermination of coyotes into appropriate the money. To do it, I mean we spent probably one hundred million dollars over the next forty or fifty years
attempting to do it and pass that at a time when we never sent the first scientist out to do any study of Coyote natural history. We had no idea what the eight had 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. Ok, we're going to this is an animal we're going to completely we out of the north american setting 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 survive through the 20th century, not in your book. The accounts of the early explorers were trying to figure out what the Hell Coyote was. They thought. Maybe it was a jackal. They didn't know what it was and then they finally added. It was some sort of a small wolf and then the initial description of it with they call it prayer. Very well that's right, yeah fry and a lot of people don't know this. For most of the nineteenth century, I mean I've. I've seen references to this name
as late as one thousand nine hundred and fifteen Americans call coyotes prey bulls. That was the name Lewis and Clark gave them, and so that's what everybody call them, and it wasn't until we started getting out into the southwest the 1840s and 1850s specially, especially around Santa FE. Where there were indian people who would come. With the spanish colonization of the southwest, who spoke the language of the Aztecs that language is called know what an The word Coyote comes from the aztec language so when our were first getting into New Mexico in the eighteen. Forty really. They began in county people who were using a different name for the animal and over the
thirty or forty years, that name sort of overtook the term prairie, Wolf and finally, completely replaced it so the original name was an aztec name yeah. It was an asset name yeah and it's pronounced then in the know. What language? It's spelled, Hold in their language coyotl, but the l, on the end is silent. And so the way they pronounced. It was Koyote Ann and I mean the asset language, because they, you know they were an empire and they they defeated a lot of people's and they imposed their language and their customs and a lot of people there were all source of Indians who weren't necessarily aztec, who spoke that language Ann there were evidently enough of them in places like Santa FE and Tucsan that, when Anglo Americans got out there. They they
we're encountering not only native people who were 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 koi ot an that's. What These early Americans work hearing. They were largely hearing the spanish pronunciation, the three syllable version go to an. Rain comes along in the 1870s and writes a very famous book about the roughing it of course he's America's most famous writer at the time. His book is a bestseller Ann. Mark TWAIN not only kind of because we, as you mentioned, mentioned medical. 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.
Is the one who provides us with kind of a take on them as these it's cowardly, despicable, little creatures that have this you know overgrown will scan in this despairing can. He says you know they're they're such scoundrels and such scavengers that a flea would desert one for a velocipede, you know Mark, TWAIN is humorous, so he gets on this riff and he goes on for like three pages. In this vein, by the time you end up. Reading it, your basic conviction is. Ok, this is a despicable little creature. That's just breathing up good air, so we should just get rid of it, but he does in the course of that book. Tell Americans how? What the animal? It's called Anne, how you pronounce it and he says in the west. This animal is called a Coyote Jody and he spells it out phonetically
Even us, our modern pronunciation of Coyote SAR minor pronunciation comes from Mark TWAIN. Yeah he's well he's the one who at least popular arises it and everybody who read his book basically kind of, I think absorb that pronunciation of it. These native Americans have such a great respect for the coyote like what was it about that animal that created so many legends, that's uh, a great story in- and I was I argue- this book I mean. What I try to do with Coyote America is to tell the the buyer Murphy of the animal it's evolutionary origins through history up until the present time, when course it's in everybody's backyard, all over the country and so we're all dealing with it and figure out what it is and how you code this with it? But It's a real rollercoaster ride because I mean it goes.
For a million years of its evolution. Confronting at sometimes the return- turn of gray wolves in North America, which clearly don't like coyotes and beat the crap out of him and even probably influence their evolutionary direction into a smaller, more jack. Like animal, but then it also so. It has a story that so with us when humans arrive in North America. I'm a coyotes get this wonderful pair hit last like fourteen one thousand five hundred years or something where native people look at them and say that's the most intriguing animal on the continent. It's for one thing, mammoth camels horses, all these big Chris animals,
dying out around us in the pleistocene extinctions, somehow these little guys don't seem to be perturbed by it surviving, while all these big creatures, these big impressive creatures, are going away, an I think they also, at least this is what I argue in the book. I had this sense- that Kyree 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 now know is that's a create that humans in any age include hours right now could very well whole follow and and find the bay of an effective way to go about facing your future, so they
see this animal as being particularly smart, particularly adaptable a survivor and because it was a social animal, it has pups the pups, know how to fend for themselves in the world and coyotes have to teach the pups humans do with their children, how to become full grown coyotes and how to survive 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, I mean 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 principle gods their principle deities and make it this sacred feature. 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 it really closely and they pursue need to create this body of literature, it's our oldest literature from North America in the form of oral stories that of Coyote as the central character. But it's not it's not the little coyote, that's trotting through your camp, it's Coyote man he's a character who stands on its hind legs. He has pointed those in erect ears and has a tail, but he standing up and he satisfies all the traits, both good and bad of human beings. It's so weird that you know
the way we look at coyotes today. Is this new sense in this past and that's directly attributed to agriculture and directly treated us having livestock anywhere near them, decided we want them out. But if you look at the Museum of Natural history, in LOS Angeles, when I was there, I took a photo of a because it was so weird I put a bomb on my instagram they're at the photo, the the stuffed coyote that they have there. They have all these animals. They have african animals, they have guerrillas, chimpanzees, all different, stuffed animals. To give you a sense of what they would look like with this mock natural environment, that coyotes natural environment. They show a porch and the coyote has a cat in its mouth. I mean this. Is this 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. That is my office. Is it's so bizarre, but that's how human especially in and around La F
You know when I had my situation with the the chicken. Before I started reading your book. Thought about killing that Coyote it was like. I wanna kill that fucker he killed my chicken 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, honey dicked my dog into the fans and I'm going adverting converting with their and that's how they got the check ins, because my dogs huge have a mastiff and he knocked. Over this. He when chicken, when they. They the brood about chickens. Brooding. Do you know my dad had chickens in Louisiana so yeah? I kind of hanging out with him when I would go back and visit I came to know a little bit about chickens well, I don't know what happens is chickens think that their eggs, the only way chickens have eggs day, pretty much are sort of every day every few days and when
We have an egg. Those eggs are non, that's one of reasons why vegetarians can eat chicken eggs and get protein from him. You're, not hurting anybody they have the eggs whether or not there's a a chicken there or any or not. They always have the egg and it has to be fertilized by the the rooster in order for it to become a chicken. Then figure that out it was almost forty but my stupid head. I was like oh, the egg means there's a bacon, and you just gotta cook it before it becomes a chicken no stupid anyway. Um did chick sometimes are convinced these non viable eggs will become chicks, and so they said on them and they start plug their feathers out and it takes the entire cycle that an egg would be viable and become a chick for them to get out of it. The only stop. Them is to put them on a perch and put them in a smaller cage. So we put them in a perch, and mark age, we separated from the chicken coop and the Coyote this out that this check in was by itself and convince the mastiff, tend, not
the cage over 'cause. It was too small to knock this coop over, but the massive is one hundred and forty pounds like I can take care abou, he knocks the coop down that Coyote says thanks grab the chicken and then jumps and hops and I was talking to my neighbor about he's. Like oh man, hate coyotes, I go. Do you like rats, 'cause 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 a cats and rodents everywhere, but they're not and the reason why is 'cause these coyotes, like we make that mistake so often where we think that we're smart and we're going to eliminate one thing in this system and it's going to be fine. Now all we have to do take out this coyote and everything will be great, but you're going to have a rat infestation. Yeah! That's one of the things that you talked about in your book about farmers who had chased off the coyotes and they had rabbit infestations. Now they were praying for coyotes
I mean this happens in just over and over and over again, and so I think, one of the reasons that we tend to make endlessly make the same mistake with animals like this is because we don't try ride, to spend any effort to understand the logical world around us and two other. And their role in it, in particular an and I mean I've been uh. 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, brand new in dealing with a man. They are alarmed first of all, but there's this small wolf trotting down the street or through their yard, and then, First, they immediately here. Well, it's going to get your cat is going to get you small dog, it's gonna, it's level to grab your three year old. I mean just saw the horror stories through urban legend
Make the rounds in now at an accelerated rate n serve basic good information about the animal doesn't make their round very effectively at all? It's not fun. Now it's not fun, but what you have to grapple with? First of all, you've got to start with a position which I'll admit. This is not the american position to take the position that- and this since we have confronted a part of the natural world that we are not able to control, we can't pro coyotes We met resistance, basically as futile. There going to be among us, no matter what we do, I mean you can certainly take out I've. You know coyotes are individuals, and so, if there's a bad actor in the neighborhood and a 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 cancer,
start chasing dogs or something I mean you can take that one out and perhaps improve the situation, but just blanket going after the coyote, because you're afraid of something like cat might disappear, is going the boomerang in every instance, because attempts to persecute them, as I try to point out over and over in Coyote America result in case in more coyotes and an excuse the populations so that way you end up with, are often youngsters teenagers that like teenagers get in more trouble than adults do so the thing that I mean I keep trying to do and, of course, there's a group in California and San Fran skill call project. Coyote, that's been at this. Trying to help people understand how to coexist, coexist with coyotes the last seven or eight years. What you have
there is first of all, except the fact that ok 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 in the obvious thing. Is you don't let your cats out in the morning to go? Hunt songbirds you, don't let your cats out at night mean the coyotes are in most instances now Attacking cats are small dogs because they want to eat them. They regard MS competitor predators in their territory and so there, packing them because that's how they they see them, but make it, but they do eat them right. Well, they they will eat the in some instances when trying to provision a litter of pups so the times when cats will be. Match by coyotes in will disappear, and you don't see the
had again is often the period basically about now from April through about Giuly. That's when They have their litters and I mean it's sometimes hard to come. With enough protein to raise five or six little coyote. Pups Occasionally a cat or a small dog will be taken away, but usually what happens with cats small dogs that coyotes attack a man. They just leave him there. An I've told people for for most of this year I mean From my own experience, 'cause I've lived in the Urban Wildland interface for almost all my adult life out in the countryside, away from town 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 it kills. It leaves If the animal disappears, if your cat disappears, and you never see it again either It's happened in the time when
provisioning pups or if it happens in the fall or the winner or the early spring, and your cat totally disappears. I probably will great horned owl that got, your can. I mean owls plot cats, and take them to their rustan devour them, and so your cat it appears that you never see it again. But what almost everybody does now that we know we've got. Coyotes is coyotes howling in the hills. The name I had a cat disappear. Of course it was Coyote, Coyote got it yet, but it might not be I would say in a pretty sizable percentage of cases: it was actually a great horned owl that got the cat and not a coyote is a great video that I found online that I put on my instagram of an owl snatching. Some other raptor right out of its now have you ever seen it. I haven't seen it, but it's someone had like a trail cam video up a black and white.
Trail cam, you see the owl flying in an occurrence. This you see the eyes and then you see and the other bird in the nest doesn't even know what happened. It have watch this. It happened so fast. So what? First of all you know? What kind of animal that is that with that bird is, can you tell Looking at it looks like a hawk of some comments below the ice fledgling. That's it and the the other ones like what happened. Yeah. What's on yeah, that's a high! talk of some kind, maybe a red tail and the fledgling to salute the eyes in the distance are amazing. Look these I sneaking up. Look at this here comes whole yeah, it's so fun. That we think of that thing is all the wise old owl give a hoot don't pollute. Meanwhile, those mother fuckers are as evil as it gets well they're. Definitely major predators, and they you know the stories about them. In new Mexico I mean friends who are sitting out at an out
or bar a couple of years ago, with a railing on it. It was a late afternoon and a cat was walking along the railing weather sitting there are drinks, shoot the shit and all sudden an our comes in and in a flash plucks that cat off the railing in the next thing they say is the owl flying after the cotton wood trees over the creek, with this cat dangling from its crowds, while they're all sitting there with their drinks, poison, the air I was driving home one day and I owlfly right above my head, and I must have apparent while I was driving, it must have got this rabbit somewhere close to an I startled. It so it's flying often decided to drop the rabbit so work right in front of me in the highway or in the road is, is this serrated rabbit, no big rabbit to house in that that was like one of the first years I lived here, and I remember Thank
and well. I gotta read: I gotta re calibrate my idea when an owl is getting 'cause, it was just torn apart and it was a big rabbit and I saw this. I mean it was a big owl too so the whole thing was like whoa. This is a predator. This isn't just a I know, and they and that's the way they killed. Two that's what they do with cats. They have this right. Then they put a Talon basically into their and strip? It all the way up there all the way up to their sternum spill, their guts out there's a wildlife sanctuary near here and we visited a couple of times and they have owls there and you get to like cm and check them out up close like an animal's, been injured and things like that, and you just see the talons on those suckers and just move yeah our service, yeah It's it's fascinating, how we anthropomorphize some of these animals and turn them into these cutie pies. You know like or bears or selling Coca COLA and Klondike bars and owls, or selling tootsie roll pops. We bother just they're out there, Jack and cats. You know
the video, in LOS Angeles, in one of the reasons why I want to ask you about this- is because I'd heard you say before a thing on Renault's podcast, the what you just said about cats in dogs. Essentially there, the coyotes think of them as competitive predators, but there's video, in LOS Angeles in Hollywood of a eating a cat on a lawn and These people are in the car watching and they're filming it and they're freaking out, like oh, my god. Oh my God is just sitting there eating that cat. So you think that the reason it's in that game. Is it just hungry? Maybe or is it? Is it an occasional meal that they think of? miss pray or is it primarily because they're a bunch of different factors, or is it primarily because they're competitive predators well it's primarily because of that, but I mean there are so you know
skyraiders coyotes are so individualistic is hanging out right now, a How are you wild animal walking by the car right in LOS Angelus? I mean just so bizarre that they're so comfortable around people well, those St. City streets. I think about walking cross the street, and I don't know how to navigate the streets like that too so strange. How does it figure out how to make it across the street? You know there's a there's a biologists in Chicago who argues that in rush hour traffic on the interstates in Chicago nine million people there that he 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? and then cross that way. So this is the coyote goes in and gets this cat, but apparently had already killed before he starts eating it. So it's got it right there that thing at his feet as it.
That yeah well, what I was gonna say about that is that yeah, it's all stiff and well he's. So what a strange animal you know so so two things I would observe about this particular video is, first of all, you know body is making the assumption, the coyote killed the cat that cat I've been hit by a car and the coyote founded in his scavenging it? How about that other stupid cap behind him? So there's my friend right behind hello. Why are you eating my friend The other thing I would say is that there's so individualistic that sometimes cats they develop a- I mean a coyotes, develop a yen for cats like a taste. Yes, they develop a taste for them, and so I mean there are examples that was uh. The pack in Seattle and also one in Tucson that basically did
very thing they. They decided that cats were a no go to be their target now most coyotes, you know that's not how they react to cats, but 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- The ornithologist, a disk, I did 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 three billion Berg words a year in North America alone are killed by cats by house cats, be with a b yeah When you tell the people that, like there's no way that look, these are biologists. These are people that are actually studying as and it blew them away. I don't know how
study, I don't, maybe you couldn't lightning. Well, I don't either I mean one three point: seven billion years annually, seven birds in the continental us. That is so crazy. That's, U S! That's not Canada! It's not Mexico, Continental us and I I read a similar study in natural history magazine a few years ago about Great Britain, same kind of thing yeah. I know remember the figures anymore, but yeah I mean can't you know they devastate bird populations and so letting your cat roam out through the neighborhood. You know seems like this very compassionate thing to do. You know he wants to be out. Fluffy needs in know, some space to roam you're releasing an extremely effective predator into the world and that's the result of it when coyotes have shown up in town. It's sudden
really getting a lot harder to make a living as a bird killing cat again, so we're getting have sharp uptick now and some 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 found hilarious. As we were talking ranells podcast about a group that approached you, they were doing documentary on saving the coyote yeah send? Indeed it was a couple of women. Who were pretty fresh and into the Westin Santa FE. They had 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 eighty thousand of them a year on behalf of agriculture, 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 cake full of doing it, and so is not an animal, you have to worry about, for example, going on the endangered species list, uh, that's not going to happen as one of the people who blurb my book. In fact it was Bill Mckibben the Knight rider now that I think about it one of the things he said. Was that and this blurb was that a biologist wants told him that when the last human dies, on earth. Coyote will be sitting on humans, grave howling at the moon
I've always loved that thought, because of course it's a it's an indication of how about what great survivors are well, 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 as they only look for four legged pray and people shouldn't, be worried about these wolves, but the of these animals like inter mingling with our civilization, with our civilization, I've, decided we put some hardscape down some houses we go. This is our stuff. You gotta stay out. And they don't recognize these boundaries and now used. Don't slowly starting to see these animals creep back in into Paris, France, in Paris, since wolves yeah well enough I think when we moved into cities five thousand years ago. One of the things we thought we were getting away from by living in cities was predators. Most part. We have yeah,
We have a, we don't have you know at least not so far. We don't have lepers in a patrolling the alleys and and Denver, but I you know I'm intrigued by one of the stories I and covered in the book, which is an argue, that I make is based on the work of a graduate student, I knew at the University of Montana's. Name is Joe on hall and he was doing a dissertation in history on what he was calling the great dog war in the 19th century and what it was all about, and then the more I dug into it. I realized this is one of the explanations for why you don't see accounts, coyotes in cities. Much Even in hey, I mean first accounts. I've seen carries in LA, for instance, are in the 1920s, but it's because pause in the 19th century until about the eighteen,
70s. We let dogs our own pets, an packs of feral dogs roam through american cities at will So every city in the United States had a large population of feral and of loosely own dogs roaming around our he skips feral, meaning that they were totally wilder people would freedom and 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 not go over people's garbage and but in the this happened, and I think in the late eighteen forties Boston. Had an epidemic one year of rabies. Attacks from these kinds of wild dogs in the city and so Boston began to institute
to what became our modern system of dogcatchers dog pound leash laws, dog control and it I 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 sort of instituted this new model of okay, a dog is properly meant to be an an enclosed yard, on a leash when its with its owner is a supposed to be running through the streets with packs of other dogs scavenging garbage and stuff, when we did that what that in effect did was to open up the niche in american cities, for wild canids and the wall came in. That was able to take advantage of. It was the coyote that provided them to
that had been there before, because a coyote wandering into a city in the 1860s or 1830S would end up being. Of course, halted by dogs all the dogs were put up and that opened up the cities too the arrival of coyotes in our midst wow. Just for this, the interface between human beings and the wild in our interaction with the wild and then to start our ability your inability to manipulate it is so fascinating to me, and one of things I want to talk to you about is what they're trying to do right now: in I guess, it's Wyoming and parts of Montana, this American Serengeti Project they're doing now. But please explain that. Well, so this other book we've we've talked about some of mine that has been out now.
Just about a year came out the last last march of twenty sixteen, 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 one hundred and twenty five or one thirty years ago, in North America, one of the what was widely regarded around the globe as one of the great wildlife spectacles of of the world and these enormous herds of bison of re emerging. Wild horse bands pronghorns, maybe fifteen. Eighteen million pronghorns horns quite as his bison, but almost as many half one million gray wolves that were their predators, of course, coyotes 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 the ask God. Everybody saw the movie revenant, of course, which filmmaker said in the rocky mountains, but that was based on an actual event that happened in history, a guy named 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 fifty years ago. 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 problem down from fifteen million to about thirteen thousand
We drove the elk off the great plains. That was their primary range, was the planes we drove them off and up into the mountains did the same thing. The grizzlies. So we basically reduce this. This American Serengeti, which Africa didn't do with its Serengeti or it's Masai Mara or its veiled it preserved. Let's great animals, but we did Roy 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. But of course- stone is set in the rocky mountains, and so what this Eric and Prairie Reserve is about now its base. In Bozeman Montana. It's only a dozen years old, but it's Pretty wildly successful and I'm going to do this. It's had the
imagination, this group of people, as had the imagination to writer recreate this American Serengeti, that we are our government are our statecraft, never did preserve for us, and so what they've? got in mind in Central Montana is taking a couple of. A large pieces of of existing public, plans. One is the Missouri River breaks National monument that Bill Clinton created. All along the Missouri River and then just downstream of it still along the Missouri River, is the Charles M Russell National Wildlife Refuge and today, Heather. Those two public lands that are along the Missouri River and mostly on the South Bank of the Missouri River Central Montana, make up about one point six one point: seven million acres and what can 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 preserve. That's going to be may maybe as big as twice. The size of Yellowstone Yellowstone is a little more than two million acres. An american Pre reserve is shooting for a preserve, It would be something like four million acres with the idea of recreating this american Serengeti of re populating it with bison prom pronghorns, with Elk, with Bighorn sheep, with mule deer, all the animals that were there and then is there a private entity and they not a fish? all of service. So they can't on their own, merits reintroduce wolves are Grizzly Bears just sort of sitting back 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 sometimes as much as a hundred miles out of the planes. What the I can reserve wants to happen. Is for these animals to get All the way out to preserve find this recreated american Serengeti with all the animals that were there and give us in our own time in 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 two. Consider ourselves now. How are they going to reintroduce these animals where they're going get him from? Well I mean getting the bison is not too difficult because there are surplus bison pretty much around to of the west of me. We got a larger body population in North America right now than we've had since the 1890s
within three hundred thousand 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 you know, make conditions beneficial for their herds. Same thing with mule deer with Elk. Big horns are going that they'll have to reintroduce bighorns, but that was an original range. There were big horns out on the in the badlands of great plains and and, as I said, they can't deliver, play on their own reintroduce gray, wolves are grizzly bears, but their idea is that, if wolves and grizzlies. Get there been there welcome and and the odd this they probably wants this. Preserve exist with all these grazing animals that the wolves and the bears will find it wow, that's so fascinating, and now
Do they have a time line with the trying to accomplish this, and you know it's, as I said, they've been around for about ten or twelve years now I mean they raise them more than one thirty million dollars and I've got major donors on both the coast, along with lots of just people like you and me who give them ten fifteen dollars, or twenty five dollars. I've lots of friends who, once I sort of alerted them to this to join American Prairie Reserve, enter our small donors, the One 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 Sun, actually my son predators, replace cattle herds.
So, there's kind of an idiot, logical opposition on the part of ranching people, but and that's two fold right, that's one because of the food that the bison would eat. Because a battle for resources, but also because of Brucellosis Well brucellosis, of course, is especially in Montana, and explain people, that's a disease, it's cattle disease, it's a disease that that bison and Elk have and that if cattle get it their beef cannot be sold in. North american markets. All beef that sold in our supermarkets has to be brucellosis free and how do they determine they have to tell each individual and when they slaughter them. Well I mean they would if there was a real threat about it. The truth is there never been an instance in the wild of either bison or an elk transferring brucellosis to cattle? How would they transferred to they have to the same food now the basic
really. It comes through largely from afterbirth whenever they went or bison cow, for example, that has brucellosis gives birth. If cattle come through the area say within a few days and grazed the same grass where after birth been dropped from a brucellosis infected by then the theory is that a cow could get that please it's been made to happen that way and laboratories. We have record of it ever having happened in the wild and then when they made it happen in laboratories that they force feed the cows. I don't think so I mean, but I have to say that I've not read the study, so I'm not quite sure how they how they pulled it off, but they did they did make the transfer happen in a laboratory setting, what's been bizarre about
The whole brucellosis thing is that Elk are infected with brucellosis. Far more than bison are but the ratchet community doesn't seem to be concerned about Elk, it's bison that they don't want, and why is that well made par It seems to me almost dates back to the 19th century when we destroyed the original American Serengeti and killed all these bison and converted the great planes into largely a ranching country with cattle. I mean in the idea, has been from the ranching community ever since that bison are a direct threat to existing ranching community that if you get too many people and never heard of bison and I 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 in someone with an old Montana ranch of forty or fifty thousand acres. Selling that ran so somebody like American Prairie Reserve, which clearly is going to introduce wildlife on it. Remove it from as an active sort of life, stock, ranching economic, right, it's interesting, because it's a superior meat to buy since better me that's a better made better meat for you much fat in it, yeah yeah, it's yeah. It's so this is uh. 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
I don't know that that's kind of why I wrote this American Serengeti book as I wanted people to understand that only a hundred five thousand hundred thirty years ago, we had the equivalent of the Masai Mara in places like Braska and South Dakota and Eastern Montana and and we destroyed it may be back just like that and just the space of a few decades. We completely watch it out and, as I said a minute ago, what seems to would be the largest destruction wholesale. Function of wildlife, lovable in modern history, and so right now the American Prairie Reserve is just there just taking that land and buying it up and they haven't started. This project Yeah now they have started the project yeah, it certainly exists and I've got a map of it in the book. American Serengeti and they've reintroduced animals already they have reintroduced animals they're trying to come up with twelve thousand
an instagram page. Look at that American Prairie Reserve as an instagram page, absolutely only one thousand seven hundred hours. How dare they so click on that the bison down. There will blow that blow that lower right hand corner there, you go lower right hand, corner yeah. Now I have that wow interesting, so there's a lot of bias in their roaming around and this is land they occupy, and so these bison have. Actually very few predators, and just wandering around and they're going to re populate, we gotta re populate, and so one of the things that american Prayer Reserve does when they acquire these ranches. Is that they remove the fencing from I mean they've, been fell course to create pastors for bison, but they removed or for cattle, but they were with 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, you're not allowed to reintroduce Grizzly Bears they're not allowed to as a private organization of 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 the fish and wildlife service, and good luck getting cooperation from people, Montana they're, still stinging from the wolves being introduced at the Yellowstone and the summation of the Elk population and all the other livestock issues. They've had their now, so so they argue at least yeah. You know when I was Last few years I was in montana- and this was about ten there's after the wolves had been recovered. We had about one thousand, seven hundred gray, wolves in Montana are in the northern Rockies. Actually, by about twenty twelve or so and So Honors in Montana, were up in arms sort of the way these
My tail hunters in South Carolina now are up in arms, coyotes the, Montana up in arms because it wasn't so easy to get an elk anymore and they blame it on wheels. And someone from the University of Montana did a study of a particular heard that single out as one that was just being harassed by wolves and and it was impossible, kill bull there anymore and concluded that actually most of the production work that was taking place on that Elk herd was from mountain lions and not the wolves that been re. But it's become for the hunting community, the sport hunting community, which is head of course. Century now of getting to hunt Elk and whitetails and mule deer and everything else without competition from predators this become kind of the new excuse. You know of why I didn't get my elk this year right that makes sense, and also, I think it's super important- that the
community step back and understand that these animals are supposed to be preyed upon by wolves and that without them, your get these enormous overpopulation, which I but in that hundred year. Period when we were reintroducing Elk with no predators, developed diseases and lick. Their montana is no shortage of alcohol. Was there this summer and we drove buy this house, and we had to pull over and luckily add binoculars in my car, and I gave him my kids and the first time they saw Elk. There was one hundred elk on this lawn one hundred they're all over the place and one of the women who lives. There was explained to us that wolves come through just a couple nights before and it was really exciting and everybody's looking out the window, and I think if you live there, if Europe, personnel Connor Special Bush Lazy, one I get where you could see that the that would be something you would complain about, but I think the okay damped, you know they figured it out. They don't call as much and many people come Think about that. You don't hear the bugling as much, but
view going was probably a little unnatural to get a little too cocky that they could just scream and yell over. They were breeding, you know what they they got preyed upon right. Well it now. What we have to remember is that we are newcomers to North America. This is a very old place and wolves and coyotes and mountain lions have been part of the ecological equation here, with all of these animals that we like to hunt with pronghorns with Elk with mill. There I mean this is they've. Been co evolving with one another for hundreds of thousands, of years. I mean pronghorns. I talk about this in the American Serengeti book. Pronghorn females always have to fonts, though basically have little litters of two The reason they have to is because coyotes prey on pronghorn fonts, and so you base
Klay have an heir and a spare The spare is the one that you assume the coyotes are going to get wow so and they have of disability in hundreds of thousands of years ago. So I think part It is just coming to terms with the fact that wear brand new here and it's going to take a for us to actually truly become a man. Guns in an ecological sense. In one way to do, it is to think in terms of these long patterns that extinct in back through time I want talked about your paper on bison, it's called in diplomacy and bison ecology or is the opposite. Bison. Ecology minded policy, yeah yeah, and what you were saying was in this is I found incredibly fascinating. Was that When we came along when the mark I say we. Obviously my grandparents were immigrants, it wasn't me, but when you're
Ians when- and you know, people that we consider Americans now came along a few years ago and then, when they started doing the market, hunting and killing off all the bison. Well, we had done was some I think that the native Americans were already on their way to doing. Well, I mean so let me sort of offer revision of that okay native people and bison had coach sit in that had been going on for eight hundred or nine One thousand years with the the modern bison. I mean if you track it back to you, know the the lar plus Pleistocene, bison, bison, antiquus and bison, nephrons the big bison Longhorn Bison was was by some letter Franz. It's called Lana from latifrons yeah yeah it's a longhorn bison
and then there is a slightly smaller one that existed farther into into. On time, all right, the bison. We experts have these pure well, Some herbs are wow. Look at that thing. That's amazing! Now, so, let's by some letter from I'm sure, you're aware of the scrub bulls like particularly in Australia with these animals get free and they become feral. Now a domestic cal's change the characteristics, look at the size of that thing, so what yeah, so what that graphic shows is they can temper very, are bison over on the right side of the graphic, and you can see how Much smaller it is, then, the animals that were here during the Pleistocene bye in the latter. Frans is the animal over on the far left and Bison Antiquus is one of these in the middle. It's probably the very middle one right there, the
These animals were hunted by early hunters. Here too, when the they arrived, the Pleistocene produced that extinction scenario. So they hunted these these large. Names of bison, but about eight thousand years ago, bison. The large ones having become extinct, bison sort of evolved into, smaller, I mean people actually to the modern boxes and wharf dwarf compared to these older ones, and so what argue, and I've got a chapter on this in American CERN Gandhi, to sort of my most recent take on the spice in ecology, bison diplomacy, piece, which came out in a very fancy journal academic journal about twenty five years ago. Now But what I argue is that that Hunt had been going on for eight thousand years and probably the reason that bison
never that Indians, never hunted them to extinction is because- and we're actually better adapted to the grasslands. Then people were. So they were more successful as a grassland species than humans were until we get the production from the european arrival of a couple of things that changed the version, one is the a re of the horse to North America, which native people in the west quickly take up and gives them a an ability to hunt bison, far more efficiently and become just as well adapted to life, on the grasslands as the as the bison was, but the other thing that changes. The equation is the market, the introduction of the market economy, and so what that circle actually argued in what my chapter
in American Serengeti argues to. I haven't changed my mind over the last twenty five years about this is that the market became a force for native people just as it did for people all around the world in Africa and India and 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 with flat arrowheads your Arrowhead maker could maybe produce fifteen of them through hard labor in a day, but you could go out and kill a bison and have your wife,
tan its belt and make a robust softly tanned robe out of it, and you could trade that to a white trader from the Hudson's Bay Company or the American Fur Company, and they would give you a hundred and fifty steel arrowheads that were far better than the flat ones that took your best Geral maker a day to produce, and you could get a hundred and fifty of them for the work of thirty 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.
Steel, arrowhead, steel, knives, steel, hatchets of firearms that it became almost impossible for indian people to resist Trey Looking for those things, I mean it You didn't trade for them in the tribe down, river did then, I suddenly had guns and you didn't. And so you were going to be out competed by your neighbors and so, in effect, what happened was the lure of the goods of the industrial world in the market economy. Drew indian people into the market hunt so that by the 1820s eighteen thirties, eighteen forties. They were still kill Buffalo in order to provide meat for the fan play in to provide. You know hides to make a tee pee and all that, but they were killing an uh,
missional percentage of animals to trade to the european market, and so they became actor in the market economy. That was basically wiping all these animals out so in in also was the reintroduction of the horse as well right, because I was in before that they were hunting these animals on foot and they were far less effective now now and they they're they're beast of burden was the dog and so couldn't travel nearly as far. Obviously by using dog propelled locomotion, as you good horses you couldn't carry the kind of burdens that kind of goods that you could carry on. Dogs that you could with horse and so the transformation from being a dog propelled, people to being a horse propel people was it was a revolution, and their lives, I mean one of the things that happened as a result of it was to sit there
people all around the borders of the means many of whom were agricultural, who are farmers who ended up? especially their young men, ended up. Abandoning farming because they realize that the potential for rising and status and Creating a better life was much higher If you mattered up on a horse and rode out of the planes and one hundred buffalo, and so I mean there were entire groups like the crows had been relatives of the man in the adults as an and had been lists and that entire group of people ended up abandoning farming, on horses, rode out on the plains Become Buffalo. Hunters I mean in the period from basically, one thousand seven hundred and twenty, when People in the West began to acquire horses and the what spread horses
as I mentioned earlier in our Conversation was basically in one thousand six hundred and eighty 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 all their herds of livestock. They captured their goats, their sheep and there or shirts and some animals. Some of the horses got loose and that's sort. 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 who become herders of goats and sheep, and they start riding the horses which they have now and great surplus. That they've liberated from the Spaniards up the mountains from tried to another to the utes, to the Shoney's, to the Nez Perce, to the black feet to the a cinema
and then on out of the planes and so from one thousand six hundred and eighty through about one thousand, seven hundred and twenty or one thousand seven hundred and thirty just about everybody in the West end up getting horses and you have to have the culture. With it too. I you can't just hand the animal over to somebody and there's a famous story where the first horse that the black feet see they offer it Buffalo meat to eat. And somebody has to say it say: Kalispell, Indian who's, riding the horses, no, no, not Buffalo meat, it eats grass, it crazy. Some you have to feed it, crashed and they have to be shown how to take care of horses and how to Gail, 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 a acquire them and this period that only lasts for about two hundred years of the famous horse mounted buffalo plains. Indian emerges that lifestyle becomes, which is kind of a backward step, really an answer
logical terms, you assume that you know you go from hunting to be in farmer and you go from farmer or being a city dweller. This is a step going back the other way, but it proved to be so compelling to so many people, as I said earlier, especially young men, who often these farming communities didn't have much opportunity for upward mobility. But you could mount up on horse and ride out become Buffalo Hunter and men the world was your oyster wow, so is essentially the influence of the Europeans, I'm here now offering up the market and creating this environment where they, where it was really profitable and so, and so it became kind of something that native people almost couldn't escape. You could get away from it because I mean ever some groups. It said: okay, we're not going to participate in this in, oh, but that immediately edge them compared to the group right down the river and so people who didn't participate
we're pretty quickly overrun by the people who became he engaged in the horse and the market hunt, and I mean there, instances where I mean like the Sioux and people You know when the movies, the Lakotas. I mean they basically March across the weather in West, like PAC man once they acquire horse, as they come out of Minnesota and out of the woodlands and more across the west, gobbling up one tribe after another and taking away their buffalo hunting territory, and they're still doing it down to the time of the battle of the little bighorn. That's the crows fight on the side of the United States at the battle of the little bighorn isba cause. The Lakotas are seizing their countryside. The goal of Coda is what they yeah. Other native Americans called in the Sioux which enemy and the word that we've
is in history as the city, but yeah I mean on the southern plains. The comanches did basically the same thing. They created this empire that was really autopar and able to compete. With the spanish empire with the republic Texas, and even for a while against the United States, and they created around this. This horse propelled Bison Hunt that provided goods for the market economy. Now you were talking about steel arrowheads, did they or when Did they start using firearms? While I started using firearms, I mean I was an early trade item and it was usually in the very beginning of contact between Europeans and native people a firearm. Was you know, maybe a couple of them mortgage given to the the head man to the leaders of particular tribe as a status item,
One time I was an editor on Forum Anthropological Journal called Ethno history and my task as an editor, I was assistant, editor associate edge or something. But my task was to read the incoming manuscripts that were submitted for publication and one of the ones I read, I've never forgotten. This was an account buy a trader in South America, Who was turning his trading post over to a newly arriving trader, and I think they were portuguese. And so, trader, who had experience in the area was by the new guy said. So how do I get the Indians to trade with me and the I have been on the scene for awhile said nothing to it. Ride out
fifteen or twenty miles into the wilderness and take a steel axe, Ann suspended from a rope from the branch of a tree and then leave, and then two weeks three weeks later go back and this guy, this new trailer digs play 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 these objects more of these axis, because steel, I mean there's a famous story when Captain Cook first puts off the coast off the Waimea coast of Kawaii Ann
They are 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 realize. This is such an advantage over the tech biology that they have, and so I mean there. Willing to trade. What what do you want for an axe? What do you want for a box of nails? So they just let the people know The axe was a thing hanging from a tree for awhile. Let him play with it and go back now. Wow. That's a mind: blower so that's how how native people kind of all over the world who had progressed to the our revolution to the iron age,
Houston to the market economy, is that they were offered items that were so compelling and, as I set a couple times now. If, if you didn't participate in it, you kind of within a decade advantage 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 what I was arguing in by say and bison diplomacy, and I the argument- is slightly revised in concern Serengeti, but it's the same argument and it's become the prevailing argument about what happened, to I sit in the 19th century. Is we used to think that ok we're still one hundred million of them by the of the civil war and then guys go out with rifles in the space of twenty years. They shoot 'em all down and that's the end of it further. Songs in further hides, but what the story. Actually is is a much more believable and real story that it
today with the internet, horses which drink water and grace grass, and so that reduces the carrying capacity for bison. Once there are two or three Megan horses out on the plains. There can't be as many bison anymore. It happens, Becaus there is a climate downturn in the 1840s for about fifteen years. There's a drought that reduces the caring capacity for bison, so climate plays a role uh. We know so that diseases like anthrax an ultimately brucellosis get among the Buffalo herds and those diseases, probably got among the Buffalo herds, Becaus ox and other animals on the overland trails took these. P and exotic diseases out among the bison herds and infected them with disease, and then there's no question. The way the market worked, it was and there course no regulation of it. This is before we ever regulate. You know we haven't
environmental regulations. It's just a free for all capitalist world also know refrigerate Shin no refrigeration, so you have to handle it and eat it within a certain time period, yeah, so the you can try to mate and that and that dry climate, you can dry it and preserve some of it, but yeah there's no refrigeration, and so you know I mean. There's no refrigeration thing really plays a role in the above, the famous Buffalo jobs that happen in the West, because you know you could control how many animals were going to go off those jumps, and so, if you wanted to run ten off in order to provide you buffalo for the next month and a half your tribe of a hundred twenty five with Buffy's, a buffalo jump to be running off cliffs running off cliffs yeah, and you want to run off ten and instead you got into a herd of no thirteen one thousand three hundred and they all went off and it even became this
saying I mean we know about these. Buffalo jumps that people regard indian people regarded this as a strategem that you don't want to. Let surviving buffalo go out onto the plane, and inform other buffalo that there's this thing called a jump that you want to avoid 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. It is. It is going to sound crazy, but it makes you wonder if it was ignorance on their part that the these animals could communicate like that or if they had some sort of an intuition about how instinct and how how certain fears that animals had were developed. Well, I think in now know- and I spent some time talking about this and the Buffalo chapter-
concern Getty. It has to do with what we would call native science, what you mention at the last there that they do stand and probably seen examples of you know an animal learning very quickly how to avoid trap But it also has to do with the cause of the explanation that they have for how the world works and the they don't have the kind of in a western explanation. And for this is a cause- and this is an effect they have cause effect relationship to be sure. But it explains the world in a different way, an indian people pretty. Pretty generally believe that bison were a people that they were a family of animals and they had families
that were very similar to the families that indian people had and they had a controlling Master animal sort of a Buffalo master, who had to appeal to two. But the animals to give themselves up to humans for the good of humanity. And so the Dhea wise that you had this kind of uh. You know aerial tie to these animals. It was a tie that we would explain now. Looking back, I would say: ok, it's a religious thing. This was some sort of spiritual kind of standing of how people and animals interacted with one another, but it was in formed a little bit by kind of night, We scientific observation too, and I think in particular this one where the argue That was in it's from what I've read it's been. It was pretty widespread that if you did a buffalo,
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 Maybe had observed there being instances where on animal that had gone. Turn off a job 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. This later you saw that particular animal in another group of bison and when try to do a jump. It led that heard off in a different direction, and so I think there was of native science in that. But there you know where got to in talking about this was no refrigeration, so if you ran one thousand three hundred of them off and it's August, then all you're going to get to do and you've got a group of one hundred and twenty five people. All you're going to get to do is to basically take the best pieces off about twenty five or thirty animals and.
You're going to lose the rest of it, because you can't preserve the meat of all those animals. So they find these sites where they be mass carcasses or mass bones. Oh yeah, yeah, there's uh I'd in Texas. It's called the bonfire shelter, site and the reason it's called that anthropologists gave it archaeologist gave it. This name is because there was a bison, jump that was so big there. We think ten thousand years ago, during the Folsom period, that and so many animals went off that jump and only a few. Them could be harvested by the people. Who did the jump that that big mass of animals set there and basically, over two three weeks of burst into spontaneous combustion and scorched the cliff that they had gone off of and so
whites first saw it. They thought somebody has built a giant bonfire at the base of that cliff. Look at that. It's street a hundred feet up the side of the cliff and what archaeologists realize about it when they begin 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 come and probably burn for four five days wow, how does it happen? How do they how they burst into flames? Well, I mean in hot weather, with that much decay, an firm notation of all the juices that are in intestines and stomach, you basically create a condition where you've got flammable chemistry, that lights, What causes the ignition you know No sir, I mean, I think it's the explanation I read is spontaneous but
somebody may have walked over with a torch and tossed it onto the pile of animals in Burnham wow. Thousands of animals now thousands of them you know it's interesting. We were talking about with some 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, so it might. Totally related, but it might be in some ways they took these. And they sprayed a citrus smell in their cage and and when they smell the citrus smell, they shocked them. They shocked their feet. They had the the bottom for the cage was electrically charged and every time they sprayed that citrus smell, they would give him a zap. Then their ancestors who had never experienced this before they did the same thing
then them just spray, the citrus smell and they had a physical reaction, a heightened sense of danger. Fear you know they realize that a shock was coming just by the smell, citrus. They were terrified of it now makes sense. Instincts are passed on. Well it you know it. What I mean we've sort of concluded from studies that have been done primarily in ITALY, over studying families through the generations and ITALY that. Descendants of a particular group of people will preserve evidence in their jeans, sometimes four hundred and fifty six generations down a time, line of an ancestor who went through a famine or a starving time and so that fan
I would produce a physiological effect on the body and that would be pass down so that geneticists could discover affects of it? several generations down the timeline wow. So it's sort of similar to what you're describing with with and I think, that's probably you know we just we haven't studied. At least I'm not aware that there have been a lot of studies of this kind of thing, but what it The kind of means is that, where the products you know our modern world of things that have, unto our ancestors, maybe two or three hundred years ago, and maybe even the fears like they think that active phobia, the FIA phobia and a lot of the fears of snakes and bugs things that people have might be directly attributed to ancestors being bitten or poisoned by those things? or uh seeing someone getting bitten are poisoned by them? I mean speaking of that sort of thing. You know, there's a
a section I do and when I'm talking about the development of poisons to try to write a cake, CHI he's in the Carry America book where the reason- during world war. Two we decided are the government. Now call wildlife services. This agency that was trying to solve the predator problem by exterminating coyotes. The reason they these are new chemical insights. During world war, two to come up with new poisons against coyotes was that they began to realize that strychnine, which had been the poison of preference for the previous seven, or so years was a poison kill coyotes too quickly. And coyotes are really smart about cause and effect, and so 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 strict nine bait after they saw that happen to one of their pack member and so in the the 1940s we came up with three new poisons one. Almost call sodium a sodium fluorescent Tate, which is the one we now call ten and it was called one thousand and eighty and it was used for the next nineteen. Now it's in fact it's still you, then application today, but it was a poison it was developed after one thousand and eighty tries by this laboratory. That's just nineteen 20th specialized in developing poisons to kill, wolves and coyotes is called the
eradication methods laboratory. So one thousand and eighty another one, sodium Falmey am was uh isn't that will coyotes so slowly that they often survive for a week after they ate the poison, and in that week their pads would fall off Their hair would fall off the p ledgewood come off their bodies there's one story where a farmer, Colorado found during the winter of about eighteen forty, seven or forty seven, forty eight. He found seven or coyotes in his barn, with no pads on their feet. No Hair on their bodies, all huddled to they're trying to stay warm season and he killed him with a pitchfork. Oh my god.
But the reason we introduce these poisons- and it was a third one to which It was a cyanide, basically the one that we call in three force now that are little cartridges that fire sign. I'd missed into their mouth is because these poisons kill them slowly enough that Coyotes witnessing the victim taking the bite of the poison bait, didn't put two and two together Yeah I mean so. We even had these kind of insights about how animals will observe something and reserve, a memory of what they've seen and then try to actually come up with with a poison that plays against that absolutely 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
you be interested in coming back and doing another mad love to do that. I would not have you get together with him and compare notes 'cause. He had some really interesting observations about these asteroidal impacts and I think the two of you together would have a fascinating conversation. Let's do that down the line, but so 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. Much relationship thanks for having as big right, hi folks see you next week bye. Thank you, everybody for tune into the podcast thanks to our sponsors, thanks to cave man, coffee for fueling us with caffeine and wonderful, delicious flavors good to man, coffee co, dot com and use the code word Rogan and you'll save ten percent. Thank you, to to Legalzoom, go to Legalzoom dot com enter the code, word
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Transcript generated on 2019-11-18.