I just finished Tim Flannery’s Here on Earth. Overall I think he’s trying to do too much… there’s a lot of interesting information, but he can’t get into any one topic in depth.
But he mentions something I wish I’d known about when writing the Planet Construction Kit: that the distribution of megafauna on Earth is evidence for man’s original continent (that would be Africa). Humans are very effective hunters of large game, and when introduced into a completely new environment, such as the Americas, they wiped out all the megafauna.
The major exception in Africa, where the local wildlife has been co-evolving with us for millions of years. As a result, Africa is the one place where you still have megafauna.
A partial exception is Eurasia, where there’s been at least some hominid presence for a long time; this allowed creatures like horses and elephants to survive.
I’ve said for a long time that we don’t know what continent the intelligent species of Almea originated on; this little factoid makes that harder to maintain… we should just look at which continent has the megafauna. I guess I’m going to have to say that the iliu-ktuvok wars disturbed things too much to make it clear, especially without fossil evidence. We might learn more in a few centuries when Almea can be investigated with modern field methods.