- Top of page
- The re-wilding gambit
- Is there an overkill debate?
- Archaeological implications of overkill
- What is at stake?
The conservation agenda to re-wild North America may or may not be realistic in terms of political ecology. However, it represents a real conservation recommendation to re-wild North America with the extant megafauna most closely related to those that became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene. The recommendation is based on the presumption that society bears an ethical responsibility to re-wild because humans caused the extinctions. However, the extent to which Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions were the result of overkill is hotly debated. As a result, the ethical imperative for North American re-wilding should be questioned. It will not be questioned unless members of the conservation community read the extensive archaeological and geological literature concerning the North American Pleistocene extinctions. Overlooking the assumptions underlying this particular recommendation is costly to conservation science and to archaeology because it represents an over-simplified, unwieldy and troubling fusion of the two.