Megafauna takeover your town
North America had a wider variety of large mammal than Africa or Asia before humans arrived, but these beasts were quickly brought to extinction by these early humans. Now, there is conversation in the scientific community to bring megafauna back. This activity will encourage discussion on the costs and benefits of de-extinction (restoring extinct populations) by evaluating the possibilities of sharing spaces with larger wildlife in your city and the roles they would play in the 21st Century.
Materials: Download teacher’s Megafauna templates, a large scale print of an aerial view of your city, scissors, and or crayons markers.
- Collect and print an aerial view of your home town or neighborhood using the school/local library or Google Earth (download plugin here:http://www.google.com/earth/)
- Tape this image or images to a large work table where the class or student groups can work.
- Download and cut-out teacher’s templates of megafauna silhouettes.
1.Include all students in the activity together and work on one large map or break them up into groups of 4-6 students if you prefer to use a smaller map or region. 2.Allow students to pick the kind of megafauna they would like to color.
3.These megafauna need a new look for the 21st Century, so ask students to be creative with their coloring and consider the roles these species would have in the modern world.
1. Once everyone has colored their megafauna discuss the creature’s abilities and needs ask students these questions:
- Are these closure questions or could they be inserted into the above steps.
- What is an ecosystem and how are cities like an ecosystem?
- Is there room for megafauna in your city?
- What problems or positive possibilities in restoring could happen by bringing populations of Pleistocene megafauna in the 21st century?
- What job or role would your megafauna have in the city? ( i.e. Ground Sloth could churn dough at bakery, the Mammoth could be a vehicle for transportation, put the sabertooth cat to work managing pest populations at the mall.)
- Why is it important consider other animals need for space when planning a city?
- Have students examine the map and point out spaces familiar to them, and ask them to distinguish where there are spaces for these animals in the city or where they could contribute to modern society.
- Explain manmade extinction and human intervention in restoring these species by visiting the videos on these links.
- Explain terms such as re-wilding, de-extinction, and keystone species. Describe the roles top predators and large grazing omnivores play in ecosystems.
- Share examples of how have we dealt and how are we currently dealing with large megafauna encroachment.