Author, scientist, explorer and conservationist, Professor Tim Flannery has turned his attention to Europe in his latest book, Europe: A Natural History. It's a story of huge animals, shifting islands, eccentric scientists and the impact of modern humans. Flannery has held various academic positions including Professor at the University of Adelaide, director of the South Australian Museum and principal research scientist at the Australian Museum. His many books include The Future Eaters, The Weather Makers and Atmosphere of Hope. He is currently head of the Australian Climate Council.
United States


00:00:00professor Tim Flannery with the scientist Explora is best known for his book the future his buddies with many many more his laces Izzy Europe and natural history is full of very cute animals and fascinating characters including the man that Flannery described as one of the most extraordinary paleontologist
00:00:25ever lived and yet cool but forgotten his name was friends Snopes gap well he was born in the late nineteenth century and was %HESITATION leading in remind hearing his castle in the trans a whiny and helps you know about the time that Bram Stoker was writing about Dracula
00:00:46it's a bit dead not skill with more more interesting bonds and loud and he was studying dinosaurs and was really the first person to consider dinosaurs as living beings in in the system and he was a pioneer in so many wives he %HESITATION he did the first scene
00:01:04sectioning of bonds so this is the kind of every scene section of the bones they can read its growth rings and so forth and %HESITATION he established that that the Europe at the time was a an Onondaga coming out with a tropical city and %HESITATION I I don't
00:01:19know if he was forgotten probably more for social reasons actually increase alliance possibly insane it kind of inside and %HESITATION believing with that over an Albanian shifted from you curse of mountains for thirty years and I've only got a relationship which is I'm sure people from the point
00:01:36of the time %HESITATION we see a pretender to the throne of Albania we had so many aspects we lost but the ability to see with that your put the time of the dinosaurs had been an island archipelago how did he know that inside really came about because the
00:01:55barns that he was finding we're all from small animals and he initially for all practical truth in on young ones you know %HESITATION but then he did the scene sectioning worker charting cycle fully mature fully adult and you realize that they worked war and we do you get
00:02:12dwarf animals and people were beginning to this conflict will Phyllis and phone lines in the Mediterranean and there was silence is our job if he was just beginning at that time so he really extended that fourteen cities to past and said well if this poor fellow from four
00:02:27months to die preps it was forced on this was on on one thing the time once you get holes on the islands do evolution selects for animals that just can survival makes food because all islands %HESITATION limited habitat %HESITATION does that can survive on the limited amount of
00:02:45food they tend to do better and %HESITATION and by other smaller individuals so at the time between city gets more on the lines paradoxically small things tend to get the gap %HESITATION with that's another subject list but come for the dinosaurs of Europe they rule towards each as
00:03:02as %HESITATION not school would have put you didn't tell me that the exception proves the rule which is an expression I fail to understand but what about Galapagos tortoises well yes there are there any exception they've got a very very long %HESITATION metabolic right %HESITATION and I eat
00:03:20I have got larger at the time %HESITATION presumably for other reasons now I think of the Galapagos tortoises one exception they were joined rests on on the in the past fifty joint he chokes the size of a collie dogs %HESITATION and no one really understands why these small
00:03:36creatures gate latch on all items %HESITATION but dwarfism is much much better months to utilize the midwife toad steadily own which is fascinating in itself but why why is the mid wife toes important to the story one of my things to the stone age me the most is
00:03:56that you know in Europe there are still some lineages of organisms which involved junior I tripped on a source in Europe and weeks of life they to the study and in a sense those animals the equivalent of a stride is plentiful sweetly when you see wants to attack
00:04:11Iraq you know the ancient ancient creatures and one of those mean each is is the midwife totally niche very primitive convent Phoebe in %HESITATION tireless and Phoebe and I would have rather peculiar life havoc with the miles %HESITATION take care of the aches and the young which is
00:04:27what he called me to walk taught but they've been in Europe for a hundred million years and you know you call one of our she was looking at allies the likes of which were the dinosaurs you were in on the dinosaurs white dove cools extinct ages that would
00:04:41extend to all the minute by being could be we don't have a good English with the with it is generally agreed that the white top by the huge asteroid strike come Yucatan peninsula will that there are some people who offer alternative theories but you have a really interesting
00:05:00description of the effect of that asteroid only unit sixty six million years ago almost everything would have been wiped out right that's what they were anything with a metal body white larger than about thirty five kilograms which which might extinct so if we were right at the time
00:05:17we would have gone as humans we just too because of all life but the the level of devastation buried %HESITATION with the distance from the impact site if you within a thousand kilometers of the impact site team what is to die you %HESITATION southern Mexico %HESITATION you would
00:05:32have been vaporized instantly everything once on the surface of the planet and there was a region outside that cuts to two thousand clematis waving would be boiled instantly by the heat and then after that there was a region where the immediate impact somewhat lace but the nuclear winter
00:05:49that followed and the %HESITATION but he thinks that immediately followed %HESITATION drive my stinks to extinction and of course Europe was was quite close to that impacts on so it was really pleased to this on the docket color guard at most things at least on the surface would
00:06:04have died become extinct even that the insects that I particularly the freaking sexual vanished and what happened in the millions of years after that is that of course was very little to stop trees growing on the fourth of Europe must have been like the quite for supporting our
00:06:19would last century system these huge docks on up for us %HESITATION you know the creatures living in them with the semi subterranean leases from a few small mammal very little really how long do you think it would have taken for the dinosaurs to have become extinct well I
00:06:39mean it's a Christian scientist to argue about %HESITATION my feeling is that here the European dinosaurs would have gone in a couple of hours to the impact site that they would want to speak to Chris %HESITATION yeah yeah but the southern hemisphere dinosaurs some of them might have
00:06:54survived a little bit longer and of course some you know some dinosaurs issue with this today so the good side door missiles and %HESITATION things like Gee we use and %HESITATION other large flightless birds the restaurant for a really pretty deep within the dinosaur in each song %HESITATION
00:07:11we still have some differences with you just what you said then just reminded me that something that you mentioned the book I can't remember the context of it but does it am I getting it wrong there's a full school over at %HESITATION at full some trace of an
00:07:27anti single leaf and right speculation is that something that in fact to the end to make kinda Cheney believe what is hello my soul is a forty seven million year old fossil from this extraordinary site called missile in Germany where everything is preserve the colors on the wings
00:07:49of the calls this process of no the last meals of the animals that fell into the part of the process in the stomach still %HESITATION and and %HESITATION was body onto a leaf that died belief was washed into the like can preserve and we know who to die
00:08:04in tropical rain forests that a coin to fungus can infect event and that fungus changes the way the and thinks the end has to seek out a high spot full into the ground I don't know why eighty eight his clasping it and the this the kind of critical
00:08:24condition of its body %HESITATION a very indicative of the infection with this Congress yeah I think there's a lot of to check double check but I think that the %HESITATION is even evidence of the fungus on the end of the year to have that one you could look
00:08:38into the cause of the forty seven million needs from the German like rock quarry is amazing evil said Gordon that some in that deposit the fossil deposit which is named Frank fish I think nine you say nine masing pays off pick knows tasteful yes there are lies in
00:08:58the acts of masing what would be nice to look at pretty we are not that common in the fossil record and I don't think is a single making path and otherwise so I have had we explain missing this quarry and up to the forties that these creatures were
00:09:12swimming in the oxygen rich surface layers of the light just below them there wasn't that lies with very little oxygen in them and perhaps these totals were making and selling to an ecstasy and sunk deeper into the light and %HESITATION Prensa they just sunk to the bottom of
00:09:28the pond and then that will preserve amazing to think about it is these things because of another amazing thing I mean the book is ulcers amazing things home weeds or as Allah you say one screw in the arctic sea forty six forty nine million years ago and act
00:09:49it's highly the blame coverage sleaze he million square kilometres emotion and sucks in so much carbon dioxide that it reduced the global atmospheric concentration for at least one thousand parts per million to six hundred fifty yep one extra Thompson is the arctic oil reserves today exactly and we
00:10:18wouldn't have discovered desist Amish in fact if it hadn't been for the oil companies grilling in this terribly hospitable environment of the Arctic Ocean and discovering fossilized point wait and you know hydrocarbons buried deep in the settlement you know under the ice under the full clones of water
00:10:35down into the sentiment that's extraordinary why was the carbon dioxide so Hani before that people are still struggling to explain %HESITATION the cop influx in the atmosphere of a tall and is one of the big is one of the problem questions for the climate change scientists rice your
00:10:58eighties and we we can't go back and directly sample items via you know but but we can point to some factors that might have been relevant and and one of them is that just before that time so several million years before that time %HESITATION the the Atlantic Ocean
00:11:15was very reaching class right these are %HESITATION the office the phone so that the with your way of this thing but it's a it looks like costs but if you put a match to it it'll be a and ET ski natural gas trapped in an all I see
00:11:26lex's sweetly and there are untold billions of tons of it in the depths of the ocean but some about fifty four minutes ago %HESITATION guys North America and Europe was starting to split %HESITATION volcanic rocks in the form of these narrow seals of rock working their way up
00:11:44towards the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and %HESITATION win my touch does class right %HESITATION it was like putting a match to a barbecue the whole objects being turned up for you north so that stuff a rep today to the bottom of the ocean and caused an instantaneous
00:11:59black holes greenhouse gases that completely altered the world's not the entire bottom of the ocean was acidified we can identify from a British firefly globally the moment that happened and that is designed to give so much extension of of animals in the lower layers of the ocean and
00:12:19on land you know species went from having a good distribution needy quite to the distribution in Greenland in monkeys and things like that that was founded it quite all of a sudden it in the tropical forests of green light because the change was so profound to leave out
00:12:34punk with Willis you suck up the cavs outside then you've got %HESITATION big plans to see we'd have you know yes it's one of the things that really interest me %HESITATION your knowing this history and looking at the comparable with caution or the question is can we use
00:12:47the wheat farming and the disposal some of that tree leading to the devotion to sequester cabin that the sky the will make a difference what comic future please to fish please finish it will %HESITATION mean that we'd be able to give every person on us if was done
00:13:03in the sky and your two hundred kilograms of high quality marine protein per year without having to caliche oceans of the wild stocks innocent yeah it's got a lot going for it but we're in the very early days of exploring those ideas but primatology is useful and interesting
00:13:18in terms of making you think about at present dilemma I do I want to talk about a couple of really weird animals %HESITATION the ends hello domes or held paiks this million years ago yes you can someone please Pfeiffer creatures really means a like animals that would have
00:13:37pain gets to meet his heart the shoulder with a hit the base part of a major moment right Barney walks of life in the face with the shape and size of the human paying us you know the kind of they've got freezing and I will talk credits is
00:13:51that they would %HESITATION Q. %HESITATION the PT camels at least at the time and have a small little boys on mansion in berry cash the body's white lady who's about to be so that I could be more easily so not a very unpleasant called then all around anymore
00:14:09well exactly will be leasing they lived in was really a period that was full of very unpleasant peaks of Darius will come pick like creatures yeah so what about the a niece a dorm and he said on Willis is almost another interesting one that one leaves about published
00:14:26fifteen million years after the hell peaks and %HESITATION it least in Europe that was a big like Africa to die you know the savannas of Africa by with tremendous diversity of animals and it was a relative of the horses and say Bruce and and rhinos but it looks
00:14:42very different if you just seem to hate you would who was a weird hold in the next few motor with a short necked giraffe that the body was very much like the body of a gorilla which very long forearms shorthorn leans steeply sloping back %HESITATION but each of
00:14:58its teachers had a massive who've cornice I'm in no one quite knows what these creatures eat it's tablet supplied but it's one of those great in the biz and relief is one animal I could bring back for the possible be any so called because I would like to
00:15:11see what the I wonder why it didn't take off well it's a bonus to millions of years and %HESITATION I not I mean that's the thing isn't we think oh well it's no longer around now so it must have been a failure that's right no they didn't seem
00:15:26to do quite well for a very long time at the change of climate probably corsets extinction Europe ruling in %HESITATION and the simplification of the vegetation until then to professor Tim Flannery his latest book is called Europe and natural history this call minutes you say the first hominids
00:15:46and the fizz by peaceful apes evolved in Europe that's right astonishing as it is for the very latest on some of the published just the sheer suggests that the very earliest by people like her walking like cast %HESITATION was sending grace and not only that but the very
00:16:07least guerrillas with and increases was no longer the cradle of you know human whatever wells the cradle of depends because if you if you define the cry to lose is the the kind of a win specie when the odds became by people and now it's not the city's
00:16:26Europe so what happened what happened between because they involved in Europe the time line seems to be he then went to Africa walks to Africa yeah hi the last million years ago and then came back as homo erectus excellent they walk to Africa or the time that the
00:16:50Mediterranean Sea cried out incredible sort but it did at one stage try happened and the bottom of the sea was a salty trying for Columbus is below this the the sea level %HESITATION at that time they called into to Africa %HESITATION and I continue to evolve in Africa
00:17:08but China changing climate in Europe probably the same things that president Saddam to extinction course extension of Europe's our products and it was only two million years ago with their paths that the the the upright types returned to Europe and %HESITATION at that stage that what you now
00:17:24run genus homo you know and %HESITATION and to some of your earliest come home %HESITATION rictus or in fact found in Europe good lord I mean that's a new thing right we didn't that is its excellence is amazing and it is the way it unfolds is fascinating into
00:17:41people look re analyzing bones found shooting sycamore wars German soldiers the desperately seeking for shelter during a bombing right incorrect someone put up to about in their pocket and somehow it survived in and now it's being reassessed is the first apply type you know and and discovery of
00:17:57these footprints on Cyprus was just astonishing for me either there we have to be preserved in sediments at that formed in a shallow sea who principle holds for many families walking upright through the shallows is nearly sixteen years old you know and you look at them and he
00:18:15could possibly have been on their way to Africa the chances are against it but it's a wonderful conceits wonderful fortune or I'm going to process the Tim Flannery about his latest book Europe and natural history one I would the mega format that our ancestors lived among southern bank
00:18:35%HESITATION I suppose why they make and no more huge lines and huge hyenas and monstrous bed is that's right and %HESITATION is the reason that plane isn't days and and have a syncing date with larger in Europe was it some more temperate climate them in Africa and is
00:18:55it still being an island so they yeah right but then it it stopped being an island it was on the scene is ninety three Kilik connected with Africa and and such species group guard either from Africa through I should reach you report will directly sometimes from Africa into
00:19:11Europe and so the holiness or good example no spotted hyenas of this second largest kind of what you know forget to die %HESITATION %HESITATION and they white ninety kilograms assignments and as an adult male human features %HESITATION but the ones in Europe reason because because I will be
00:19:27going in a very calm environment and I used types is stains %HESITATION and and so that was just one example so they they begin the elephants because the court of the with cold conditions with you know set forth so everything was a little bit bigger in Europe and
00:19:41%HESITATION over time it's always joints become extinct and really starting about fifty thousand years ago they start to finish and the last of them go about ten thousand years ago when we least was our last willing Bama so that last July tell that one well this is being
00:20:01argued over forever in the diocese we realize that which once the dentist and %HESITATION I would have to side with the providing view is leaning more towards humans being the course of their extinction really wasn't enough humans around to make the make stinks by hunting well that would
00:20:17still be disputed %HESITATION but you we can see them dwindle we can see the Trinity simplifies they lose population at the time and that trend continues want through to the Morton die for some of the species that survive like the brown bear and and so forth and the
00:20:33patent extension and not easily explainable really quite just resorting to climb muscle climate change is the fact that it'll just give you one example of that is that the European strike tusked elephants was a huge elephant we've done to the mainland but some of them correct ones Mediterranean
00:20:48islands and the time on and will see the the giants orderly stinks when rent on modern humans getting to your working very rough figures are but some of the autumn population sebab until ten thousand years ago which just happens to be the moment the Cumans first get to
00:21:04those on so you could talk to explain that sort of thing just close by resorting to climate change you mention wholly mammals %HESITATION late mammoths which actually would that big really mellowed a works though about the size of the Indian elephant said it did not is because some
00:21:23of the new truly gigantic elephants the posturing D. to some of Africa's elephants the largest ones with not about historically thank they go to western Europe from Siberia right about half million years ago yeah but originally from Africa so the mammoth Lee needs comes out of Africa gets
00:21:40into I journeyed to Siberia and then moves into Europe as we have these tremendous sauce I choose that sweep through Europe over the last two means now hello to you knows that will only mammoth had a clapper valve to protect their rightness from the cold because we found
00:22:00mummified mammoths which which at the click of LV intact along with a lot of other bits of it all right so you're not relying on social because I thought the cap the valve might know just survived as a full school where you see the frozen into the side
00:22:13of the force so we get these mummified preserved a mammoth cap that seems extraordinary because they're not so the nor any kind of the twins Worland head but they also have a special valve to keep the abortions warm Xstrata wouldn't you want one when it's minus seventy SI
00:22:30think it's quite a sensible idea when we'll call it something right now all I never thought about this but on accounts of the ice age that's why we get K. vbox because that's why people were in caves because it was cold thanks part of the reason that you
00:22:50know the the the the kind of artist fascinating because it seems to begin about thirty seven thousand years ago rough figures and of course the first humans to reach the periphery of Europe arrived about thirty eight cents and music are and in Romania we know from looking at
00:23:09fossils that they contacted Neandertal people and that these people or the wife would come up to the preferred if you're poor African so black skinned Africans all my question and Africa and they meet with me and the schools who %HESITATION will pile skinned blue light very large blue
00:23:25why so we could see in the low light conditions northern Europe rate hate and quite muscular somehow they harbor diced and those hybrids thing that moves very quickly into your soul yep you of modern humans start really getting to Europe too much much lighter than any other schools
00:23:43don't really even go extinct because I surviving on good form but these hardwoods moves through Europe very quickly and they are so interesting cultural eat because they making these beautiful lasts beautiful tore out the making some of the first statuettes your captains of of women to the Windle
00:24:01famous and so forth as well as these toppings of hybrid creatures like the line of whole films from that area which is the some amazing harbor Cuban law and creature this was musical instruments and of course they missed the cut the dog thirty seven thousand years ago did
00:24:16I %HESITATION brokering a new relationship with dogs so what was it about that harbored population that'll that'll that to happen and it's one of the great unanswered questions of human evolution that nevertheless you got old Canada which if they hadn't been in the caves wouldn't existed that's right
00:24:34so they grew in Christ because presumably any address where mothers showed them how to leaving types and houses maintain themselves in cash food and so forth %HESITATION because in the end the schools with high schoolers and had been for Evans harbored population I would've let her kiss from
00:24:51from the grandmother's you %HESITATION point out that no you women are depicted in I. S. H. Qaeda with PD care and one pally intelligence suggests that they D. places yes yeah here if you look around the world this there's a lot of cultures pull that case so the
00:25:15people as you can for example %HESITATION many cultures up the %HESITATION rumors of P. B. K. just as a former beauty treatment but some men and women was I thought it was a late a unit at late twentieth century western affectation set in short the women were completely
00:25:33headless no it seems to be very deep rooted within human cultures and and of course the you know the stuff we seeing type out then I could focus would retreat with in your pinkeye that would suggest that if people were doing the same thing many many thousands of
00:25:49years ago you when you talk about the scene your lips principal which which says that since the fossil record %HESITATION Volgan isns is never complete neither the Fifth nor the last organism in a given tax phone will be recorded as a four from what does that mean what
00:26:15it means is that we must approach our analysis of the fossil record with enormous humility is primatologists you know you often read about %HESITATION that to one of the species soul you know the the first dinosaur will the last dinosaur will what everybody's does that has those tunes
00:26:34of privacy chins because we'll never find first or the last and indeed what the fossil record give sissies tiny glimpses into a very complex and long story and just to give you one example of that the %HESITATION the for the first ten million years of life on land
00:26:51in Europe after the dinosaur extinction everything we know who comes from a circular borehole me to across right which he took very narrow ally respondents that easy to attain media needs so that senior leaps on steroids you know we've we've kind of the beginning we got happening we
00:27:08have a tiny glimpse of what was that was a very complex story but that's what we have so when you say that the European mainland did not lose a species between the last memo %HESITATION must all X. nine thousand years ago or pack a senior lips unit nine
00:27:28or ten eleven thousand years ago whatever it anyway nine thousand years ago until the seventeenth century I mean that is amazing how we sure about that well the fossil record is reasonably could I for that and we have lots of archaeological sites and they need it looks into
00:27:46what people sought it is a wise possible of course at some muskox symbolized like house or some other issue that should be a fool to be extinct species survive like that but as far as we know there was no extensions thank you over that period the human population
00:28:00of Europe increased one hundred fault and we went from hunter gatherer societies %HESITATION through the Roman Empire anti to the age of enlightenment and we still not losing species edible with these one of the great paradoxes of Europe and then we went for yep and then we start
00:28:18and what really starts to bring the giants slow ease %HESITATION social disruption because the last surviving European jaunt mammals were restricted to boil hunting was a between Poland with the PST misty had protected that these creatures for a thousand years %HESITATION but as social disruption stops and as
00:28:40social change occurs we stopped using them and we lose the Horrocks in the seventeenth century and being in the twentieth century we lose the license which is the only surviving European memeluk biceps with time they sound like %HESITATION a bison they're a hybrid between the older rocks and
00:28:58the boss and the step by some %HESITATION you'll see them if you %HESITATION see I sites for the pictures of %HESITATION form the from my site Europe is often the box at the Boston like creature in them and many of those are to be watched when one speaks
00:29:14about in reintroducing species how far back do you go because you talk about reintroducing elephants to Europe I'm not sure whether your having fun or whether you think that that is feasible no it is feasible %HESITATION if people don't realize how quickly the European last cuts being depopulated
00:29:38not so by twenty thirty they'll be twenty million heck is all European land which is deserted because people have gone to the cities yeah yeah so that's a vast areas and at the same time that that's happening the elephants of Africa ripping comes into extinction and by the
00:29:54end of the century they'll be four billion people in Africa rather than listen to begin as the right to die so you know things will change and the African forest elephant which is very similar to the extinct European long task elephant he's exquisitely vulnerable ETT very slow reproducing
00:30:13easy content is declined to extinction before I realized so if you want a world with Alison see that %HESITATION it may be that the Europeans will have to make room to store there %HESITATION since %HESITATION that we've been down before the group before fifty sesame cigars that animals
00:30:28don't just exist in a unit that came today that part of an ecosystem and elephants a part of the Z. code system an African now if you pop them into Hereford chat would they not need a whole lot of other species to make because system you might not
00:30:46be terrified she you might decide to put them into the metallic hills of Tuscany or someone like that you know with this it does this for a %HESITATION to could support them and into the sole sourcing the planet fifty thousand years ago so you know we we need
00:31:00to do some experimental work around this and see how it goes but you know we can coming decades I can imagine %HESITATION you just Europeans creating an elephant refuge after the last surviving elephants from total force of Africa the other species to look at the big kind of
00:31:16was like Lawrence one the cable line becomes extinct in Europe forty thousand years ago %HESITATION but ten thousand years ago African and Asiatic law and something like him anyway pushes back against this increasing mass of humanity and penetrates Europe this virus Iberia as far as political and civil
00:31:36rights the if for five thousand years and if you look at the history of alliance you know they survived increasing to two says and he's a guy who wants to spread about them you can read about the meaning of the act in a %HESITATION and they support the
00:31:48Georgia on the margins of Europe in two thousand years ago and I survived in eastern Turkey into the eighteen hundreds so you know putting creatures like that thank you is not as loud shy he %HESITATION state if you if you want as many people think and that was
00:32:08because the Tim Flannery between about his book Europe and natural history %HESITATION we have to pre record that is via in case you're wondering before the I. P. C. C. report on climate change came out this last week

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