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Maastrichtian world



[Edit: updated map based on the work of Dr. Ron Blakey ([link]), and included new climate zones based on made-up ocean currents). Edit 2: encorporated information from Hay et al. 2008 and Spicer and Herman 2010. Many thanks to K. Kripchak on the Dinosaur Mailing list for those references.]

North American biomes go from cypress/pine forests at the poles to angiosperm forests at the southern coast, with a few monkey-puzzle tress and podocarps thrown in for flavor. See also: [link])

A new thought-game for you all:

In a future world with access to the kind of shoot-and-a-miss time
travel technology described by the illustrious Nemo Ramjet (where is it?), a
group of Montana-based Apocalyptic cultists buy a time shuttle and use
it to set up a permanent colony in the past, at the K-T boundary, 65
million years in the past. Their stated purpose is to go find
Armageddon instead of waiting for it to come to them, live through it,
and experience the Rapture that should follow. In an attempt to build
a kingdom of heaven on earth worthy of the rapture, they transport
enough people, animals, and machines to make a permanent settlement
Cretaceous Montana (near Bozeman and its famous (and conveniently
un-populated) Egg Mountain) before destroying the time machine and
stranding themselves. Unfortunately, the time period 64 million to 65
million BP is a million years long, and so no giant meteor actually
hits them. Instead, the settlement of religious nuts is simply left
to stew in the Maastrichtian. And grow.

Your task:
Should you choose to accept it, is to predict how people would
colonize the Late Mesozoic world, and what civilizations might arise
from them. Obviously, the climate of the Maastrichtian world is
wildly different from the present world, as is the shape of the
continents, and the native animals and plants. All of these things
will effect how things turn out. Remember how Jared Diamond said that
the fate of human societies is largely driven by geography? Consider
this an exercise in creative anthrogeography.

My thoughts:
Obviously as they spread out, the settlers will
encounter new animals and plants, but initially, they settle in
Montana. Most of the animals and plants they find will be
undomesticatable, and some will be downright dangerous, but some will
eventually prove useful. Again, I want to hear your opinion (for an
extensive list of animals and plants in late-K Montana, see

), but here is
my list.
cypress trees
monkeypuzzle trees
plane trees
Rosaceans (roses, apples, pit fruit, many berries )
and some suggestions from :icondracontes:
Moraceans (figs, mulberries, breadfruits)
Cucurbitales (cucumbers and squash)

Note that although there might be some sources of fruit and starch, there are no grains of any kind.

alligators dangerous, meat
amiid fishes meat
ammonites food, shells, cultivate?
ankyolsaurs dangerous, meat, eggs, plates
champsosaurs dangerous, meat
cimolests weaselly varmints, fur, meat
didelphodon big varmints, fur, meat
dromaeosaurids dangerous, meat, cultivate as hunters?
fresh water clams (various) food, shells, pearls, cultivate?
frogs meat
garfish dangerous, meat, scales
huge ceratopsians dangerous, meat, eggs, skins, horns
huge hadrosaurs dangerous, meat, eggs, skin
huge theropods dangerous, meat
large salamanders meat, eggs?, cultivate?
large theropods dangerous, meat
lizards meat
monitor lizard dangerous, meat
mononyks meat, eggs, feathers, cultivate?
multies vermin
ornithomimes dangerous, meat, eggs, feathers
pachycephalosaurs dangerous, meat, eggs, skin, cultivate?
paddlefish meat
possums vermin
pterosaurs meat, eggs, skins
purgatorians squirrely varmints, fur, meat
sawfish meat, skin, teeth
sharks some dangerous, meat, skin, teeth
small dinobirds meat, eggs
small ornithopods meat, eggs, skin, cultivate?
small salamanders
sturgeon meat, eggs, cultivate?
teleosts meat, cultivate?
tortoise meat
turtles meat, cultivate?
Note that there are many sources of meat, eggs, and skin. Small
herbivores (especially if they are not too aggressive and can be
controlled by humans) and small predators might be domesticatible.
Large herbivores and predators will probably go extinct around areas
of human habitation.

This will have a big effect on the long-term history of the settlers.
The Late-K world is warm and wet, with many small continent fragments
separated by warm, shallow seas. There are no ice-caps, so even the
poles are habitable. In fact, the poles should be very pleasant for
humans. The settlers, when they arrive at the red dot on the map, may
very well head north. The oceans and seas are also calmer than today
(because of a lower temperature gradient equator-to-poles), so
ocean-faring is relatively easy. The first civilization on the
Maastrichtian world might be formed on the shores of the Western
Interior Seaway, with colonies established on the Labradoran and East
American landmasses. Settlements on the northern coasts of the
northern continents might trade across the Boreal Ocean. Europe is
mostly jungle, Asia is big and fat, with a broad desert that might
produce some interesting land-based cultures. South America, Sahara,
Africa ,and India are mostly jungle and desert, and might have some
other land-based cultures, assuming they find something they can farm.
But the really interesting landmass is Gondwana, which is large,
cool, and forested. Assuming the right domestic plants, large
land-based empires or nations could arise here. Pole-based
civilizations might have some problems with six-month winters,

Other notes:
I do not expect a culture that is contiguous with the initial
settlers. Considering how poorly prepared they were and how
inhospitable the Maastrichtian world is for cereal-based agriculture,
we can expect their society to crash and crash again. Of course, with
every crash, skills and cultivated species will be lost. Monasteries
might form to maintain useful breeds, while plantation owners,
desperate to keep certain essential crops in cultivation, resort to
slavery. Many people scatter and disappear into the jungle or across
the sea. I want to hear your take on this, but I'm thinking we would
get a sort of polynesian culture in the northern hemisphere, that
would plant lots of little colonies around the coasts, which would
then slowly move into the interiors of the land-masses. South America
and Africa would be pretty inhospitable, and it might be centuries or
millenia before people set foot on Gondwana. Technology would
probably be stone-age for most of the world, but might get up to
bronze age in southern Asia, Africa, and South America.
For the purposes of this exercise, there is no extinction event,
although there are probably a lot of cultures on this world with
spectacular Apocalyptic religions.

so, what do you guys think?
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Jdailey1991's avatar
What I'd like to know is how did the sea levels recede during the Maastrichtian without the influence of ice?