Ecosystem Basics: Liberalia, North-Western Continent

Descriptions & discussions of member nations' flora & fauna.
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Bears Armed
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Ecosystem Basics: Liberalia, North-Western Continent

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:43 pm

In terms of position, and the presence of specific nations, this land-mass had no direct counterpart on the region’s earlier maps.
In terms of latitudes and general shape it seems roughly comparable to RL North America, and so should probably have a similar basic range of climates to that continent as well although if we continue with my earlier presumptions that the IDU’s world is slightly more ‘temperate’ overall than RL Earth (due to an absence here of major icecaps) then broad-leafed forests would probably be more widespread than they are in N.A., while grasslands and deserts would be scarcer. There could still be grasslands at high altitudes, and grasslands and perhaps even deserts where the ‘rain-shadow’ of mountain ranges led to drier conditions, though, and looking at the continent’s basic shape (and considering my ideas about how the region’s land-masses have undergone continental drift) I wouldn’t be surprised to all to find out that the western side of this continent — like that of N.A. — contains some fairly major mountain ranges that would “shade” the areas directly to their east… Also, areas surfaced with Precambrian rocks tend (at least outside the ‘tropical rainforest’ belt) to support “poorer” vegetation than do areas where the top strata are newer: looking at RL for examples, this factor contributes to the facts that northern Canada & much of Siberia are mostly covered by either coniferous forests or bogs or tundra while Africa’s Kalahari and much of Australia have deserts… Also, if some types of large herbivores become established in an area of not-too-dense woodland then they themselves might end up turning that area into open grassland instead…
I think that the region’s four continents were probably all part of a single supercontinent at the beginning of the Mesozoic Era (‘Age of Dinosaurs’) and that this broke up in a series of stages. The gap between the south-western continent and the eastern pair is probably due to the earliest major split, but whether this continent remained attached to that one for long or whether it remained linked to the north-eastern one instead and the gap with its southern neighbour has been narrowing over time is something that will obviously need to be discussed with the players who have nations on those other continents. The answers to these questions will obviously affect how easily species could have spread between the continents, too, although of course continents that were not in close contact here could both have acquired the same groups of animals through “immigration” from the same parts of a more RL-like Earth anyway…
I suspect that most of its fauna’s closest relatives in RL would be in North America, although of course that’s a matter for the players of nations based here to discuss. If you do go for that option, then remember that the North American fauna included a much more diverse range of large mammals until only c. 10-12 thousand years ago (when over-hunting by the first Human peoples to arrive there, hitting stocks that hadn’t had any opportunity to evolve precautionary behaviour for this situation, might have led to the mass extinction…) and that this continent could have acquired & retained species from that selection as well… Lion, Sabre-Tooth, Dire Wolf, ‘Hunting Dog’ (a larger relative of the modern African species), Short-faced Bear, Cave Bear, a cheetah-like Hyaena, ‘giant’ Wolverine, Mammoth, Mastodon, Giant Ground Sloths, Pampatheres & Glyptodonts (herbivorous armadillos, very large and in the latter case VERY well-armoured), multiple species of Camelid, multiple species of Pronghorn (rather than just the one that survives today), multiple species of Wild Horse… Also, on the avian side, both Terror-Cranes (predatory flightless birds) and Teratornids (related to Condors, but larger and more predatory, possibly the source of Native American traditions about the ‘Thunderbird’…).

Main Questions
1. Keep my basic presumptions about regional climate, and thus about likely climates here?
2. Continue following my already-used ideas about the basic groups of animals present, although perhaps with “local” [i.e. ‘nation’-based] changes?
3. Were there prehistoric land-bridges to the North-Eastern continent?
4. Were there prehistoric land-bridges to the South-Western continent?
5. Do your people have a name for this continent?
6. Do your people have names for any of the region’s other continents?
7. Is your ‘national animal’ native to at least part of the continent (or to at least one nearby island), introduced there, just symbolic, or what?

The usefulness of a geologically recent land-bridge to the NE continent would obviously be affected by the terrain specified at their ends by relevant lands' current owners (at present Trive in the NW & nobody yet in the NE), but even if they fill their ends of the current gap with mountains there could have been a useful 'shelf' of plains along one or the other side of this -- or even on both sides -- exposed during a period of lower sea-levels.

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