Less than 15,000 years ago in an era that scientists refer to as “near time”, humans roamed the earth with megafauna like woolly mammoths, 8 foot long beavers and enormous saber tooth cats. These were creatures our ancestors knew intimately, and in Europe and Asia they made vivid cave paintings of the giant beasts. Then, seemingly all at once, most of the animals disappeared. The ones that survived shrank. Was it climate change? Human hunting? In this awe inspiring book Author Sharon Levy does a thorough job examining all sides of the extinction debate and the people involved in trying to solve the mystery. The answers might hold lessons for preserving today’s large animals, like elephants, tigers, bears, wolves and kangaroos. Since megafauna can have a beneficial impact on the environment, some scientists go as far as promoting “rewilding”, which in the American west would involve reintroducing the ancestors of formerly native Pleistocene animals like lions, elephants and camels. Others want to use the newly decoded woolly mammoth genome to bring them back to life with the help of modern elephants, their closest living cousins. While we may never have lions prowling the Great Plains again, this book is both informative and surprisingly thrilling.