OPEN CALL FOR MAMMUT MAGAZINE #3

Submission Deadline: August 15
Submit to: mammutmag@gmail.com
Anticipated release date: Mid-October, 2009

The first two issues of Mammut focused on various topics related to art and the environment. For our third issue we will focus on megafauna, one of the original inspirations for this magazine, which was named after the extinct American Mastodon or Mammut americanum.

We are looking for essays, artwork and other proposals about megafauna, such as how to co-exist, preserve or even how to define them. We welcome contributions from all fields, while keeping in mind the magazine’s general focus on art and the environment.

In addition, we are working with the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles to cosponsor Megafauna Awareness Day and a subsequent conference, to take place at some point in winter/spring 2010. The publication of this issue will most likely precede the conference and the date for Megafauna Awareness Day, which is yet to be determined.

BACKGROUND

At the end of the last ice age (about 11,000 years ago), humans shared the Americas with a wide variety of megafauna (very large mammals), including mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, giant armadillos and the dire wolf. These animals all went extinct in a relatively short period of time and though the causes are still debated, many agree that human-caused habitat destruction along with hunting caused the extinctions. Now we are facing another wave of extinction caused by human development that affects flora and fauna of all sizes. Ours being the anthropocene (epoch of man) or homogenocene (epoch of diminished and similar ecosystems worldwide) the most likely reality is that we will share the planet with generalist species (like us) in a scenario science writer David Quammen has called “The Planet of the Weeds.” Megafauna—such as elephants, rhinos, hippos, moose, and whales—reproduce slowly and may not make it through the bottleneck of human development without our help.

Some of the earliest art—cave paintings—depicted bison, horses and aurochs, illustrating the interrelated history of humans and other large animals. What can artists and those in creative fields do today about megafauna and the associated habitats they represent? It is our belief that artists have plenty to contribute to this discussion and by working with scientists and politicians, we can all help prevent further habitat destruction and preserve species.

Megafauna Awareness Day, initially proposed by scientist Paul S. Martin in his 2005 book, Twilight of the Mammoths, is necessary because every schoolkid knows about the long-extinct dinosaurs, but not about animals that lived until very recently. To support the inauguration of the Megafauna Awareness Day, we plan on launching a website and hosting a conference in Los Angeles to bring together artists, scientists, museums workers and others interested in the topic of megafauna.

Finally, we acknowledge that it is not just megafauna that are worth preserving. But like the spotted owl controversy in the Pacific Northwest, megafauna are often charismatic emblems of the habitat they  populate. Preserve the megafauna and we preserve the habitat for all.

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