Mann concludes that Indians were a "keystone species," one that "affects the survival and abundance of many other species." By the time the Europeans arrived and settled in the Americas, the "boss" (Indians) had been almost completely eliminated. Disease ran rampant and killed off the Indians, disrupting their control of the environment. When Indians died, animal populations, such as that of the buffalo grew immensely. "Because they (Europeans) did not burn the land with the same skill and frequency as its previous occupants, the forests grew thicker." The world discovered by Christopher Columbus was “largely an inadvertent European creation.”

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