There is an alternate Earth somewhere in the multiverse, one in which there are three continents, all separated by an interconnected network of seaways that make up only 45% of the planet's surface (translation: 88,605,000 square miles) and average in at less than one mile deep. Other details of this alternate Earth are as follows:

  1. The atmosphere is 370 miles thick, as thick as Titan's and only 70 miles thicker than our Earth's.
  2. Oxygen makes up 32% of the atmosphere, water vapor 0.6% and and carbon dioxide measures in at 400 parts per million.

Now this alternate Earth never had life, which is perfect for the seeds of the question. There are three continents: A West, a North and a South, all divided by the seaways. The North continent measures in at 25% of all the land in this alternate Earth, translated as 27,073,750 square miles, and is basically flat with the exception of the entire subpolar northern coastline being lined up by a mountain range just under two miles above sea level.

In this scenario, some mysterious alien intelligence has snatched off the entire populations of the listed domesticated animals from our world and released them to the North continent:

  • Domestic goat
  • Domestic pig
  • Domestic sheep
  • Taurine cattle
  • Zebu
  • Domestic chicken
  • Domestic donkey
  • Domestic duck
  • Domestic water buffalo
  • Dromedary
  • Domestic horse
  • Domestic goose
  • Domestic swan goose
  • Domestic yak
  • Domestic Bactrian camel
  • Llama
  • Alpaca
  • Bali cattle
  • Gayal
  • Domestic turkey

This next list is of the plants colonized to feed them:

  • Maize
  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Sorghum
  • Millet
  • Oat
  • Triticale
  • Rye
  • Fonio
  • Teff
  • Spelt
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Durum
  • Kamut

The predators seeded to keep their populations in check aren't listed because they're not relevant to the question.

Based on the current population numbers of each of the listed domesticated animals and the specific details on the North continent, would this create an overall stable environment, or would it be better if I divvy this up in thirds? (Further clarification: West makes up 55% of the land, and South 20%.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why so many different types of wheat (wheat, einkorn, emmer, durum, kamut) and no hay, fruits or vegetable plants? Many of the listed animals need more than carbs in their diet $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ @JulianaKarasawaSouza They are grazers, and grazers feed on grass. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 11, 2021 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ all the avians you listed, pigs and goats fall on the category that needs fruit and veg. They'll not survive on grains and grass $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 7:06
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    $\begingroup$ If the alternate Earth never had life, it won't have any significant amount of atmospheric oxygen. At the very least, you need photosynthesizing microorganisms in the oceans. See e.g. the Great Oxygenation Event: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxidation_Event $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


You are missing some important questions.

Will they survive

No, you are are missing all the supporting life, like fungi and pollinators.

If you add all the supporting life will they survive?

Probably, a large continent will have thousand of biomes that they can find, wet places for rice, dry for wheat ect. You are not creating a single ecosystem you are seeding millions of them.

Bonus question: will they stay like they are?

no, they will quickly start adapting to the local environmental conditions, domestic wheat for instance needs human help to to drops seeds effectively so you will see a reversion to the ancestral form quiet quickly. Many domesticated animals are not good at surviving on their own, they will have to change or die out.

Will they form a stable environment

Yes, eventually, it will take a while, millions of years, but it will happen, and they are unlikely to all make it it is even less likely the surviving ones will look familiar afterwards.

  • $\begingroup$ "No, you are are missing all the supporting life, like fungi and pollinators." No, they are merely not relevant to the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey they are super relevant to the question, they are essential to their survival. and will be in competition with them from day one. ecology is not something you can leave parts out of and get an accurate answer. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ No, they are not, because the question just focuses on just them, not the whole picture. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey thats not how ecology works, it is impossibly to say what will survive in an ecosystem without knowing everything in the ecosystem, it is hard enough even when you do know. Its like asking is person X can survive if you drop them in a human society, without knowing which society it is not answerable. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for recognizing the importance of all the other parts of the ecosystem. Though the importance of nitrogen-fixing bacteria has long been known, the importance of other rhizotomous microorganisms is, like the human microbiome, only beginning to be appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 4:26

It'll fit.


Globally agricultural land area is approximately five billion hectares, or 38 percent of the global land surface. About one-third of this is used as cropland, while the remaining two-thirds consist of meadows and pastures) for grazing livestock.

You have 27,073,750 * 259 = hectares available. You need So it will fit.

Some things to keep in mind when colonising.

Plants need bacteria and fungi to properly function. Ground rock is not fertile enough for those crops to grow in. All the ground would need to be treated with pioneer species of bacteria and moss. Before some hardy plants can start to grow. after those have laid down a layer of humus then you can introduce your grains. After those have taken root across most of the continent can you introduce the animals.

Some animals you have listed will need more than just the grains you are providing. plenty of these animals need some shelter from rain and the sun. Cows get sick and die from to much grains in their diet. Horses have no limit to how much they are willing to eat and die because of it. Pigs are most similar to humans in that they would need bits of everything (fruit grains and vegetables). I am sure that there would be more problems like this.

  • $\begingroup$ worth noting feral horse don't have the eating problem so it may only be a problem with human farmed food for them. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 23:58

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