Here's how I see it:
Judging by the way Robert Howard "presents" the world of Conan, it seems fair to say that the flora and fauna is predominantly modern. Sure, it takes place in 10,000 B.C. (or 12,000 B.C. or 15,000 B.C., depending on who you ask), but R.E.H. never really explicitly mentions things like woolly mammoths or giant ground sloths as being "normal" animals in the Hyborian Age. That doesn't mean they weren't in the background, but still, you'd think R.E.H. would've name-dropped a few Pleistocene beasts more often if they were at all common. The saber-toothed tiger in "Beyond The Black River" is considered a monstrous brute from another age; no Hyborian hunter had seen one in thousands of years. But even so, the Hyborian Age DOES take place in a bygone age, so I think it's fair to say that mammoths, mastodons, woolly rhinos, etc. aren't out of place in Conan's era, just as long as they aren't too common. They're exotic, maybe even endangered, but not extinct just yet.
Now, the Pre-Cataclysmic Age might be a bit different. This is an even earlier time than the Hyborian Age, and according to The Hyborian Age essay, it is even less populated and mapped than Conan's world. The ratio of "normal" to "prehistoric" animals might be different, maybe even reversed. If the Hyborian Age is dominated by modern fauna with a few mammoths and megaloceros elk running around, is it possible that the Pre-Cataclysmic Age might be a bit more "prehistoric"? I like to think that the status of these animals is one step better than in the Hyborian Age: in Conan's time, mammoths are rare, saber-tooths are nightmarish denizens of the forgotten wilderness, and the great reptilian behemoths can be brought back only through sorcery, whereas in Kull's time the mammoths are ubiquitous, saber-tooths are merely exotic, and the giant reptiles... Well, R.E.H. did describe the southern jungles as "reptile-haunted", so who knows?
And back in the age of Mu, we were in Ralph Bakshi's "Fire and Ice" territory.
What do you guys think?
GozerMember Since 03 Sep 2005
Offline Last Active Aug 10 2010 09:41 AM