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By about 10,000 years ago, nearly 100 species of large animals had been recently driven to extinction around the globe.

Can you decipher this structure of the above sentence? I guess it can be rephrased as "Nearly 100 species of large animals which have been existed from 10,000 years ago, had been recently driven to extinction around the globe." Correct?

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Saying

Nearly 100 species of large animals which have been existed from 10,000 years ago, had been recently driven to extinction around the globe.

would be interpreted by me to be saying

from 10,000 years ago to the present day, 100 species of large animal have been driven to extinction.

Paraphrasing the sentence

By about 10,000 years ago, nearly 100 species of large animals had been recently driven to extinction around the globe.

can be done in different ways depending on what precedes the sentence.

Breaking the sentence up, you have a what, where and when statement. You have the what part of the sentence in the middle (100 species of large animals were driven to extinction), the first part says when and the the last part says where (around the globe).

Without any linked preceding sentences, the what and where parts are definitive as there is no ambiguity because there is nothing which can be done to change the context without changing what was said; whereas the when part is not definitive except the fact that we have a cut-off point (about 10,000 years ago).

As it stands from your question, the sentence can be paraphrased by saying

Nearly 100 species of large animals had been driven to extinction around the globe, between an undetermined point in time and about 10,000 years ago.

If there was a linked preceding sentence, which when combined with your sentence it stated:

From around 150,000 years ago, large animals started to die. By about 10,000 years ago, nearly 100 species of large animals had been recently driven to extinction around the globe.

Then you could paraphrase by saying:

"Nearly 100 species of large animals had been driven to extinction around the globe, between around 150,000 years ago and about 10,000 years ago.

| improve this answer | |
  • It's not a completely undetermined point in time; it's "recent". Admittedly in geological terms a million years might be seen as recent, but in the context of talking of 10,000 years I think we can reasonably infer a shorter period. – djna May 6 '18 at 9:25
  • Your first quote doesn't match the question. Was there an edit I'm not seeing? Or were you re-writing? – miltonaut Feb 11 '19 at 6:31
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I don't think your interpretation is correct.

We need to understand what recently means in this context.

The key structure is this

By about 10,000 years ago XXX had been recently YYY

So we consider a moment in the past, approximately 10,000 years ago; recently is relative to that point in time.

So, the species of animals had become extinct recently relative to that time, more or less 10,000 years ago.

There is no statement here about how long those species had been extant.

| improve this answer | |
  • The sentence states that the species of animals became extinct about 10,000 years ago. It could be a little more than 10,000 years ago or it could be a little less. – Chris Rogers May 6 '18 at 7:53
  • Agreed that "about" implies what you say. – djna May 6 '18 at 9:23

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