50,000 years following the introduction of life sees something close to a balanced ecosystem begin to develop on Hearth with predatory dogs beginning to more effectively limit populations of sheep from spreading unhindered, though the descendants of the cows first introduced still need not fear predators in anything other than the very earliest point of their life. Cows and sheep, and therefore dogs, continue to flourish everywhere the wide-open grasslands, which still make up much of Hearth’s environment, exist. Both sheep and cows exploit these grasslands efficiently, partaking in different types of grass and eating in different ways, allowing both to survive and thrive in a world devoid, still, of more intense competition.
The spread of some plants drive the first big changes for Hearth, with larger environmental and evolutionary changes still being far on the horizon. Apple trees, as the only trees introduced to Hearth, represent an opportunity for forests to establish themselves, and they are aided in this by animals like pigs, who eagerly scoop fallen apples from the forest floor and carry the seeds elsewhere, allowing these trees to gain an ever-greater foothold in this brand-new environment. Though relatively young, these forests already provide homes for ahuge number of animals and plants – one such species being the pigs, whose young are far more dependent on their parents and can better survive by being hidden away in nests, protected by the undergrowth of the forests their ancestors helped spread.
The fish of Hearth are experiencing a population boom. The rivers and lakes of the planet are teeming with food, with some hardier goldfish even braving the brackish water of estuaries and, increasingly, the saltwater of the oceans for short times. This mimics the ability for invasive goldfish to survive saltwater on Earth, with the descendants of these goldfish destined one day to become truly adapted to life in saltwater. At present, the lack of natural predators and the abundance of food in the form of the seemingly endless supplies of insect larvae and algae allow these fish to grow to truly tremendous sizes, a far cry from the tiny, elegant fish first introduced here.
The world is poised for greater change. Persistent evolutionary change is slow, and reliant on consistent pressure to drive it in a way that allows new species and behaviors to develop. Any changes that have occurred here are responses to selective pressure in the short term, and it will take far longer to see the life on this planet take on truly strange and novel shapes.