WERE IT NOT FOR

‘were it not for’ + noun phrase expresses that someone or something prevented something from happening.  For example:

Were it not for the cataclysmic events which overtook them,

it’s entirely possible that raptors, rather than humans

would have become the dominant species on this planet.

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C2 point 132 in CLAUSES/conditional is defined as:

‘Were it not for’ + noun phrase to introduce conditions in formal contexts.

*The big corpora do not allow for much detail to be discovered about this string.  But looking through random examples suggests this structure is often used to discuss Darwinian evolution:

  Phys.Org
Were it not for humans, woolly mammoths would have lived for 4,000 more years.