Beijing time on May 25, according tomedia reports, as a species of the earth, human stousan? The simplest answer is: yes. Fossil records show that all living things will eventually become extinct. Almost all of the species that once existed, more than 99.9%, went extinct.
Some species leave off, but most species – such as serpentine, trilobites, thunder dragons, etc. – disappear altogether. The same is true of other human species. Neanderthals, Denisovas, and upright men disappeared, leaving only Homo Sapiens, the one who was thinking about it. Humans are inevitably heading for extinction, and the question is not whether or not, but when.
We often see sensational headlines suggesting that such an extinction is imminent. The threat of land-skiing asteroids is a media favorite, and Mars is often seen as a place for humanity to escape extinction in the future. In addition, the threat of a climate crisis has continued.
Food shortages lead to the rapid extinction of the Tyrannosaurus rex in the cold winter after the asteroid hit Earth
Humans are arguably the most successful species on the planet, but there are weaknesses. As large-scale warm-blooded animals, we are not well able to cope with the ecological upheavalcaused by environmental damage. Smaller warming animals, such as turtles and snakes, can survive for months without food, which is why they survived multiple extinctions. Large animals with faster metabolism, such as tyrannosaurs or humans, need a lot of food and eat frequently. Short-lived food chain disruptions can have a serious impact on these animals after disasters such as volcanic eruptions, global warming, ice age or the “impact winter” of asteroid collisions.
Humans live longer, a generation is longer, and few offspring. Slow reproduction can make it difficult for animals to recover from population collapse, which also slows natural selection and makes it difficult for animals to adapt to rapid environmental changes. This doomed the demise of mammoths, ground laziness, and other giant animals. In addition, these large mammals reproduce too slowly to withstand or adapt to human overhunting.
Thus, humanbeing sits vulnerable, but we have reason to think that we can avoid fighting extinction, which is perhaps unique. Humans are a very strange species, widely distributed, numerous, and extremely easy to adapt to the environment, which suggests that we will stay on Earth for quite some time.
Humans are everywhere, and it’s hard to be wiped out.
First of all, we are really everywhere. When organisms are geographically distributed enough, they can survive better during the interval between catastrophic events, such as asteroid impacts, and mass extinction events. Large geographical range means that a species does not “put all its eggs in one basket”. If one habitat is destroyed, they can go to another habitat to survive.
Smaller polar bears and giant pandas are now on the brink of extinction, while brown bears and red foxes with large ranges of activity are well-off. Humans are the largest geographically distributed of all mammals, spread across all continents, active in distant marine islands, deserts, tundra and rainforests.
We are not only everywhere, but also in large numbers. Humans currently have a population of about 7.8 billion and are one of the most common animals on Earth. We have more biomass than all wild mammals. Even assuming an epidemic or nuclear war wipes out 99 per cent of the population, millions of people can survive and rebuild their homes.
We don’t pick on food either. The species that survived the asteroid impact of the extinct dinosaurs rarely relied on a single source of food. This includes omnivorous mammals, or predators such as alligators and alligators, which eat almost everything. Human food also includes thousands of animals and plants. Depending on the food available, we can be either herbivores or carnivores and, of course, omnivores.
But most of all, we don’t adapt to the environment through DNA, as any other species do, but through acquired behavior, which is culture. Humans are animals, mammals, but we are so weird and special mammals. We are different in the animal world.
Instead of using generations to change our genes, we use intelligence, culture and tools to change our behavior in a few years or even minutes. It took millions of years for the whales to evolve fins, sharp teeth, and sonar. But for thousands of years, humans invented hooks, ships and fish-hunter. Cultural evolution even exceeds the evolution of viruses. Mutations in the virus gene can take several days, but it may take a few seconds to persuade someone to wash their hands.
Cultural evolution is not only faster than genetic evolution, but also has extraordinary significance. For humans, natural selection has created an animal with intelligent design capabilities that, instead of blindly adapting to the environment, consciously reshaped the environment to suit its needs. Horses evolved molars for grinding and complex intestines to adapt to plant-based foods. People domesticate plants, then cut down forests and grow crops. Cheetahs evolve at extremely high speeds, maintaining an advantage in the pursuit of prey, while we keep a lot of cattle and sheep that don’t run.
Our adaptability is so unique that it may even survive a major extinction. If there had been a 10-year warning time before an asteroid hit Earth, humans might have stored enough food to survive the cold and dark years, saving most of the population. Long-term destruction like the Ice Age could also lead to widespread conflict and population collapse, but civilization is likely to remain.
However, this adaptability sometimes makes us our worst enemies because we are too smart. Changing the world sometimes means making the world worse and creating new dangers – nuclear weapons, environmental pollution, overpopulation, climate change, epidemics… So we’re also reducing these risks through nuclear agreements, pollution control, family planning, cheap solar energy, vaccines, and so on, hoping to escape every trap we’ve set.
So far, the picture has been less optimistic.
The interconnected world
Human civilization has also invented ways of supporting each other. People in one part of the world can provide food, money, education and vaccines to vulnerable groups elsewhere. However, connectivity and interdependence can also create vulnerability.
International trade, cross-border tourism and well-developed communications connect people around the world. As a result, Wall Street’s financial gamble could destroy Europe’s economy, violence in one country could trigger extremist feuds on the other side of the globe, and the spread of new viruses could threaten the lives and livelihoods of billions of people.
All this suggests that our optimism is limited. Homo sapiens have been around for more than 250,000 years, through ice ages, volcanic eruptions, epidemics and numerous world wars. As you can imagine, we should easily be able to extend it for another 250,000 years or more.
Of course, pessimistic scenarios may also arise, and we may see natural or man-made disasters leading to the general collapse of social order, even the collapse of civilization and the disappearance of most of the population. It will be a brutal post-apocalyptic world. Even so, it is possible for humans to survive, using the remnants of previous societies as a living material, as shown in the movie Mad Max. We may return to self-sufficient agriculture or even become hunter-gatherers again.
In this way, the threshold for humanity to be free from extinction is very low. Perhaps the question is not whether humans will survive in the next three to three hundred thousand years, but whether we can do more than just live. (Any day)