Thursday, September 11, 2014


A Plausible End

Richard Fortey, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind (New York: Vintage Books, 2012), pp. 299-300:
For some reason I am reminded of another animal that is too numerous, that seems to guzzle everything immoderately and may finish up turning on his fellows. D.H. Lawrence nailed him thus (although inspired by rabbits rather than roaches):
There are too many people on earth
insipid, unsalted, rabbity, endlessly hopping.
They nibble the face of the earth to a desert.

Our "endlessly hopping" species is squeezing everything. The extinction event that is happening right now is the first one in history that is the responsibility of a single species. There's no meteorite this time, no exceptional volcanic eruptions, no "Snowball Earth," just us, prospering at the expense of other species. We have not nibbled the face of the Earth to a desert yet, but if our human numbers go on growing it looks like a plausible end.
Related post: Homo sapiens.

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