Monday, October 6, 2008

Homo funestus — The End of Life on Earth

One quarter of all mammalian species on Earth face extinction. One quarter.

So it's an overstatement to say humans are destroying all life on Earth — so far. Still, the narcissistic Homo sapiens may be interested to learn that it is on the endangered list. The BBC has the story on endangered mammals.

My own view for some time has been that Homo sapiens would be better named Homo funestus or Homo fatalis.

We are a modern equivalent of the sabre tooth cat. Our massive brains are the product of competing and incompatible selective pressures. On one hand, a brain well-suited to problem solving, tool creation, etc., serves well to advance the survival of an organism — us — that is otherwise quite ill-adapted — weak, slow, poor vision, poor hearing, poor olfaction, easily hunted. . . .

But, as the history of the past two or three thousand years makes clear, this large brain has also enabled a war-like self-destructiveness. No other species so rapidly annihilates not just one habitat but all of them.

See also

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