Friendly cooperation

“A hydrogen bomb is an example of mankind’s enormous capacity for friendly cooperation.  Its  construction requires an intricate network of human teams, all working with single-minded devotion  toward a common goal.  Let us pause and savor the glow of self-congratulation we deserve for belonging to such an intelligent and sociable species.” 
   ~ Robert S. Bigelow, 1969, The Dawn Warriors

If this is true then how have we not only survived, but flourished, while so many other species are long extinct?

Our species has only existed 150,000 years.  That has to be compared to animals comparable in size to us, such as crocodilian species which emerged before the Permain some 350 million years ago.  Then of course this is taken further when we compare life forms such as fungis or prokaryotes.

We humans have lasted less than about half the duration of hominid species.  Neanderthals existed 350,000 years and Homo habilis lasted about 500,000 years and the crowning success was Homo erectus which lived over a million years.  Our species started in South Africa and numbered maybe only a few thousand.  There is one thing which occurred in our evolution that is not often mentioned.  Our species has a different sex cycle from other mammals.  We do not have a sexual seasonal cycle, but rather females are receptive all the time and ovulate monthly.  In effect the reason we “flourished” is that we have lots of sex and as a result we have lots of babies.  By the end of the Pleistocene our species numbered probably 25 million, which is a large number for a species our size and at the top of the food chain.  By the time of the Bronze age we numbered 50 million, the iron age 100 million and by the end of the middle ages 500 million and so forth.  We now number 7 billion and we are consuming this planet in ways far in excess and many orders of magnitude greater than any species in biological history.  Unfortunately we are probably within a century of a complete collapse of our species’ population due to exhaustion of resources and overspending our life support or biological carrying capacity.  In effect we will run out of environment, which in spite of all our technological capabilities we are utterly dependent upon and something we are crushing down.  This might be the extinction of our species in the end.

That in general is not the earmark of a species which is collectively at all intelligent.

Lawrence B. Crowell


About basicrulesoflife

Year 1935. Interests: Contemporary society problems, quality of life, happiness, understanding and changing ourselves - everything based on scientific evidence.
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