Mmmm interesting question. It’s possible that an awful virus could wipe out a lot of the population but it would no way wipe out everyone, I’m sure there would be some people that would survive. Also, if we use up the Earth’s resources I don’t think everyone would go, we might just have a much smaller population. Same for natural disasters – they don’t effect the whole planet….so unless it was a meteor strike, in which case yes I suppose we could go the same way as the dinosaurs,
Don’t want to seem too downbeat but I think this could happen.
It may be self-inflicted (nuclear war? global warming?) or it could come about naturally (meteor strike? super-volcano?).
It is important to appreciate that, as a species, humans have only been around for about a million years and this is just the blink of a eye in the evolutionary history of life on earth which has been chugging along for 2-3 billion years.
I think I read somewhere that something like 99% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct – not through human activity, I hasten to add. It’s just the result of evolution. So I think we’re going to have to be careful.
Yes, I think so. There are very few organisms (if any) which stay the same forever. Some are adaptable and can withstand big changes in the environment without significant changes. Others are highly adapted to a particular environment and way of life. If the environment changes very suddenly they are vulnerable to extinction. This could be because of new predators or diseases, or because of a change in climate or the availability of food resources. Humans are a very adaptable species, able to live anywhere from the arctic to the equator, even surviving in harsh desert conditions, thick jungle, heavy snow, even going under the sea and into space etc. One important reason is our brains, which support a complex culture and language and allow us to pass on survival tips and information from one generation to the next, to build and make tools and equipment. But we’re not invulnerable and could easily be wiped out by an environmental catastrophe or (perhaps less easily) a new disease. Unfortunately our brains also carry with them the seeds of our own destruction, we’ve used them to invent nuclear weapons (which could kill us all) and we’re now well on the way to creating our own environmental catastrophe through the unsustainable use of fossil fuels and overpopulation. Hopefully our smart brains will save us from ourselves, at least for a few million years.