If Humans Went Extinct, Would a Similar Species Evolve?

Rate this post

The rise of powerful new technologies means that humanity must face the risk of its own demise. The invention of nuclear weaponry, for example, has already shown how quickly humanity’s destructive power could grow. The atomic bomb was a thousand times more powerful than conventional explosives; many hydrogen bombs became a thousand times more powerful again. Within decades, the US and the USSR had between them created more than ten thousand nuclear bombs. The next generation of weapons of mass destruction, such as bioweapons by engineered viruses, could once again dramatically increase humanity’s destructive power, to the point where all-out war could threaten all human life.

Yes A wise man if it went extinct, what would that mean from a cosmic perspective? Would some other species evolve to become technologically capable and discover science, create art, and build civilization in our place? Ultimately, I don’t think this is guaranteed at all. The end of A wise man so it wouldn’t just be an unimaginable loss our perspective; it would fundamentally change the history of the universe.

It took humans 200 million years to evolve from early mammals. The last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees was alive only 8 million years ago, and there are still hundreds of millions of years (at least) until the sun’s increased brightness makes the earth uninhabitable for to human-sized animals. With that in mind, you might think that, yes Homo sapiensbecame extinct and chimpanzees survived, a technologically capable species should be able to evolve from chimpanzees, such as planet of the apes in 8 million years or less. Likewise, as long as some mammals survive, even if all primates go extinct, shouldn’t we expect a technologically capable species to evolve in about 200 million years? That’s a long time, but it’s still short enough for this evolution to occur before the earth is no longer habitable.

This argument is too fast. We don’t know how unlikely the major evolutionary transitions were, and some of them, including potentially the evolution of a technologically capable species, were very unlikely.

This reasoning is based on Fermi’s paradox: the paradox that even though there are at least hundreds of millions of rocky habitable zone planets in the galaxy, and even though our galaxy is 13.5 billion years old, enough time because an interstellar civilization spread widely throughout it; we see no evidence of extraterrestrial life. If the galaxy is so vast and so ancient, why isn’t it full of aliens?

One answer is that something about our evolutionary history was exceptionally unlikely to happen. Perhaps life-friendly planets are in fact extremely rare (perhaps they need to be in a safe area of ​​the galaxy, with plate tectonics, a large moon, and the right chemical composition), or certain steps along the way from the formation of the earth 4.5 billion years ago in the evolution of A wise man they were extraordinarily infrequent. Potentially improbable steps include the creation of the first replicators from inorganic matter, the evolution of simple cells into complex cells with a nucleus and mitochondria (called “eukaryotes”), the evolution of sexual reproduction, and possibly , even the evolution of a species, like now A wise man, which differs from other primates by virtue of being unusually intelligent, hyper-cooperative, culturally evolving, and capable of speech and language. Recent research by my colleagues at the Future of Humanity Institute suggests that once we properly account for our uncertainty about how improbable these evolutionary transitions might be, it’s actually not that surprising that the universe is empty, even though it’s so vast

Source link

Leave a Comment