Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Let's hope our successor species doesn't make the same mistakes.

INTELLIGENT SPECIES' PLACE IN NATURE

Your Presence Is Requested
By Sallie Baliunas 08/12/2002

...What a silly sentiment - that without Homo sapiens, the biosphere would flourish. It contradicts the scientific facts of biology. It suggests that the existence of Homo sapiens is a fluke, separate from nature. But Homo sapiens is as much a part of nature as amoebae or trees. To deny that fact is to deny biology....

Upright-walking, two-legged creatures with increasing thinking capacity blossomed in the last few million years, with Homo sapiens as the latest and brainiest in the group....

The common traits of intelligence, toolmaking and upright, two-legged walking allowed those species to survive better the hazards of nature.

The rich hominid past says two things. First, Homo sapiens, who appeared around 250,000 years ago, will become extinct. Judging from the hominid record, Homo sapiens will give way to something brainier, perhaps in 500,000 years. That is a fact of biology.

Second, should Homo sapiens go extinct before our successor species arrives, within a few million years another very brainy creature would arise to fill the empty environmental niche. The new species' forebear may be the modern chimps. Far from being unneeded, Homo sapiens or an equivalently intelligent species is deemed necessary by nature. That, too, is a fact of biology.