Science & Tech

Scientist believes that humans are definitely heading for extinction

Scientist believes that humans are definitely heading for extinction
Extinction Rebellion activists glue themselves to speaker's chair in House of Commons
Extinction Rebellion

Human beings are steadily heading towards extinction and may “already be a dead species walking”, according to a scientist.

Writing an opinion piece in Scientific American, palaeontologist and editor of the Nature journal Henry Gee argued that by the end of the century the global population could start declining as we head towards “extinction”.

Gee wrote: “I suspect that the human population is set not just for shrinkage but collapse — and soon.”

But, unlike some dinosaur species that went extinct due to a massive global event, the extinction of human beings, Gee suggests, will be a much slower phenomenon.

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The palaeontologist argued that issues such as falling birth rates, lack of genetic variation, pollution, and stress caused by living in overcrowded cities are leading to the inevitable decline of our species.

He explained: “The most insidious threat to humankind is something called 'extinction debt’. There comes a time in the progress of any species, even ones that seem to be thriving, when extinction will be inevitable, no matter what they might do to avert it.”

“The cause of extinction is usually a delayed reaction to habitat loss. The species most at risk are those that dominate particular habitat patches at the expense of others, who tend to migrate elsewhere, and are therefore spread more thinly.

“Humans occupy more or less the whole planet, and with our sequestration of a large wedge of the productivity of this planetwide habitat patch, we are dominant within it. H. sapiens might therefore already be a dead species walking.”

Gee suggested that our population will end in complete collapse, not simply shrinking and ominously claimed, “the signs are already there for those willing to see them”.

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