Open thread for night owls: Millions of years needed for mammals to recover from one of their kind
Ed Yong at The Atlantic writes—It Will Take Millions of Years for Mammals to Recover From Us. In less than 130,000 years, humans have sawed off the most evolutionarily distinct branches from our family tree:
The story of mammals is one of self-destruction. They first arose roughly 200 million years ago, and after eons spent scurrying in the shadow of the dinosaurs, they finally cut loose and evolved into a breathtaking variety of shapes and sizes, including the largest creatures to ever exist. And after all that, it took barely 100,000 years for one relatively young member of the group—us—to bring everything crashing down.
Throughout our existence, humans and other hominins have hunted other mammals, first for meat, and then for pelts, trophies, trade, and more. Since the last Ice Age, more than 300 species have gone extinct, including mammoths, woolly rhinos, and thylacines. A quarter of the remaining 5,500 species are endangered, thanks to one species: us.
A sobering new study by Matt Davis at Aarhus University throws these losses into stark relief. He estimated how long it would take for mammals to evolve enough new species to replace the ones that we have eradicated. And his most realistic answer is somewhere from 3 million to 7 million years. That’s at least 10 times as long as we have even existed as a species. We have inflicted such grievous wounds on our own family tree that the healing process can’t possibly happen “on any kind of time scale that’s relevant to humans,” Davis says.
TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES
“An Indian is an Indian regardless of the degree of Indian blood or which little government card they do or do not possess.”
~~Wilma Mankiller, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation (1985-1995)
TWEET OF THE DAY
xWarren clearly took the DNA test to prove Trump & his cult wrong. If I were her, I would not have taken it. I learned long ago there is no talking to these people. They have blind allegiance for Trump. Now they will say her test results are not enough.— Ruth H. Hopkins (@RuthHHopkins) October 15, 2018
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2008—Post debate thoughts:
In Isaac Asimov's 1955 book «Franchise», a supercomputer chooses a «voter of the year» to decide the fate of the election. Then, that person answers a series of questions which the computer uses to decide the results of the election.
Joe Sixpack thought he had hit the jackpot, but unfortunately for him, the fictional «Joe the Plumber» got the gig.
Or at least, that's what I learned from John McCain, in between his angry outbursts and snorting.
On substance, I actually thought McCain had his best performance thus far, when not distracting with his weird facial expressions and snorting. But still, Obama is on another level altogether. Perhaps if Romney or Giuliani was the nominee these would be fairer contests, but it's not even close. And while McCain seemed better prepared than in the previous debates, tonight was also the wingnuttiest McCain has looked all campaign. All the veneer of being a moderate was stripped away as he derisively tossed aside the notion of «health of the mother». The notion was a insult to his sensibilities!
Not that it matters. There was nothing here tonight that would change minds. Given that Obama has already broken 50 percent nationally and in the key battleground states, and that significant percentage of voters have already cast their early votes, McCain needed to radically transform the shape of the race. That means a homerun performance coupled with an Obama collapse. Neither happened.
LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin reminds us there's an election coming. Trump hands the Middle East to Jared, and the Sauds are killing people like it's free. Republicans pine for the segregated days of yore, back before politics was invented. Boom! History-ed!
RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)