In our two hundred thousand years on this planet, homo sapiens have drastically changed the face of earth. We consume, we build and we kill in the process. But have you ever wondered just how much humans have affected planet earth?
Firstly, let’s look at what animals would still be around if humans had never existed.
According to a study published in the journal Diversity and Distributions, mammal diversity in Europe would have look much like the diversity we see today in sub-saharan Africa, particularly the region known as the Serengeti. The Serengeti is located in northern Tanzania and reaches all the way to south western Kenya. There remains vast animal faunas in this area of Africa because there are protected areas there. If it weren’t for modern humans many of the animals you would see on a safari in Africa would be present in Europe as well. There might very well be elephants and rhinos roaming around Italy. And of course, animals like the do do bird, the tazmanian tiger and the wooly mammoth, specifically might be around still if it weren’t for humans. At the end of the pliestocene era, there was a dramatic shift in climate on earth. This was known as the Ice age. But most experts believe that this shift would not have been enough to kill off these large mammals all by itself. Humans are mostly to blame…
Yes, Europe would have giant sloths, herds of wild horses, bears, safer toothed cats and mastodons. Europe is not the only place that would have a wide variety of animals. Brazil, argentina and texas would as well. There would be gigantic ground sloths running around north America.
If it weren’t for humans, north and south America would be even more biologically diverse than Africa. Essentially, without us, the earth would be like one gigantic zoo. Furthermore, most experts agree that homo sapiens actually wiped out our cousins, Neandterhals.
If humans had never existed, Neanderthals might have taken their place. Neanderthals, despite their bad rep, were not the brutish caveman we’re familiar with thats pertuated in the media. Neaderthals were actually quite intelligent. The exact reason why Neanderthals went extinct is still debated, but generally the two main hypothesis for their disappearance is humans wiped them out, and we began interbreeding. So without humans, Neanderthals might have been the dominant species on planet earth. Maybe they would have gone on to form complex civilizations and cultures.
Now, lets look at environment.
If humans had never existed there would be a heck of a lot more trees. 3 to 6 billion trees are cut down every year. The amazon rainforest would be a lot more lush than it is now. Almost 80 percent of the earth has been changed by humans. If we never existed, there would be a lot less garbage, no buildings or infrastructure, no pollution , no hole in the ozone layer and the great barrier reef would still be in tact. Of course, humans aren’t the only force that drives climate change. The climate has changed many times over the course of the history of our planet. But human influence is driving the climate change we are currently seeing. If we don’t change our ways, and change them soon, future generations will not get to experience the majesty of the great barrier reef, the dead sea or the amazon rainforest. Many experts believe that in our lifetimes, the oceans will be almost completely devoid of life. Coastlines will move inward because of rising temperatures and melting ice caps. Definitely something to think about.
What do you think the world would be like if humans never existed?