When Will Humans Go Extinct?

Interestingly enough there are many people who feel the best thing for the planet is the extinction of humans. How likely is this to happen?

99.9% of all life that has ever lived on this planet is extinct, yet for some reason humans feel that humanity is somehow special and immune to extinction. Since most species go extinct within 10 million years, it is likely the same will happen to humans. One exception to this is when species are killed before their time due to an extinction event such as an ice age, or when a giant meteor smashes into the earth as is believe to have resulted in the mass extinction of many of the dinosaurs.

The United Nations has even warned that next to nuclear threat the one biggest risk to continued human existence is some of the problems we have caused by our own success, naming human overpopulation as the second biggest risk to our continued existence.

For the sake of keeping this site short, we will only list some of the suggested human caused reasons for our own extinction, should it occur. Thereby ignoring things such as the sun becoming a red giant in 5 billion years, or sudden volcanic activity.

Image via Wikipedia, the third world? No, this is water pollution in California.

Our Risks

  • As we move around freely on the planet we carry diseases that may one day get out of hand and be our demise.
  • As we insist on using pesticides to kill insects, will we one day reduce the honeybee and/or ant population levels so much that they cannot recover? Many people fail to realize that we depend on bees and ants to pollinate plant species we, or our food animals, rely on. Most scientists agree that humans will not more than 5 years without bees, or ants.
  • A scientific accident could spiral out of control and kill us, or our food supplies. Such things could involve chemicals escaping, nanotechnology running amok, or the accidental creation of a black hole.
  • Overpopulation means more resources are consumed, cities grow, farm land becomes more scarce. The demands could put countries at war for resources.
  • Global warming as a result of human activity and encouraged by population growth makes the planet unsurvivable to humans, or a common food source.
  • Again the result of global warming through overpopulation, we can expect to see sea levels rise, displacing people and creating food shortages like we have never seen. Many areas where food is now grown will be underwater.
  • Pollution causes catastrophic changes that we cannot overcome. Most likely this would be air, or water pollution, but pollution of the soil is a real threat as well.
  • Infertility as the result of chemical use could lead to tragic results. Although many movies (including The Children of Men) have addressed this concern, it must not be assumed that it is humans who would become infertile, it could be cattle, or worse, some type of plant.
  • Global warming, again brought about though human activity, and increased by over population, will cause catastrophic problems in our oceans. As coral reefs die so will many fish who depend on them, and too will other species dependent on those ones, we will see a huge loss of marine life, this means a loss of everything we eat that comes from the sea.
  • A dumbing of the gene pool. Humans are one of the few species who allow their weak members to reproduce. Weak genes lower a species tolerance to diseases on the whole as well as lower its ability to survive. Although this will probably not result in a mass extinction it could be viewed as a contributing factor.
  • Development of terminator seeds (GMOs) could result in an environmental disaster if somehow this leaps into other crops and they would no longer produce any seeds.
  • Voluntary Human Extinction is not likely to occur although some groups are promoting it. This is a planned program for people to simply not reproduce at all. In theory if enough people subscribed to the program a more sustainable planet could be attained.
  • Our own inventions kill us. Basically a scenario offered by science fiction, whereby robots kill humans, could come true if we are not careful.
  • Or….

We could evolve. Chances are pretty good that our own success, and overpopulation, will do us in. But perhaps before it does a few people will be born with an genetic ability that gives them advantages in the future that the rest of us will not have. Thus those new beings will thrive in a future that is hostile to the rest. The ability to survive on less food, particularly less meat, is probably a survival skill that will be most advantageous to have. A smaller size, enabling the species to reduce housing sizes, thus consuming less, may be another advantage. The ability to deal naturally with climate extremes as brought about through global warming is another factor that may come into play for an evolutionary change. This new species might recognize that humans would be a threat to the health of the planet, and could launch a war against them.

If this new species were to control its intelligence, or be slightly less intelligent, they might not replicate the environmental damage done by humans, and thus would not be the cause of their own downfall.

The Irony being that if a new species did evolve (and kill all humans) this may be the best hope for anyone who believes in immortality through our genes. It would at least mean some traces of humanity would continue, where as most other (human caused) scenarios could wipe out human genetics completely.

Sure most of this is Alarmist type stuff, but remember, even the United Nations themselves has been saying for many years that the biggest threat to continued human existence is ourselves. In the 1990’s they placed nuclear threat as the number one concern, human overpopulation as the second concern. Warning that our population of over 7 Billion people is already causing world problems, and that a more sustainable level would be 5 Billion people.

According to previous extinction patterns humans have a few million more years on the planet, if we do not manage to destroy it or ourselves first. Unfortunately we have been responsible for the extinction of thousands (if not millions) of other animals already, when will we realize that we are not immune.

Read More:

The Holocene Extinction

How Humans Destroyed an Entire Sea

Solving the Biggest Problem in the World Today

News from the United Nations

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46 Responses to “When Will Humans Go Extinct?”
  1. ken bultman Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 11:31 am

    You have put a lot of thought into this article and there’s no question the human race will disappear. I don’t think war will be the cause but one of your suggestions will probably be correct. The bee thing has me very concerned.

  2. writing4angels Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Great article pointing about the extinction of human beings. Of course when other animals can go extinct humans can too. Well but I feel that extinction may not be even natural as:

    -When the natural resources starts going extinct on the earth we have to try and invent some new ways but the increasing population will not let the things settle down.
    -This may result into wars for the resources (already it has begun with oil resources invation) and most of the people will die at that time.
    -Perhaps like extinction mutation may go further in human beings to adapt to the environment and for e.g. one ear, small height etc. may be the result of less resources and nutrition. :)

    But, you have really made a good point out here and it is can be discussed forever if one needs to.

  3. Petalm Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Good writing.

  4. lindalulu Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Nice article on a huge subject.

  5. Mark Gordon Brown Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I think humans of the next century will be greatly different than the present day. I believe this change will start taking place in the next few years. By 2190 humans as we know them will be extinct with the exception of those taking part in life extension programs that are alive today or about to be concieved.

  6. Sourav Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Nobody knows the answer. But you’ve raised some very interesting points here. Nice reading.

  7. lillyrose Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    A really interesting read, you have put a lot into this. We are all concerned about our future and the damage that has already been done, we are not immortal and will not live forever. Every time a world disaster happens it is culling humans.

    The rate of human disease is rising once again, if its not all the random flu bugs that get our numbers lower it will be it will be some war or disaster we start.

    We shouldn’t let ourselves live until we are very old, we are too healthy. I don’t want to live forever.

    I was very taken by some of the points you put across, it is a very worrying time but people keep telling me its all going to change when we get to 2012.

    Its every man for himself.

  8. deep blue Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Mass extinction is nothing more than deep sleep. Haven’t I elaborated about ghosting around? If the 2012 prophecy is true that leaves us 3 years to go. A well thought article Brenda.

  9. Lostash Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Interesting stuff! I don’t think that we as a species will be wiped out, unless it happens in the near future. We will spread out from this planet one day, and cause more chaos through the galaxy I’m sure!

  10. Jenny Heart Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 7:05 pm


  11. coffeeadict Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Yes, we should take better care of mother earth and all the natural resources, that’s what gives us a chance to live…

  12. Littlekid137 Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Great points, although I do not think that Global Warming is all that true:


  13. chris73 Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    “The human race was dying out
    No one left to scream and shout.
    People walking on the moon
    Smog will get you pretty soon.
    Everyone was hanging out
    Hanging up and hanging down
    Hanging in and holding fast
    Hope our little world will last.”

    Ship Of Fools-The Doors

  14. mo hoyal Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    This was a very interesting article, B. I’ve been reading up since Y2K and it’s only gotten worse. I now have friends who send me material on just about a weekly basis and there is a lot to be said about those who have been putting things up for years. As an optimist, I hope none of these things will come to pass, however, man continues to shint in his nest!
    Very good read!

  15. Snooky Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I do not believe tat humans will go extinct. We were created in the image and sustained by the breath of God who, will nwver be extinct. But I do believe we will go through some major pysical changes and maybe even planet changes eventually.
    Your article is abundant with food for thought and subjects for future writing. I appaud you!

  16. Kira Bursky Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Amazing article. I love all the thought put into it. :) Keep it up!! :)

  17. Brenda Nelson Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Of course we can only raise more questions and offer no answers.. since no matter what we think, we really do not know the answer.

  18. deklin42 Says...

    On October 25, 2009 at 11:43 pm


  19. athena goodlight Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 12:16 am

    If not, then perhaps mutation could be possible… X-men possibility…?

  20. martinpm Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 4:27 am

    nice reading. i guess some day!!!!

  21. papaleng Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 6:05 am

    A fascinating read that keeps me wondering and pondering when will that day be..

  22. jioges Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I think we will all fly to space and inhabit Mars.

  23. Uma Shankari Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Very interesting discussion. Hope mankind wouldn’t be so foolish enough as to axe their own head.

  24. randon Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Our own inventions killing us… Terminator? Never know what the future may bring!

  25. Blade619 Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I reckon we’ll have killed ourselves within 2000 years… infact I’d put the entire financial wealth I amass in my lifetime on it. I’m intrigued as to why you put the thing about us allowing our weaker elements to reproduce… that’s a bold step, a very bold step.

    A thougherly enjoayble read… I look forward to your next hot content :)

  26. Leonardo da Vinci E. Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Even if human beings encountered a catastrophy and did not survive, its probable that life on a microscopic level will, and that’s life left in the hands of evolution. To survive we must quickly master all aspects of physics and space travel. We must be careful to become Star trek and not become Star Wars. And that’s what the United Nations (Oops, I mean The Federation) is all about.

  27. fishfry aka Elizabeth Figueroa Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Totally awesome article, infact we will destroy ourselves, not only because it says so in the Bible; but man is getting to brave, thinking nothing can hold us back. Someone will soon get their hands on the mean to destroy us all, they will be fanatics that don’t care about the future; and thus it shall be. If not human extinction, it will change the way we live, or have lived for a very long time.

  28. MysticFire Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    This is a very nice article.
    It is said that this world will end on 21st December 2012, there are 7 reasons. No one knows which one is true and which one is not.
    But 2 or 3 of those reasons are likely to be true.

  29. LilRoastBeef Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    This was really good. As for humans being extinct…all things must come to an end.

  30. Bailey Thompson Says...

    On October 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Amazing article – you’ve put a lot of research into it and it’s definitely an important thing to think about. If we did go extinct, by the looks of it it would be entirely our fault. Gives more the reason to put a little more thought into what we’re going…
    Loved the artice – great job!

  31. Jane Jane Says...

    On October 27, 2009 at 9:42 am

    a real thought provoking piece.

  32. James Says...

    On October 27, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    You lost me at the moronic bees statement. There are are variety of grains and vegetables that do not require pollination by bees or anything else. Losing bees would be horrible but it wouldn’t kill us in five years or five thousand.

  33. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On October 27, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I believe we are always evolving albeit at a very slow pace. Look back at pictures of people a hundred years ago. We are so much different and I don’t mean only the dress style.

  34. Brenda Nelson Says...

    On October 30, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    to James
    Honey Bees pollinate plants such as apple trees, pear trees, etc.. but more importantly they pollinate alfalfa and other legumes. we need those dont we? okay suppose cattle died off (because of no alfalfa) then we could eat soy beans right.. oh but wait.. who would pollinate soy beans? good luck haivng 7 billion people eating rice – where are you going to grow that much rice, it doesnt grow everywhere.
    I am not the first person to mention bees being so important, scientists have said this for years.

  35. norbert roth Says...

    On August 28, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Humans are to stupid to survive as we we are the slaves of our senses and its grativication of them is to be conquerd by getting the ballance point. To be spiritually! . Indeed our ego is fueling selfishness by overpopulating, overconsuming and using the wrong cheapest quick fix technology to keep us going till resources running out and the ensuing conflict by getting ones share is fueling the nucliar conflict as starvation is the other choice. We are not recognising our divine conectivness with all biologicall life and are pushed out off existance like a cancer. We are anti live in many of our activeties, we know about it but are helpless to unilaterally change our habits for being creatures of comfort can not get out of our addiction to it thus death on mass is natures way to lead us speedingly into extinction. Life is the oportunety to transform and it is very pressuress! Lets worship every moment.

  36. Brock Says...

    On December 6, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Lady…You\’re a freakin crackhead.

  37. Rhys Says...

    On March 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    All the species that have lived before us, lacked a think called intelligence… We haven’t been round for long, but we have done so much Incredible things already! (some bad) If we can find safe ways on lowering the birth rate and become one country with one goal… We will have a big chance to survive after the death of our beautiful earth! But what ever happens we will be long gone before the worst of it ;)

    Saturn’s moon may be perfect for us when are sun becomes a giant…

    Peace out people x

  38. Judy Says...

    On September 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    How could there be over population when fewer people are having children now more than ever before! In fact there aren’t enough working population to support the baby boomers in the US and there are no longer any original Europeans left! Japan and China are asking for workers from the US to come over to their countries to work because their birth rate is so low that they don’t have enough young people to work. More woman are working now than ever before and choosing not to have children. Well, I agree with you about humans becoming extinct but sooner than later. I don’t think that the human race will last much longer than 200 years if that. I think that the rumor that over population is partly to blame is designed by some type of evil force to make us go extinct even sooner. It is not over population but over consumption of luxury items from the richest countries.

  39. Brenda Nelson Says...

    On September 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Judy it is true we are over consuming but our longer lifespan is the biggest problem in contribution to over population.
    If you stop to think that the earths population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and look at how many more houses there are now than 30 years ago you see how we are consuming more simply by living longer.
    More people are born every day than are dying so the problem exists, and unless we want to control our lifespan the best thing is to control birth rate

  40. barry Says...

    On October 29, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Hmmm on the global warming issue this is for non believers, just take two clear containers and leave one with air that you are now breathing, the second one add double the amount of carbon dioxide, put thermometers in both and let stand in direct sunlight. In a very short time you will find the container with more carbon dioxide with rise in temperature. I dont see why anyone finds (climate change) difficult to understand,well that is unless you are a religious republican, then I can fully understand your ignorance. On the extinction of the human race, it is a sad thing that one cause of our extinction will be the type that dont understand climate change, they doubt anything science tells them and await the rapture. if only our race could come together and work together (never happen) and take the few ways we have to make our race become a either a space faring civilization or one that takes population seriously and starts to do something about it now. If population could be reduced to something like 4 billion then it may be possible to live on this world untill something in the far future does get us. We are a species who some of us have become sentient and because of this we have the ability that so far no other speicies has come to have,(that we know of ) Our only chance of becoming a truely long lived race is to leave this world, and if we started now while we have the natural recources we may be able to pull it off. If only all of us had that spark that desire that longing to continually better ourselve through knowledge, and work toward the goal of our race lasting through the billions of years that sentience has given us the one chance to achieve. But humans will do what humans always do and that is learn the hard way, we will let everything go untill its to late to fix the error, and then our ancestors we be cursing us till thier extiction.

  41. Jack Says...

    On February 10, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Hello, i am a freshman is high school. I plan to run for the presidency in the near future so i can combat climate change.

  42. henri Says...

    On March 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    SPACESHIP EARTH we are our only enemies

  43. nature wallpaper download Says...

    On August 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Our only chance of becoming a truely long lived race is to leave this world, and if we started now while we have the natural recources we may be able to pull it off. If only all of us had that spark that desire that longing to continually better ourselve through knowledge, and work toward the goal of our race lasting through the billions of years that sentience has given us the one chance to achieve. But humans will do what humans always do and that is learn the hard way, we will let everything go untill its to late to fix the error, and then our ancestors we be cursing us till thier extiction.

  44. Kwejk Says...

    On August 30, 2012 at 8:38 am

    The question is why planet is more important than humans? ;)

  45. Brenda Nelson Says...

    On August 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    No Planet = no humans.. or other species… I think it is rather vain of us to think we are so important.

  46. Papua New Guinea News Says...

    On March 15, 2013 at 3:40 am

    I personally agree with it. Even, What is notice within past few weeks is, Birds are also gone due to more mobile towers. So, we should take some strong steps. Otherwise, It may be too late for us.

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