The other day I read in a magazine that there are thousands of different species of animals, fishes, insects and plants in the world. Many plants for instance that we refer to with one name; like mushrooms, have in fact many numerous species of the same plant.
Apparently, new species are being discover all the time. And many are also dying out or becoming extinct.
This set me thinking. How are we, humans, being affected when a certain species becomes extinct, and is no longer there?
We often see on TV programs of people doing good works trying to save certain animals who are endangered species. The panda for instance. He is particularly reluctant to reproduce, and eats only bamboo which is not very nutritious anyway. Offer him a pizza or a KFC and he'll turn it down. Introduce him to a beautifully sexy female panda and he'll just chew on a bamboo stick instead.
What if ... what if ... there were no more pandas in the world. Would we be any the poorer? Or if there were no more elephants, or rhinos, or whatever. Yes, I know we will miss not seeing such creatures alive in the wild or in zoos. Yes, I know we have a duty and a responsibility to care for all creatures, birds, fishes, insects, plants and so on. I understand that argument.
What I am asking is: are any of these animals, like the panda, contributing anything to humanity? I accept that if there were no more chickens in the world I would certainly miss my KFC. So, chickens contribute to human well-beings. But does the panda, or elephant?
After all, the dodo became extinct some years back. Do we really miss him? Also the woolly mammoth. Does anyone care he no longer exist? And dinosaurs. They all vanished apparently when a meteor hit the earth many moons ago. Personally, I think it was their fault for all to stand on the same spot. They should have spread out and some would have been spared. But that aside ...
... Imagine dinosaurs had not all died out. How would our lives be different?
You'd leave home for work in the morning and by the time you walked to the end of the road a Tyrannosaurus would have you for breakfast. Or you drive your car to the traffic lights and a Triceratops would head-butt your car pretending to be a rhino. Or you're out playing gold and a flying Archaeopteryx would take your hat ... or your wig.
There were many such creatures we collectively call dinosaurs. All shapes and sizes. Look them up on Google.
Somehow, they all got hit by a meteor and were killed in one go. Can you imagine if this had not happened? Humanity would not have progressed to what it is now.
Because at the time all that humanity had was fire, wooden sticks, and possibly clubs. Not much of a defence against a hungry T Rex. And by the time man invented something in order to progress, say a bow and arrow, he would have been eaten by a dinosaur anyway.
Humanity would not have survived and would have been eaten alive, literally, by all these creatures roaming everywhere.
Imagine that. No humanity. No progress. No fancy shoes. No chocolates. No TV. No Shakespeare ... (good thing too about the last one!)
The fate of humanity changed completely that day the meteor struck.
Which brings me back to my first point. What if the panda, or the elephant or any other animal did not exist any more. How will this affect humanity?