2003-08-21 – Vermin of the future

The Fossil Files
New Scientist, 23 August, Page 33

“So the current extinction episode might lead to a rapid bursst in evolution over the next few million years, Alroy says, though he warns that the global influx of introduced species could complicate things. “We might end up with a world of vermin,” he says.”

Well, what can we expect? every evolutionary pressure we exert seems to be for vermin. Skipping for a moment the rise of the machines, the human race continuously tries to create vermin. Any animal or insect that can adapt rapidly to humans gets called vermin. Rats, mice, grey squirels, cockroaches, and so on.

All of these creatures are found to share common traits:

  1. High intelligence
  2. Highly nimble
  3. Small size
  4. Happy to eat waste (Human rubbish, etc.)
  5. Mechanism for teaching
  6. Family units
  7. High number of off-spring
  8. Short time to breeding age
  9. Physical hardiness

In summary, these creatures breed fast, and adapt fast, and can very rapidly fill any niche that becomes available. If the human race were wiped out tomorrow, I feel fairly sure that the replacement would be based on a member of the rodent family!

We are acting to make them better, smarter, faster, every time we put down a trap or bait them with a poison… What will the future bring?

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