Killing an Entire Species

A while back I read an article that talked about what would happen if we could wipe a single species off the planet. What other unforeseen affects might this have on the planet? Would other species die off for different reasons, maybe that original species was a food source, or there are any number of circumstances that could affect a complex system that is the ecosystem of earth.

With that being said the article chose misquotes, yep those pesky bugs. I hate them with a passion, and I do not throw that word around lightly, I would be just fine if they were all killed in a heartbeat. Oddly enough the article stated that this is one species that, if it were possible, to kill them all it would have a negligible impact if any on our ecosystem. Even all the birds that ate them would have other bugs to eat. They are pest nothing more and I think the world would be a better place if they were all gone.

The reason I am bringing this up is because today  read an article that was posted on Bill Gates’ blog about what animals kill the most humans. Any guesses?

Sharks only kill .1 humans per year, elephants kill about 100 humans, hippos kill about 500 people a year. The Assassin bug and the Tsetse Fly, neither of which I have ever heard of, kill about 10,000 people a year, even dogs kill about 25,000 people a year. Snakes, that is a good guess, they kill about 50,000 people a year according to this graphic. Humans, another good guess but they only come in second with 475,000 people killed. The answer is misquotes, the graphic claims that they kill about 725,000 people every year. Wow that is nuts, that is more than all the other combined. Most of these deaths come not from the bugs themselves but the diseases they carry such as malaria.

If there was a clean and economic way to do this to you think it would be a good idea? I do not know, I think that the earth a such a complex system that killing an entire species, other than humans, would have an effect on the biosphere that we could not predict. As much as I would love to see this happen I think there are way too many unknowns. How could we do it without killing a number of other species would be a big one. Way back when DDT was used to kill mosquitoes and then as a insecticide for killing any number of pests that my destroy valuable crops. Soon after the disastrous effects of the chemical were rearing its head, since the 1970’s it was banned for use in agriculture. After the ban of DDT it has since been reported that this single handedly help save the Bald Eagle and a few other birds of prey form extinction. How? Well I would assume that the chemicals eventually washed out of the fields and into streams eventually finding its way into fish, a common food source for a variety of predators. The eagles would eat the fish and then become ill or die. That is just a small example of how something can have unforeseen and disastrous reproductions.

Maybe someday in the future scientist will have a way to get rid of these pests or at least safely control their population. Until then always carry some Off!

Here is the link to the graphic that Bill Gates posted on his site.


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