If the worst were to happen and all humans were suddenly wiped off the face of the earth, what exactly would happen to the planet that we know today? Would it turn into a real life representation of the Planet of the Apes, or would everything just sit and rot as it tries to recover from the mess that the human race left it in? There are a lot of questions which need to be answered, so let’s fast forward to the end of the world!
What would happen soon after the humans left?
After just a few hours of humans vacating the planet, one massive change would take place. With nobody manning them, all of the power stations would begin burn out and there would be no electricity left to power anything. As well as the lights going out, electric fences would lose their power and with nothing left to coral them, some 1 billion pigs, 1.5 billion cows, and 20 billion chickens would burst out of their pens in search of food. Unfortunately, due to these domestic animals being so dependent on humans for their food it is highly likely that many would die of starvation, and those that do not would be picked off by the local predators.
Unfortunately things bode just as badly for our household pets. As the cats and dogs that currently keep us company have enjoyed a relative domestic bliss throughout their lives, they would be very poorly equipped to survive in the wild. The more resilient and well adapted species like wolves and wildcats would wipe them out. Sorry Tibbles.
In contrast to what many people think, species that we consider vermin today like rats and cockroaches would actually miss the trash us humans create and their populations could plummet very quickly before they adapt and recover.
Will the plants take over like they seem to in every movie?
The answer here is eventually. Before plants ever get the chance to take hold, there will be mass fires all around the world which will level cities. With no firemen to put them out, one lightening strike could create a fire which would easily spread throughout a whole residential area. As the buildings in modern day cities are built so closely together, once one is on fire they all would be within a very short period of time. Within 100 years, pretty much every wooden structure would be gone. After this has happened, the plants will be free to flourish in these areas and the world will return to its once green state.
Will one species rise up and become the dominant force?
Even though this is the vision that many people have in their heads of a dystopian Earth, with one intelligent animal, normally of the primate variety, taking their chance in a post human world and ruling for themselves, this will not happen. Even though certain animals such as primates are extremely intelligent, they would not evolve into maniacal monkey dictator’s hell bent on ruling the world. This is because the basis for evolution is survival, not control. If a species is able to flourish and survive much like a primate would in its new, forest filled environment, then it would reach a plateau and simply continue to breed to ensure the survival of the species.
It is therefore very unlikely that we would see an animal rise up and seize control of all of the others left on the Earth. Sorry Fidel Cat-ro.
What do you mean I’ll see lions in London and polar bears in Paris?
Most of the species that humans have controlled and repressed over the years would return to the population levels they were at before humans evolved. However, issues would occur when it comes to the invasive species that humans have introduced to unnatural locations all around the world. Whilst this will mainly mean one plant species spreads far and wide in an area it should not be in, it could also mean that escaped zoo animals would be free to thrive in their new habitat. There could be the London Zoo lions roaming around Regents Park, or even some hippos wandering through the Florida everglades. It will take time for nature to get used to this new order of predator and prey, but once it does so the world could look very different to what it does today!
Will there be anything left to show that we were once here?
After nature has taken back what was once its own, there will be very few human creations left. Our roads will have become new rivers and streams, and what were once great cities will be reduced to burgeoning forests and grassy plains. After 300 or so years, all metal buildings, bridges and towers will begin to fall as the steel they are made of corrodes, and after 10,000 years all that will be left to ever signify that humans inhabited this planet will be the things we made from stone like the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China. So much for a legacy!
This piece is of course a combination of logic and pure theory, so this means that there is a chance that none of the things that were mentioned here could happen. Luckily though, nobody will be around to tell us if we were wrong!
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