Habitat degradation, low genetic variation and declining fertility are setting Homo sapiens up for collapse
Henry Geeis a paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and editor atNature.His latest book isA (Very) Short History of Life on Earth(St. Martin’s Press, 2021).
Credit: Jordan Lye/Getty Images
Cast your mind back, if you will, to 1965, when Tom Lehrer recorded his live albumThat Was the Year That Was. Lehrer prefaced a song called “So Long Mom (A Song for World War III)” by saying that “if there’s going to be any songs coming out of World War III, we’d better start writing them now.” Another preoccupation of the 1960s, apart from nuclear annihilation, was overpopulation. Stanford University biologistPaul Ehrlich’s bookThe Population Bombwas published in 1968, a year when the rate of world population growth wasmore than 2…
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