In the middle two hours, science journalist Michael Tennesen, who has written more than 300 stories in such journals as Discover, Scientific American, Audubon, and Smithsonian, discussed the history of mass extinction on Earth and why a growing number of scientists agree we are headed toward an extinction event, perhaps in as little as 300 years. Such factors as climate change, disease, and soil erosion are pushing us into the sixth great extinction event on Earth, he reported. But the main reason behind our looming extinction is the massive growth in population-- in 1 A.D. we had 300 million people, in 1800 we had a billion, and today, we have 7 billion, with a projected 10 or 11 billion by the end of the this century, he cited.
99.99% of all creatures on Earth have gone extinct-- "extinction is just a natural part of the process. The average mammal lasts about a million years, the average plant lasts about 10 million years," Tennesen noted. But in the aftermath of an extinction, like the huge volcanic eruption which occurred at Krakatoa in the 1880s, the jungle has come back almost fully to the area, as well as at Chernobyl, where packs of wolves are thriving, he outlined.
A lot of evidence points to the idea that another species could eventually overtake us. Genetic alterations might lead to a superior race, evolution in isolated areas could yield superior beings, or artificial intelligence could surpass humanity, he detailed. Humanity could fade out like the neanderthals did, Tennesen continued, with another species arising that is possibly more intelligent, adaptable, and ecological than us.
Neanderthals & Humans
First hour guest, 'forbidden archaeologist' Michael Cremo reacted to the news that modern humans interbred with neanderthals in Europe. The fact that neanderthals were able to mate with modern humans suggests they were really not a separate species, but just another kind of human, he remarked. There are living humans who have large bony eyebrow ridges above their eye sockets that are similar to neanderthals, he noted. Also, neanderthal behavior which included cooking food, and burial rituals for the dead, shows a great similarity to humans, he added.
The last hour of the show featured 'sound off' Open Lines.