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1330 Views 9 Replies Last post: Sep 27, 2012 11:30 PM by Drosophila RSS
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Jul 24, 2012 8:11 PM

The earth is billions of years old but how long does it have left to survive?

Since the Earth's creation, its population of living organisms have evolved and become more adaptive and advanced. It has  had billions on billions of years to do this but how much time does it have left before it is wiped from the universe?

  • A very interesting question, but, to even begin to guess at an answer, other questions have to be asked:

     

    First, how do you know that the earth is billions of years old?

     

    Second, how do you know that that "organisms have evolved and become more adaptive and advanced"?

     

    There’s less evidence than you think - for both those supposed facts.

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  • the earth, as in the earth as a celestial body we assume will survive until the sun eventually turns into a red giant engulfing the inner planets but as in the biological earth with the organisms and life that we recognise today its harder to say for a whole host of reasons, not limited to humans effect on the planet.

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    • I do agree that the earth will be destroyed through fire

      But the timing is anyone's guess. 

       

      However, on your second point, there does seem to be evidence that the genome of most or all eukaryotes (anything other than bacteria and such like) is gradually deteriorating.  That includes humans.  I read that in some societies there is now concern that marriage of first cousins is resulting in children with an unacceptable load of inherited defects.  There is even talk that it should be made illegal because of this risk.  There is a similar problem in controlled breeding of endangered species in zoos etc - great care must be taken to only breed animals that are not very closely related.  There was also a TV programme about Crufts - the problems of inbreeding in pedigree dogs.  A mutt is often far healthier than a prize poodle!

       

      If this deterioration continues, then in theory we might become extinct before the sun reaches the Red Giant stage - if that is the eventual scenario.

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