Unless you are hiding under the stone alllast year, you should know that the ending of "The Avengers: War of Infinity" was pretty bleak. Let's refresh in memory: Thanos managed to collect all the Infinity Stones, complete the gilded glove of fate and snap his fingers, destroying half of all life in the universe. And if you thought that this “big wash” would cause an ecological catastrophe, scientists who think a lot on this topic believe that life is quite stable to the plans of Mad Titan.
However, some species will be on the verge of extinction, and in some parts of the world more serious environmental chaos may occur.
What happens if half of life on earth disappears?
By their actions, Thanos did not just remove 50%life, chosen by chance, but as confirmed by Kevin Fage, president of Marvel Studios, turned to dust exactly half the population of each species. Not only half of the people disappeared, but half of the giraffes, sunflowers, Salmonella enterica bacteria, and so on. (The viruses are not entirely clear, but if they were also destroyed in half, then we would recognize them as “life” and end up with this).
The meaning of this massacre was toto free the remaining population of intelligent life from the burden of lack of resources, which led to a public collapse in the home world of Thanos. However, this is a “terrible idea on many levels,” said Ken Lakovara, a paleontologist from Rowan University who studied another mass extinction — a catastrophic event that took place 66 million years ago and destroyed dinosaurs.
At the most basic level, this is a bad idea, because it doesn't work that way.
People are experiencing exponential population growth inthroughout its history. In the 1960s, the human population was in the region of three billion. Then, by the year 2000, another 3 billion of us appeared. If you destroy half of all people, in 40 years we will probably return to the same population.
The same applies to most species,says lacovara. Historically, companies that harvested seals, whales and other animals tended to immediately destroy half of the population by moving to a new area. In most cases, he says, a 50 percent extermination caused the animals to go out at the maximum rate of population growth — at least until they reached a population above which the environment can no longer support.
Therefore, a massive flick sweep is “nota strategy that will lead to long-term effects for the population, as Tanos had intended, ”says Lacovara. However, it could lead to a number of strange changes among life forms that ruled in different parts of the world.
Janet Hoole, animal behavior specialist andhuman evolution at the University of Kila, believes that an imbalance of species is formed, associated with survival strategies. Those species in which many young individuals and who do not particularly spend time on parental care, relying on rapid reproduction, will be able to transcend species that have fewer offspring and start it less often, but invest more resources.
This means that insects, as well as quicklybreeding animals, such as kangaroos, rats and rabbits, will feel great. The frog, says environmentalist James Falconbridge, can produce about 20,000 eggs per season, and although a large number of them will fall prey to other animals, frogs easily regain numbers in just one year. Mosquitoes will return in full force already over the summer.
Other slowly growing species such as tigers,will grow at a relatively "glacial" pace. "Halving an already small population of tigers will push them closer to the extinction funnel, which already threatens them."
Some may not be able torecover. "Species that are on the verge of extinction will surely destroy this," says Lacovara. And cites the example of Felis margarita, a sand cat that lives in North Africa and the Middle East, and probably has a population in double figures. Remove half - and it will be too hard for cats to find someone to breed.
The same can be said about 50 Javaneserhinoceros, and about 23 Hainan gibbons left in the wild, says Anthony Karavaji, a conservation biologist at the University of South Wales. In addition to fewer breeding opportunities, halving will make these animals more vulnerable to inbreeding, occasional weather, disease, hunting and poaching.
Hoole explained that these rapidly breedinganimals will be able to slip into the empty places, freed not only by their appearance, but also by other, more rare species. The end result will be a simplified global ecosystem in which rare animals become rarer and less diverse genetically.
There is also the possibility that the relationshippredator-prey, such as the relationship between desert lions and giraffes, or mutualistic relationships - like those of bees and flowers - will fail. But to speculate what will happen in each of these pairs is difficult. In each pair there can be winners and losers, and it’s unrealistic to predict where the scale will tilt.
Ben Libburton, microbiologist and scientificCommunicator, thinking about what can happen to terrestrial bacteria. People - huge vessels with trillions of microbes - will be fine, as they already regularly take antibiotics, potentially destroying a huge part of intestinal bacteria. However, since the composition of the microflora varies from person to person, its “separation” can lead to the growth of bacteria that were previously suppressed, with the result that a delicate balance will be disturbed.
“If this happens on the entire planet, it’s more likelyIn all, some ecosystems will be fine, but some will suffer, ”says Liebberton. His main concern is that microbes in the soil, which control nutrient cycles, and microbes in the ocean and soil, which bind nitrogen, will be affected. If half of them disappear suddenly and they do not recover quickly, it will be a problem for life, which relies on these nutrients, primarily plants.
However, no matter what interests youmacro- or microbiology; most experts agree that “click-to-clippings” is nonsense compared to what happened to life in the past.
Alfio Alessandro Chiarenza, PhD anda paleontologist from Imperial College London, says the fossil data clearly demonstrates that such things as asteroid crashes, prolonged volcanic eruptions and rapid climate change present real problems that are not close to Thanos. The great extinction — a massive extinction that took place 252 million years ago and was caused by climate change due to volcanic activity — killed up to 96% of all marine species.
“Life has been almost completely destroyed,” he says. Those who survived took advantage of the generosity of the resources remaining for them.
And if you forget uncontrolled pollution,The deterioration of the environment and the rapid climate change caused by human activity today is causing a drastic reduction in many forms of life around the world. However, it is not so easy to estimate the extinction rate of various species. From coral to amphibian, human activity adversely affects a wide variety of species.
There is a possibility that sudden deathspecies may help some species on the verge of extinction. Falconbridge noted that the loss of half of the people will probably be a stimulus for many species that are currently disappearing due to habitat degradation. But the Thanos plan was unlikely to help the species as a whole, and was definitely not farsighted.
And you will watch the latest "Avengers", which will be shown at the end of this month? Tell us in our chat in Telegram.