garote: (conan pc)
[personal profile] garote
For example, why do most of the really infectious diseases travel so poorly and decompose so quickly? The answer is a brutal one: All the diseases that were highly infectious and very hardy lost in their competition for hosts, by thinning out their host populations too thoroughly. The long-term winners are diseases that dominate without destroying and spread slowly enough to avoid competing with too many of their co-evolving peers, and by that tactic, are consistently able to catch new species or populations by surprise.

Plant and animal life rose up from the sea of bacteria after potentially billions of years of trying and failing. Many kinds of multi-cellular organisms could have arisen and thrived for millions of years during that time, only to be exterminated in an instant by some plague, and then it's back to the drawing board. Eventually life hit upon a compromise form that could be attacked by bacterial invaders, and suffer, but could roll with the punches and never be entirely exterminated.

Based on this idea, and with no consideration for the current state of biotechnology, I suspect that humans will probably never accidentally evolve a disease that could kill all animal life, but they could probably construct one through complex artificial means that could have a pretty good shot at killing all human life. The only question is, are we dumb enough to try?

Date: 2017-03-30 07:44 pm (UTC)
juan_gandhi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] juan_gandhi
Right! Good point.

Date: 2017-03-31 05:56 pm (UTC)
aquestrian: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aquestrian
Could we not and say we didn't? ;)

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