The next few centuries will throw some major problems at the human race: shortages of food, water, and natural resources for a start. Add in the challenges of global climate change (where no-one wants to take the blame, or the responsibility) and natural hazards (a large earthquake under a major city or centre of finance..?); and then complicate that with a global trading system that is driven by personal profit rather than for the general good.. and who knows what will happen! Until our desire for year-on-year economic growth is balanced by seeing whether society’s activities are sustainable, I don’t think we are going to have anything other than a difficult time.
I don’t know that the top predator kills itself out. Certainly the dinosaurs died out and there were some top predators there, but mainly they were the dominating species. Regardless, it could be that with the actions we humans take, we could destroy ourselves. I certainly hope not.
Is it actually true that the top predator automatically kill itself out? On theoretical grounds, it does not automatically have to, and it would be quite an evolutionary dead-end, wouldn’t it? All the instances that I can think of where large predators have gone extinct were to do with the conditions changing, e.g. the climate changing dramatically or the habitat becoming depleted due to external (often human) influences.
I think this is also the greatest danger for humankind – that we change our own environment so vastly, so dramatically (and so far beyond what we would technically need just to survive) that we suddenly find it cannot sustain us any longer.
Interesting question. However, lions, sharks, polar bears haven’t destroyed them selves (yet). This is probably because they have marked out their territory and try to stick to them – there are sometimes clashes. This is the same with humans, however, humans also have a preservation instinct for others and themselves. I would like to think this is strong enough in enough people to prevent the self destruction of humans by humans.