Tag Archives: we are scary when you look objectively

What is the scariest species on Earth and possibly in the universe?

It probably isn’t what you think. Looking objectively there is a species that eats almost anything, lives almost anywhere it wants, has no natural predators, and reproduces almost at will, and hunts by exhausting its prey to death. You might say that such a species should have overrun the planet, and yes we have. What species did you think I was writing about? 🤔

On the “eat anything”, large segments of our diet consist of essentially spoiled food that we call “fermented”, which is food that has been modified by the action of microbes or molds. We are evolved from scavengers, and much of our diet is toxic to other species. Also we are the only species that regularly consumes the milk of unrelated species outside of infancy. And don’t even get me started on alcohol. There are only a few species that can consume alcohol on a regular basis without dying from it, and one of those is the microbe that makes acetic acid from alcohol. We have genes that make enzymes that perform a similar function in our livers, literally letting us consume poison. We evolved this after our ancestors scavenged fermented fruits and didn’t die because they had those enzymes. In fact our ability to consume spoiled fruit is part of the root of the hypothesis we evolved from a scavenger species.

As for our primitive hunting techniques, they are still in use in many parts of the world. When we don’t have ranged weapons we hunt in packs, isolating an individual and constantly pursuing them, never letting them rest more than a few seconds at a time, switching off so that the pursuers are always less tired than the prey, and chasing in circles so that our pack has fresh hunters while never letting the prey rejoin with its herd or family group. And we continue this hunt until the prey drops from exhaustion and allows a close up kill with hand weapons or it just dies from exhaustion and gets butchered on the spot to take the meat back to the rest of the tribe. Sometimes it’s both at the same time, we don’t wait until it’s dead before butchering. Because we are scary like that.

The “reproducing at will” bit is easy to explain, what day is your birthday? Are all your relatives born in the same month? Then we reproduce pretty much whenever we want to or don’t want to but “oops”. As Londo Mollari put it in Babylon 5 “Your women have no season.” We have sex all the time, and get pregnant all the time, and give birth, you guessed it, “all the time”. We reproduce so much that sex has become disconnected from reproduction and has become mostly recreation instead of procreation. For some species sex is a literal death sentence, they die shortly after reproducing. Looking at you, salmon. For humans, we have “le petite mort“, but barring complications during birth, we can reproduce again almost immediately if there is enough food available. The only thing slowing us down is a relatively long gestation period.

Throw technology and agriculture on top of our natural abilities, and you have the scariest species on the planet