Human beings have such a habit of underestimating things. A recent survey of the ocean suggests that the Earth’s bioversity may be ten times more than previously thought.
In a single litre of sea water scientists can have as many as 20,000 species of microbes – they were only expecting to find two thousand. This number means that there could be more than ten million species of microbes alone.
Dr Sogin, one of the members of the research team in the new findings, said, “It really points to our lack of knowledge and how much more there is to learn.”
But should not the greatness of this number in itself teach us that it is impossible to master the knowledge? Should it not tell us that there will always be more to learn? And should it not make us aware of the fact that we are really insignifcant in the scheme of things?
We are but one species among tens of milllions if not hundreds or even thousands. It is estimated that the average species has a lifespan of 100,000 years. Some of these have changed little from since the beginning. Others have come and gone without us even knowing. And Man’s vanity has kept his species going for perhaps much too long.
Today we know approximately the age of our planet (3.5 billion years old) and how much longer it will exist if no “hiccups” occur (another 3.5 billion years). The Earth is middle aged. The present human species, with our ability to understand and record history in our own unique way, has only been here for 10,000 years. Some may stretch that back to thirty thousand years more. Either way the rest of the history of the planet makes this time – our time – insignificant.
I doubt we, as intelligent comprehending animals, will last much more than another 50,000 years. And that is being generous I think. But as for life itself it will go on as if nothing happened until the very end because we are just another species among millions, millions that have been far more successful at surviving than we have been so far.
We think six billion human beings is a great number when on our very bodies we may find more than that of any one species of microbes.