Sean Cate
Sean Cate
June 20, 2024 ·  3 min read

Supercomputer Predicts What Could Be The Year of Human Extinction

The future of humanity is a topic of endless speculation and discussion. From apocalyptic movies to scientific predictions, we are constantly reminded of our planet’s fragile nature. Recently, a supercomputer model has projected a future scenario where all mammals, including humans, could face extinction roughly 250 million years from now. We explore the implications of these findings, the science behind them, and what they mean for our understanding of Earth’s future below:

The Supercomputer Prediction

colorful supercomputer
Credit: Pixabay

The study, published in Nature Geoscience, had researchers use advanced computer models to simulate Earth’s distant future. These models took into account various geological and biological factors, predicting a bleak outcome for mammals due to natural processes involving the Sun and Earth’s tectonics. The study highlights a significant increase in solar radiation, the formation of a supercontinent, and subsequent climate changes as the primary drivers of the potential extinction-level event.1

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The Formation of Pangaea Ultima

Credit: Universe Today

Approximately 250 million years from now, Earth’s continents are expected to converge, forming a new supercontinent called Pangaea Ultima. This massive landmass will dramatically alter the planet’s climate, leading to extreme temperatures and increased volcanic activity. The study suggests that these changes will create harsh conditions, making it difficult for mammals to survive.2

Climate Challenges: The Triple Threat

drastic climate change
Credit: Pixabay

The supercomputer models identified three major threats that will contribute to the demise of mammals: increased solar radiation, volcanic activity, and extreme continental climates. As the Sun grows 2.5% brighter, global temperatures will rise significantly. The formation of Pangaea Ultima will exacerbate this by increasing volcanic eruptions and carbon dioxide emissions, further heating the planet. The supercontinent’s vast interior will experience extreme temperatures, far from the moderating effects of the ocean.

Mammalian Extinction and Human Survival

skull in grass
Credit: Pixabay

Mammals have thrived on Earth for about 55 million years, showing remarkable adaptability to various changes. However, the predicted conditions 250 million years in the future could push mammalian limits beyond survivability. Researchers estimate that only 8-16% of the land mass will remain habitable for mammals, primarily along coastlines. While this scenario paints a grim picture for mammals, including humans, it is important to note that this prediction does not guarantee human extinction. Our species may evolve, relocate, or find other ways to survive.

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Supercomputer vs. Fictional Apocalypses

apocalyptic world
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Popular media often dramatizes the end of the world, such as in SYFY’s The Ark, where humanity abandons an uninhabitable Earth within a century. In reality, the timeline for such drastic changes is far longer. While climate change poses serious threats, it does not signal the imminent demise of the planet’s ability to support life. The supercomputer’s prediction, therefore, is a long-term scenario that contrasts with the more immediate apocalypses depicted in fiction.

The Role of Climate Change

sun peaking through the clouds
Credit: Pixabay

Current anthropogenic climate change, driven by human activities, is pushing Earth’s climate towards a state not seen for millions of years. While this has severe implications for ecosystems and human societies, it is not considered in the supercomputer’s long-term models. The study’s focus is on natural processes and their inevitable impact over hundreds of millions of years. This distinction is crucial for understanding the different scales and timelines of climate threats.

A Long Road Ahead

long road into the distance
Credit: Pixabay

The predicted mass extinction event is still hundreds of millions of years away, providing ample time for scientific advancement and potential solutions. Understanding these distant future scenarios helps us appreciate the planet’s dynamic nature and the need for long-term planning. It also underscores the importance of addressing current environmental issues to ensure a sustainable future for all species.

Conclusion: The Uncertainty of Human Extinction

older and younger hand touching fingers
Credit: Pixabay

While the supercomputer’s prediction highlights a possible future where mammals face extinction, it does not definitively mark the end of humanity. The adaptability and resilience of our species, combined with technological advancements, could offer pathways to survival or even thriving in different forms. As we continue to explore and understand these predictions, it remains crucial to balance immediate environmental concerns with long-term planetary stewardship.

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  2. Climate extremes likely to drive land mammal extinction during next supercontinent assembly.” Nature. Alexander Farnsworth, Y. T. Eunice Lo, Paul J. Valdes, Jonathan R. Buzan, Benjamin J. W. Mills, Andrew S. Merdith, Christopher R. Scotese & Hannah R. Wakeford. September 25, 2023.