Human extinction could come within 5,100 years

Every day, it seems, brings with it fresh new horrors. Mass murderCatastrophic climate changeNuclear annihilation. It's all enough to make a reasonable person ask: How much longer can things go on this way? A Princeton University astrophysicist named J. Richard Gott has a surprisingly precise answer to that question.

Assuming that you and I are not so special as to be born at either the dawn of a very long-lasting human civilization or the twilight years of a short-lived one, we can apply Gott's 95 percent confidence formula to arrive at an estimate of when the human race will go extinct: between 5,100 and 7.8 million years from now.


But for either of those scenarios to be true we must be observing humanity's existence from a highly privileged point in time: either at the dawn of a technologically advanced, galaxy-hopping supercivilization, or at the end of days for an Earthbound civilization on the brink of extinguishing itself.

Gott's Copernican estimate for human life is in line with what we know of species' life spans from the fossil record. Mammalian species typically last around 1 million years before going extinct. You could argue that our species' intelligence gives us a survival edge over say, a mastodon or a rabbit, which could make us more likely to beat those odds.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: We have a pretty good idea of when humans will go extinct


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