As long as there are other creatures to feed on, the vulture will never go without a meal, and as we've all learned from post-apocalyptic fiction, the dumpster diver shall inherit the Earth. Until then, let us be grateful for the vulture, the noble garbage can soaring through the skies, for cleaning up the dead so we don't have to.
Ants Never Stopped Being The Dominant Species
We've seen a lot of contenders for the human throne so far: squids, rats, immortal microscopic bears. But of course, speculating about who will become the dominant species after us humans have left the picture is pointless. Not just because there's no way to scientifically predict the future of our planet, either. No, it's mostly pointless because we're not actually the dominant species. If anyone should be worried about losing their supremacy over the Earth, it's the ants. And, trust us, they're not worried.
"You can't tell because they're black and soulless, but I'm rolling my eyes at you."
When asking the question of which species could best survive an apocalypse, it might be handy to look at one that's managed to overcome one already. Ants, as we know them, have been around for 110 million to 130 million years. That means they were already keeping on keeping on when, about 65 million years ago, the K/T extinction happened, the cataclysmic event that wiped out all of the dinosaurs. And while our puny mammal ancestors hid in dirt holes, the ants thrived. After the big one hit, ants experienced a true golden age, expanding all over the world in a move biologists still call the "greatest success story" of any multicelled animal to date. Today, ants make up more biomass than any other species, including humans. They could literally crush us under their tiny feet. How's that for supremacy?
And you know they don't wipe those tiny feet.
"Sure," you might scoff, "there might be a lot of ants, but we're still the ones with picnics." When it comes to complexity, nothing can beat human society, right? Not really. Ant society has just about all the social trimmings that we have: They have a complex class system and a hive mind capable of tricky logistics, and their armies use actual military strategies. Hell, their civilizations are so varied and complex, they even have room for "pirate" ants, which raid colonies and capture slaves to gather food for them. It's hard to call a species stupid and primitive if their civilizations are more complicated than the average Game of Thrones episode.
Individual ants don't amount to much more than a small spot on a big boot, but their strength lies in their unity. As we speak, a massive war between the California supercolony and the Mexico supercolony rages on just underneath our feet. What's a supercolony? Well, ants have managed to genetically unify colonies spanning entire countries and even continents. Anthills 4,000 miles apart now share the same chemical signals, allowing them to communicate with one another as allies. Put a Japanese ant next to an American one and, if they're in the same supercolony, they will fight side by side as if they've done two tours in 'Nam together. In fact, ants seem to be doing a much better job of uniting their populace than us puny humans have ever managed -- and if they can form nations spanning oceans, who knows how long it would take for a Formic Federal Alliance to pop up?
"According to the referendum, our constituents' main concerns are dropped ice cream cones and soil."
By about any world supremacy metric there is, ants have us beat. They just don't care to brag about it. They've got more important shit to do. Like rule the world.
Cedric, for one, welcomes his new insect overlords and can be found praising their glory on Twitter.
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