Scientists from the University of Bristol have predicted that the formation of a new “supercontinent” could potentially lead to the extinction of mankind and all currently existing mammals in approximately 250 million years.
Using the first-ever supercomputer designed for forecasting the climate of the distant future, researchers discovered that if the continents were to merge into one massive landmass called Pangea Ultima, the resulting climate would become excessively hot and arid, rendering it nearly uninhabitable for mammals, including humans. These conditions would be particularly dire as organisms are not equipped to withstand prolonged periods of extreme heat.
Furthermore, scientists projected an escalation in volcanic activity, which would contribute to an increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Additionally, the brightness of the sun would intensify, emitting greater amounts of energy. “The resulting supercontinent will pose a triple threat, with the combined impact of the continental effect, a brighter sun, and increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere,” warned Alexander Farnsvort, the senior researcher and lead author of the study.
Under such circumstances, the availability of food and water sources for mammals would be extremely limited. Despite the incredibly distant timeline, scientists emphasize that only 8% to 16% of the new continent’s land area would be suitable for sustaining mammalian life.
However, it is crucial to note that while these are long-term predictions, the focus must not shift away from the current climate crisis. The study highlights that humanity is already experiencing the detrimental repercussions of climate change, resulting in millions of casualties each year. “It is imperative to take immediate action and strive for zero emissions as soon as possible,” urged Eyunis Lo, co-author of the study.
It is essential to keep in mind that the most recent mass extinction event occurred approximately 66 million years ago when an asteroid collided with Earth, leading to the extinction of dinosaurs and a significant portion of life on the planet.