Which animal species is the world’s greatest predator? Would it be surprising to you if you were to find out a new study concluded humans were? After researchers compared predation among animals in both land and marine ecosystems, they found out that humans were “super predators”. The findings have been published in the journal Science.
Humans have been tagged as “super predators” for their unsustainable actions in the name of development. The impact of their endeavours on the environment has led to the extinction of many a species, effects that have been detrimental to whole food chains. No other creature has ever caused damage of this magnitude.
This is what Dr Chris Darimont, from the University of Victoria, and his team discovered when they set out to draw comparisons between human and non-human predation. 2,125 predator species from land and aquatic worlds were involved in the evaluation. Surprisingly (or, perhaps unsurprisingly for those who know of humans’ tendency to destroy), the difference between the two types was found to be huge.
The results show that humans preyed on adults of other species up to 14 times more than other predators. Another difference was that non-human predators would opt for juveniles of other communities, those which were already at a disadvantage compared to other members. Humans are, therefore, markedly different in their predatory styles. They have been able to counter the defenses of their prey like no other species.
“Well, all the species that humans now exploit had to deal with a range of predators for several million years […] Then modern humans arrive on-scene and with capture methods that circumvent the majority of these prey defenses” said Darimont in a press conference.
Humans have proved to be the most dangerous predator ever, voraciously consuming, literally and otherwise, what lies on the Earth.
“These implications, the high exploitation rates that drive them, and the broadest taxonomic niche of any consumer uniquely define humans as a global ‘super predator,’” write the researchers.
We are better at killing (and, this is no good) even the most ferocious predators such as lions and bears: the results of the study show that the latter have died at the hands of humans 9 times more than they themselves prey on other species.
Another striking finding involves the grotesque predation rate in the Atlantic Ocean.
Will humans put an end to bloodshed? In a world where humans themselves are being butchered all across the world by fellow humans, can we expect the treatment of animals to be any better? Darimont, however, hopes that his study might change the perception concerning predators, triggering societies to understand that humans are the dominant ones.
“Is it a warning? It wasn’t designed as such, but I suspect many will interpret it as yet another call for humanity to reconsider its impacts on the ecosystem and ultimately upon ourselves,” comments Darimont.