[FoRK] Existential Risks via Hanson: Bad News on Human Extinction

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Sat Oct 24 09:29:40 PDT 2009

 From Robin via Overcoming Bias:


Bad News On Human Extinction
By Robin Hanson · October 23, 2009 2:15 pm · Discuss · « Prev · Next »
Disasters that destroy all but a thousand humans are more likely [1]  
than disasters that destroy all but a hundred humans.  So this news  
[2] says human extinction is more likely than we thought:

Conservation biologists may be deluding themselves. An analysis of the  
minimum number of individuals needed for a species to survive in the  
long term has found that current conservation practices underestimate  
the risk of extinction by not fully allowing for the dangers posed by  
the loss of genetic diversity. If correct, it means the number of  
individuals in endangered species are being allowed to dwindle too far.

Lochran Traill at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and  
colleagues found that for thousands of species the minimum viable  
population size (MVP) – where a species has a 90 per cent chance of  
surviving the next 100 years – comes in at thousands rather than  
hundreds of individuals. Many biologists, Traill says, work with lower  
numbers and so allow unacceptably high extinction risks.

[1] http://hanson.gmu.edu/collapse.pdf

[2] http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17974-conservation-targets-too-low-to-save-atrisk-species.html



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