According to the United Nations, the world’s population will reach 8 billion next month. Here’s a link to the World Population Meter, if you’re interested in watching as this event unfolds: Worldometer.
Now, if you’re very logic-oriented, you might ask, “8 billion what?”
Humans, dumbshit, humans.
But it’s actually not such a dumb question, in my opinion. After all, we humans can be so anthropocentric we can forget we are vastly outnumbered by all the other creatures occupying this planet. And most of those other creatures give as little damn about us as we give about them.
Some believe humans are the most important animal on earth. I’m loyal to our species, so I’ll go along with that and stick up for us, also. But I’ll bet other creatures are loyal to their own species, and they would dispute that humans are the most important. Perhaps we could settle this dispute with an arm-wrestling contest. But no octopuses allowed!
If you really want to get a grasp on how outnumbered we are, you can take up the study of Population Biology. This term has various meanings, but it often denotes the way we use math in order to calculate the populations of various species.
For instance, a population biologist might tell us that there are 110 trillion mosquitoes in the world. But how does this person really know? Was each and every little mosquito counted, one-by-one? If so, I want this job, and I want to be paid $100 an hour. I think I’ll apply for a government grant.
But no, the population biologist probably developed a mathematical model, performed some small sample counts, and then applied those counts to the model in order to calculate a worldwide estimate.
One thing is for sure, counting species is not an exact science. I think that even includes counting humans. Who knows how many people there really are? I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve already surpassed 8 billion. Or maybe some nations inflate their population numbers, in order to impress and intimidate other nations. So maybe the real number is far less than 8 billion. Who knows?
But assuming population biologists are close to accurate with their counts, I find it fascinating to compare the populations of other species to that of our own. It kind of puts our existence in perspective against the whole picture. I think the most interesting way to find this perspective is visually. So what follows are the whole numbers, rounded and written out, of various species that reside on planet Earth:
Different Species, including microbiological (As many as 1 trillion):
Humans (8 billion):
Monkeys (1.4 million):
We outnumber monkeys 5,714 to 1! Yessss!!! Ooh-ooh-ooh, ahh-ahh-ahh!
Cats (600 million):
We outnumber cats 13 to 1. Rrowwwr!
Dogs (1 billion):
Take that, cats! And we humans outnumber dogs 8 to 1. Woof!
Birds (50 billion):
Birds outnumber us more than 6 to 1. How humiliating. You’ll hear not one peep out of me.
Mammals (130 billion):
We are only 1/16th the total population of all mammals. That just isn’t fair.
Fish (3.5 trillion):
Fish outnumber us 437 to 1. But if you’ve ever been heartbroken, then told there are plenty of fish in the sea, this is good news.
Mosquitoes (110 trillion):
Mosquitoes outnumber us 13,750 to 1. But we are better buzzkills.
Flies (17 quadrillion):
Flies outnumber us 2,125,000 to 1. Yikes! Close the screen door.
Ants (20 quadrillion):
Ants outnumber us 2,500,000 to 1. And they’re all in my backyard.
Animals (20 quintillion):
Humans consist of only one 250 millionth of the total population of all animals.
Trees (3 trillion):
That’s 375 trees for every man, woman and child on Earth.
Who the hell knows?
Individual bacteria in human body (39 trillion):
Sometimes it really does feel crowded in here.
Individual bacteria on Earth (5 nonillion):
Sorry, my calculator just exploded.
Individual viruses on Earth (10 nonillion):
All calculators on Earth have just exploded.
Stars in the universe (200 sextillion):
With more microbes than stars, we must be living in a very sick universe.
I couldn’t find total figures for plants or fungi. But suffice it to say, we humans are just a drop in the ocean, compared to the vast sea of living creatures, flying, swimming, squirming, walking, crawling, and sprouting upon planet Earth.
Environmentalists urge us to share our planet with other creatures. But after researching this post, I feel grateful they’re the ones sharing it with us.
And from a spiritual perspective, this brings up a question for those who believe in reincarnation. If human beings represent the pinnacle of achievement in rebirths, how could this planet possibly accommodate all the other creatures, as they advance along on their path to humanhood?
Or could it be the other way around? Is our ultimate goal in reincarnation to be reborn as a virus? Mathematically, it makes a lot more sense.
Perhaps on the Other Side, the most advanced beings become the ones that are incarnated on Earth as the least advanced and most simple, such as bacteria. And perhaps that’s because they need the least amount of challenges, to exercise their souls and get back into good spiritual shape, before returning to the Other Side. Planet Earth is nothing more than a gymnasium for them, that they visit briefly, perhaps on a regular basis, to stay in shape.
On the other hand, the least advanced beings on the Other Side could be the ones that need the most spiritual exercise. They’ve been lazy, and allowed their spiritual strength to dissipate, by neglecting the “gym.” So those poor bastards have to come to this Earth as among the most advanced and complex, facing the toughest of challenges to survive. And the worst of the worst come here as humans.
Yep. We’re the dregs. All eight billion of us.