The Medea Hypothesis

This is New York, March 2020. Covid 19 is the word. It’s not the deadly plague that’ll wipe out humanity, but it’s an effective illustration of what it could look like. 

The Medea Hypothesis is a proposed anti-gaian mechanism, viewing our planet not as a protective caretaker – Mother Earth -, but as a suicidal phenomenon, aimed at erasing life because it considers it a harmful parasite or virus. The Medea Hypothesis is connected to extinction events that originated on this planet.

From Wikipedia:

The Medea hypothesis is a term coined by paleontologist Peter Ward[1] for the anti-Gaian hypothesis that multicellular life, understood as a superorganism, is suicidal. In this view, microbial-triggered mass extinctions are attempts to return the Earth to the microbial-dominated state it has been for most of its history. The metaphor refers to the mythological Medea (representing the Earth), who kills her own children (multicellular life).

Past “suicide attempts” include:

Methane poisoning, 3.5 billion years ago

The oxygen catastrophe, 2.45 billion years ago

Snowball Earth, twice, 2.4–2.1 billion years ago and 790–630 million years ago

At least five putative hydrogen sulfide-induced mass extinctions, such as the Great Dying, 252.28 million years ago

The list does not include the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, since this was, at least partially, externally induced by a meteor impact.