A strong case can be made that God, should such a being exist at all, of course, likes certain species of jellyfish and microorganisms way better than people.
This is surprising, considering that the Bible proclaims that mankind, hands down, is the apple of the divine eye.
Kind of begs the question, doesn’t it: Why is God’s supposed earthly alpha creature — humans — relegated to such a relatively skimpy life?
Members of the Homo sapiens species, to which we humans belong, have a maximum lifespan of only about 115 years, according to research published in 2017 by New York’s Albert Eistein College of Medicine. The verified oldest person ever, 122-year-old Jeanne Calment of France, died in 1997.
The good news is that the average and maximum lifespans of human beings is steadily increasing. In a 2017 article, USA Today newspaper reported:
“In 1900, the average lifespan was about 47 years, noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 1970, American life expectancy was about 71 years old, increasing slightly year by year until 2015, when, for the first time in two decades, it dipped to 78.8.”
Impressive but still small potatoes in the grand scheme of living things.
For example, certain jellyfish are effectively immortal biologically, apparently, because if their bodies deteriorate through time or from environmental damage, they are able to repeatedly “regenerate” themselves. Voila — a brand new jellyfish! However, they have been eaten by predators a lot during their 700 million or so years on Earth.
Then there are microorganisms and fungi that reportedly live for hundreds of thousands and even millions of years as “healthy as horses,” as they say. And there’s a giant colony of sea grass (Posidonia oceanica) in the Mediterranean Sea off Ibiza, Spain, that scientists estimate could survive as long as 200,000 years so long as it remains submerged.
Trees are also prodigious survivors. Trees of two species of bristlecone pine in Nevada and California — appropriately nicknamed “Prometheus” and “Methuselah” — have lived for nearly 5,000 years. Prometheus finally succumbed to nature in 1964 but Methuselah is still going strong despite having germinated way back in 2833 B.C.
There are also scores of assorted other species who live far longer than their human cousins, including red sea urchins (200 years), Gallapagapos giant tortoises (up to 150 years), Greenland sharks (200+ years), and ocean quahog clams (400+ years).
So, if God loved us people best, why do we have such a relatively paltry lifespan among creatures of the sea and on land, and very poor abilities to regenerate?
I mean, even the lowly salamander (see the embedded illustration in this post) can regenerate its limbs and organs when damaged. Unfortunately, these cute, slimy amphibians generally only live in captivity for about 20 years (although 50-year-old salamanders have been reported), fewer in the wild due to predation.
All things being equal, with the enormous differences in life spans of the Earth’s multitude creatures, and zero evidence that any divinity favors mankind over others, it seems kind of silly to keep insisting on this human conceit of our own exceptionalism in the biosphere.
We’re by far the smartest creatures around, sure, but we still die young, relatively speaking.
God or no God.
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