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MillMan:
At worst, we'll be the first species on this planet to cause a mass extinction and decomplexification of life  (as opposed to the usual comets / radiation / super-volcanoes).
I was under the impression the first photosynthetic organisms caused a mass extinction by poisoning the planet with oxygen.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Oxygen Catastrophe

When evolving life forms developed oxyphotosynthesis about 2.7 billion years ago, molecular oxygen was produced in large quantities. The plentiful oxygen eventually caused an ecological crisis, as oxygen was toxic to the anaerobic organisms living at the time.

Great comment, by the way. The reference to the ultimate mortality of the species reminds me of Asimov's The Last Question.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 07:46:36 PM EST
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