General Question

earthduzt's avatar

What is the point of having certain things live on this planet?

Asked by earthduzt (3215 points ) June 23rd, 2010

I’ve often wondered what is the point in having lets say house flys or even better mosquitos live on this planet? What benifit do mosqitos have? Are they more of a population thinner, seeing how they cause the most death out of any animal in the animal kingdom? I know frogs, birds bats need insects for food and we definately need insects to help pollinate plants and they are just part of the food chain. Would the world collapse if all mosqitos were eradicated off the face of the planet? (as you can see I don’t like them much as they tend to eat me up when I’m outside) There are plenty of other insects for other animals to eat. Also house flys why do we need them or fire ants for that matter…could the world survive without some of these “pesky” bugs?

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25 Answers

bellusfemina's avatar

Haven’t you ever watched the Lion King??? It’s called the circle of life. haha.

cazzie's avatar

‘cause the most death out of any animal in the animal kingdom’ you mean death of humans? Nah…. they cause death, but not enough to really upset the unnatural balance that exists.

Insects outnumber the rest of species… well and truly…. I’m sure you can google the exact number. Mosquitoes and their larvae are a source of food for many other creatures… as are house flies. If Mosquitoes vanished… so would many varieties of fresh water fish, then you’d lose other fish and birds who eat those fish. And what about the bears that eat the salmon?

It’s a house of cards. You can’t take one out. I’m more than happy to give you some recipes to put on your skin. I’m ALSO one of those hunted out by mosquitoes. Send me a message and I’ll send you a list of oils they HATE! I works. Make it fresh and apply liberally.

Siren's avatar

Everything has a purpose in life, even a cockroach…or else the world would be over-run with them. Each animal consumes something that would have been left to rot, thus cleaning up the environment naturally. It’s a symbiotic relationship with the world. If you visit a library, look into books on biological science: it’s an eye-opener what nature does in it’s tiniest forms.

earthduzt's avatar

I understand but is that their only source of food, I understand if they are specialized feeders and eat just that, but i dont think there is something that only eats mosquitos they are just part of a varied but I’m not positive.

reverie's avatar

You are displaying promiscuous teleology, i.e., you are applying purpose-based explanations for natural phenomena. If you believe in evolution, this is false. Life doesn’t come into being for anything, it doesn’t exist for a particular purpose, and it isn’t scientifically correct to explain the origins of life in terms of purposes and functions. Whilst various lifeforms and natural phenomena happen to have purposes, providing teleological explanations for their very being isn’t accurate, insofar as what we know from our current understanding of modern science. Having said that, humans tend to be prone to making teleological explanations in quite an inappropriately widespread way, hence “promiscuous” teleology.

If you’re interested in this topic, I highly recommend this article from the journal Cognition, which explains it in much more detail: http://www.bu.edu/childcognition/publications/KelemenRosset(2009).pdf

cazzie's avatar

@earthduzt well…. animals can’t just go to the grocery store and choose what they want that day. Mozzie larve is there… in the water and it’s FOOD.

We can do things to stop the mozzie population that occurs superficially. In your back yard, you can make sure there is nothing that collects stagnant water. Abandoned tires…. for example.

THANK YOU @reverie I do tire of hearing such ‘homo sapien’ views of the world. We’re amazing beings and should be able to look above it. Right?

Rarebear's avatar

There is no “point”. There is no “purpose.” Every living thing exists because their ancestors were strong enough to pass along their genes. Evolution by natural selection caused speciation by which a particular organism survives in its niche better than its competitors.

earthduzt's avatar

so if there is no purpose then there is no reason for them to live either right?

Draconess25's avatar

Wants the point of keeping humans alive? I’m sure they cause more death than mosquitoes. Most animals think humans smell bad, so they wouldn’t be losing a source of prey. They’d be able to reclaim their habitat. Humanity’s extinction would probably do the world a favour.

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CMaz's avatar

Down here in Florida.
We have invasive species of plants and animals.

They throw off the natural process and in many cases kill off other plants and species that are needed to keep ecological balanced.
When one creature wipes out a certain species, the other species that needed that to live also dies.

And so on, and so on , and so on.

Draconess25's avatar

@ChazMaz Humans are invasive.,

CMaz's avatar

You got that right. And you see the damage it is doing.

Draconess25's avatar

@ChazMaz Why do you think I’m on this thread advocating self-extinction? XD

YARNLADY's avatar

I think some people are confusing purpose with function. Everything that exists on the earth has evolved to perform some function in nature. To assign a purpose to it is a human construct.

Rarebear's avatar

@YARNLADY I’d even go more reductionist than that. Species are evolved for only one function—to propogate their genetic material. All the rest is window dressing for that one key purpose.

earthduzt's avatar

maybe we humans are bumblebees, eventually everything on this planet will die and go extinct…maybe we were made to “pollinate” the universe. I believe we will grow out of our violent tendencies we are a young life form. I believe we will be able to travel among the stars…who knows maybe everything on this Earth is the only living things in the Universe (I don’t believe that but just a theory) and we as humans are the bees that will eventually spread life throughout our cosmos and with each planet we colonize we bring with us animals of Earth and each planet that we spread life on, the life on that planet will evolve to better suit the conditions on that planet. Maybe we are the start of life everywhere.

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Kraken's avatar

Good question and I have thought of this myself.

If there was just one creature I would remove from this planet, it would be the mosquito.
It is a blood sucking parasite that is the biggest transporter of malaria in the world. We cannot eliminate this creature because it always seems to adapt to the next pesticide and then the strongest survive and then they multiply and are immune so insecticides are not the answer.

Alternative solution is an eco-friendly biological one. We first of all need to realize that mosquitoes will always find a way to survive. Therefore I feel that we need to genetically engineer a strain of mosquitoes that are immune to the viruses that they can pass on to humans and thence by selective breeding with exposure to insecticides and other harm that may face them that we will come up with a breed of safe skeeters that we can introduce into the populations of disease carrying skeeters and then use insecticides to kill the malcontents and those that are weakest will die off and the strongest which should be the disease resistant mosquitoes will become the dominant strain of mosquitoes and thus we will not destroy any species and also we will render them harmless to us and so we could tolerate it if they bite us without any worries.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Each species plays some role in its ecosystem. Typically other species are impacted in a way that may benefit them or my disadvantage them. We lack the knowledge of all the complex interactions among these species and their interactions with plant species as well.

When humans manipulate things they do not understand, they typically do not understand the effects and changes they see around them. Human ignorance and hubris are to blame for so many damages to our planet and the many diverse ecosystems around this planet.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Rarebear That’s not entirely the case, once the function in nature disappears, so does the ecosystem that surrounded it, as in oceans turn to deserts.

scarabaphile's avatar

Sorry to answer a question with a question, but what is the purpose of having humans? Pretty much every living thing that I can think of has it’s purpose except for humans.

Symbeline's avatar

Well, flies are nature’s garbagemen, most especially the larvae. (Maggots.) don’t know about mosquitoes, maybe it is a population thing, or as you suggest they may have an indirect function, such as being food to something else.

I’m sure the world would survive without some of these, but some replacement as equally bad may take the job. Loose every mosquito ever, and two new diseases as deadly as the HIV virus might appear, just to even the odds out.

cazzie's avatar

I was just thinking about this again, seeing as how someone brought it up. I think the mosquitoes can stay, but I think the malaria should go and so should that parasite worm that gets into a person’s system and then lives in the eyeball. If you look at parasites and smaller organisms that cause disease, it makes annoying things like houseflies look harmless.

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