There are 7.6 billion people on the Earth and yet, we make up for only 0.01% of the total biomass of all living things on the planet. This is an astounding fact released after a detailed study was recently published with analysis of all the living things right from the myriad of microorganisms to humongous animals and the statistics are bizarre and surprising. According to the research conducted by Prof Ron Milo of Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel who led the research along with his team, humans account for only 0.01% of the total biomass on the planet.
The study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that throughout the human civilization, various activities like hunting, farming, etc have accounted for the loss of 83% of all wild animals and about 50% of the plants. Further, it suggests that bacteria account for over 13% of the life form on Earth. 82% is the total biomass represented by plants which by far overshadows all forms of life on Earth living just 5% for all other animals, fish, fungi, insects, etc.
The research paper also suggests that even after the ocean is spread across 70% of the total Earth’s surface, the aquatic beings living in these oceans account for only 1% of all biomass. Researchers took data from thousands of other studies in order to conclude the statistics as per which, 86% of the biomass is found on land, 13% of the total biomass is subsurface bacteria while the remaining 1% is found in the oceans as aforementioned. Of the total birds, 70% of the total biomass is reserved by poultry that includes chicken while only 30% of the animals belong in the wild.
The statistics are really astounding as it states that of the total mammals living on Earth, 60% are livestock, 4% are wild animals and 36% are humans which means, livestock dominates the mammals’ category twice than the total biomass represented by humans. The study further states the loss of living things due to human civilization which includes activities like development, logging, and farming which has been christened as the ‘sixth mass extinction of life’ on Earth in its four billion years of history.
As per the data, 83% of the wild mammals have been lost due to the rise of human civilization while there has been 80% loss of marine mammals too. Furthermore, 50% of the total plants have been lost and 15% of the fishes have being smothered due to the various activities performed by human civilizations. The research paper also states that when compared to the total mass represented by humans, there are three times more viruses, three times more worms; 17 times more spiders, insects, and crustaceans, 12 times more fish; 1,200 times more bacteria, 200 times more fungi, and lastly, 7,500 times more plants making humans just a puny fraction of the total biomass on the Earth.