The Biological and Social Survival of Humankind. A Review

Special Article - Criminal Behavior

Austin Anthropol. 2019; 3(1): 1005.

The Biological and Social Survival of Humankind. A Review

Marinkovic S1*, Lazic D2, Tomic I3 and Boljanovic J1

¹Institute of Anatomy, University of Belgrade, Serbia

²Psychiatric Clinic, University of Belgrade, Serbia

³Academy of Fine Art and Multimedia, University of Belgrade, Serbia

*Corresponding author: Slobodan Marinkovic, Institute of Anatomy, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Subotic 4/2, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

Received: June 04, 2019; Accepted: July 02, 2019; Published: July 09, 2019


Human beings, driven by their high intelligence and supreme technology, occasionally behave as the rulers of the earth. However, complex humannature relationships and aggressive social behavior, especially warfare, indicate that humankind could be an endangered species in the future. The incredible evolution of the human brain, which resulted in the appearance of fascinating cognitive abilities, has enabled humans to achieve the most successful biological adaptation on earth. On the other hand, hundreds of various infectious agents and parasites have caused millions of human deaths throughout history and, in spite of modern medical treatment; some of them still have a lethal effect on millions of people each year. Toxic substances from certain fungi, plants and animals sporadically kill people worldwide. Human individual and social aggression have resulted in many millions of casualties from ancient times to the present. Natural disasters also take thousands of lives each year. The degradation of the ecosystems by humans has resulted in health problems and an increased mortality in global population. Although Homo sapiens has managed to become the dominant species on earth, he is still only a part of nature, unable to escape from its rules, laws, and power. In conclusion, the world community must achieve a consensus regarding ecological measures, the eradication of certain diseases, global economic progress, and peaceful solutions of social conflicts.

Keywords: Aggression; Evolution; Humankind; Microorganisms; Nature; Pathology; Social behavior


The modern human being, Homo sapiens, is the highest achievement of our Mater naturae, mainly due to the incredible development of his brain, whose 100 billion electrochemically active neurons, interconnected by trillions of synapses, enabled the appearance of fascinating cognitive phenomena: consciousness, thinking, intelligence, judgment, planning, memory, emotions, and specific individual and social behavior, including speech as the most sophisticated and complex type of communication [1-5]. Such cognitive abilities have enabled our species to own a virtually unlimited activity and a fascinating creativity, due to which it became the dominant species on earth.

PBased on this, some people believe that humans are “the masters of the Globe” [6] and supreme beings, something like Nietzsche’s Übermensch or “overman.” As such, they can rule nature and even overcome it. However, the present review will show that the mentioned opinions are, more or less, far from the truth. The main goal of our study is to point out that, in spite of our dominance over other species and we are only part of the rest of nature and, like other living creatures and we have to struggle for our survival in natural ecosystems and within our own societies. Finally, we shall illustrate some scientific facts by corresponding photographs and drawings, and by mentioning works of artists who always react to important natural or social events [7].

Humans, Inorganic Nature and the Living World

There is a multitude of natural threats in many regions of the earth. A sudden volcanic activity can kill thousands of people, as happened, for example, in the Roman town of Pompeii in the 1st century AD [8]. The earthquake, which struck China in 1556, caused about 830,000 deaths, i.e. the largest number ever [9]. The earthquake in 2004 in the Indian Ocean produced a tsunami, which killed more than 200,000 local people and foreign tourists [10], and the 2011 postearthquake tsunami in Japan produced almost 20,000 casualties. In addition, floods, landslides, tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires (Figure 1) and similar events, cause the loss of thousands of lives all over the world each year.