Fair warning to any biblical literalists among you - we're going to talk about actual historical record stuff in a moment and it's probably not going to make you happy. Might I suggest you divert your attention to looking at the picture of either Markie Post or Ryan Gosling or both, depending on where your personal interests lie.*
*It's not about judging, people.
So the other day I was listening to MPR where they were having a fairly interesting conversation about the currently ongoing 'Sixth Extinction'.*
*Fun fact - the race in danger of going extinct is actually us.
It turns out that over the course of natural history, pretty much the entire population of the planet has all been wiped out in one fell swoop on five separate occasions. The most recent and most well known about being when the dinosaurs all shuffled off the mortal coil as a result of Cybermen chucking mathematicians at the planet.
The really interesting part was that looking back, the mass extinctions appear to have been caused by something entirely different on each occasion. They were each a unique event brought on by something completely unknown before that time. This is because by and large the planet and the habitable environments thereon are only capable of changing so fast. If change occurs any faster than that threshold then all the beings living here are pretty much screwed.
The really really interesting part is that the unexpected event currently threatening us is our own cleverness. That is to say, the planet has never before had to tolerate creatures clever enough to actively screw with the environment around them. Which then brings into question the likelihood of there actually being any intelligent species out there in the universe that manage to exist long enough to develop faster than light travel without first accidentally blowing themselves up while trying to work whatever their alien equivalent of Netflix is.
Obviously, the most important question here is what the implications of this are for Firefly.
Answers in essay form, please