Articles Biology Catastrophe Consciousness Courage Environmental Externalities Extinctions Family Future Ingenious Longevity Science Seeds Technology

Humans Could Recolonize Earth After Mass Extinctions With Ectogenesis by Matthew R. Edwards

I suggest there is a way to save humanity and Earth life, not only from our present follies but from most or all of the natural disasters too—even ones in the far future. You might imagine this to be even more unlikely than the absurd rescue missions in apocalypse movies. Yet the critical first steps toward a successful long-term survival plan may already have been taken. The core idea is this. While humans, animals and plants would perish in a sufficiently powerful mass extinction event, their cryopreserved embryos and plant seeds might survive. These could be stored in deep underground bunkers for short-duration events and in fully automated, orbiting spacecraft for long-duration and far future events. After favorable surface conditions had returned to Earth after an apocalypse event, the embryos would be thawed out and raised using the emerging assisted reproduction techniques of ectogenesis: development of embryos to neonates outside the natural womb. The newborn humans and animals would then be raised by android guardians and farmers. We already know that human babies can be born from embryos that had been cryopreserved after in vitro fertilization for twenty years, but in theory, this period could be thousands or even millions of years. Arctic rotifers—microscopic, multicellular animals—have recently been revived after being in a frozen state for 24,000 years. Even more amazingly, unfrozen bacterial species recovered from anoxic, deep sea deposits were revived after existing in a suspended state for over 100 million years.

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