As if everything currently going on in the world is not terrifying and depressing enough, apparently, scientists now believe the human race could face extinction sooner than we think. That's just great news, right? Wrong.
But let's try to really get to the bottom of it. WTF is going on?
Well, researchers have allegedly found a pretty huge drop in the sperm counts of men living in Western countries — Australia and New Zealand, Europe, and North America, to be exact. And the worst case scenario from this finding could be extinction. If you're not sure how scientists got to that conclusion, here's a little rundown: If the sperm count in men continues to drop, it could be harder and harder for people to conceive and reproduce later on.
Basically, the BBC reports that researchers, lead by Dr. Hagai Levine, studied the results of 185 studies between 1973 and 2011 and came to the conclusion that sperm counts among men have cut in half in less than 40 years in the regions mentioned above.
If you're freaking out, don't worry. You're not the only one. Dr. Levine, an epidemioligist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told the BBC that he is "very worried" that if this trend continues, it could lead to extinction for the human race.
In his findings, Dr. Levine reported a 52.4 percent drop in sperm concentration and a 59.3 percent decrease in sperm count in men who lived in the specified regions. And the study thinks these declines will only continue over time at the rate we're going.
Even though there was no significant decline reported in South America, Asia or Africa, Dr. Levine worries that it's only a matter of time before sperm counts fall in those regions as well.
So what are we supposed to do about this? Do we believe this stuff, or is it just a bunch of BS?
Well, the BBC also reports that there are researchers unaffiliated with the study who admire its thorough research but still think it's a little too soon for people to be throwing the E word around (E word being "extinction" for those of you who aren't keeping up).
There have been other studies making similar claims of declines in sperm count in the past, but other researchers say most of them missed the mark when it came to accuracy. For example, there were some that didn't include enough men, or some that did include enough men, but the men they included were attending fertility clinics already, which may have contributed to their lower sperm counts.
Another concern the BBC cites is that the types of studies that show a decline in sperm count only feel relevant because they're published more than studies that don't come to the same conclusion. But whether we buy into it or not, the internet, as always, didn't let us down with some poignant thoughts on the matter.
There were these people who handled the news with some dry humor.
This person put out a pertinent PSA.
This person dropped some freaky pop culture KNOWLEDGE.
So, yeah. Not much else to say here... other than AHHHHHHHHH!