The Human Story

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The Stages of Human Development: From Birth (Cradle) to Death (Grave)

Iftar Celebration
Photo Credit: By Nazrul Islam Ripon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


One View of 21st Century Human Life (Year 2016 A.D.)

Life Stages
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by Lance Cheung | 2016 Iftar Celebration

In an effort to grasp a deeper understanding of the meaning of life, different cultures and different peoples of the Earth have devised their unique origin-of-humankind stories. In the West and in the Middle East, for instance, followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam generally ascribe to the origin-of-humankind story contained in the Book of Genesis. The following video depicts the Book of Genesis' origin-of-humankind story.

Watch [Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-3)]

Again, I wish to reiterate and make it crystal clear to the reader that you will never hear me proclaim that there exists no God. Despite whatever religious contradictions might come to light in the future and have come to light from the past, there is no disputing that nobody on Earth knows with 100% certainty what exists out there in the vast Universe.

Science has devised its own origin-of-humankind story. After carefully examining known fossil records, most scientists have concluded that the human story or saga almost certainly began in Africa. There is broad consensus among scientists that the ancestral ground or the cradle of humankind resides in Africa. It is a tribute to the endurance of humankind's African ancestors that humans of today exist. There are all kinds of extinction-inducing pressures placed on living things all of the time on Earth as they struggle to survive and flourish. Humans' African ancestors seem to have withstood and overcome these extinction-inducing challenges and pressures thousands of years ago.

A sometimes not so subtle degree of tension, contempt, conflict, and controversy has emerged within the human family. This tension has surfaced due to both religious differences between humans and science-versus-religion kinds of disputes. For instance, followers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism generally believe that the world and the first humans began about 6,000 years ago dating back to about 4000 BC (Before Christ). Science, on the other hand, places the date for the emergence of modern humans to as far back as 200,000 years ago. There is an obvious conflict between science and religion because both dates cannot be correct (that is, either humans appeared on Earth around 4000 BC according to religious doctrine or humans appeared on Earth about 200,000 years ago according to scientific doctrine). The fossil evidence appears to support the scientific version of human her/history.

It is worth noting that, in terms of understanding the meaning of life including the what, the when, and the why of how the world works, the human enterprise of science itself is like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. Scientists are fast and hard at work trying to fit together these trillions of puzzle pieces to form a complete picture of everything there is to know about existence. Occasionally, scientist do think that they have found a puzzle piece that fits only to find out later that it was not the correct piece after all. Scientists, after tedious and rigorous research, simply proceed to remove the wrong puzzle piece and eventually insert the correct puzzle piece in its place (for instance, Albert Einstein's refinement of Sir Isaac Newton's description of gravity). Also worthy of noting is this: The human enterprise of science is not always a slam dunk, bullet-proof, infallible enterprise. For instance, scientists still do not clearly understand the evolution of gender. How did some species suddenly contain male and female counterparts? Scientists, for instance, also do not clearly understand the origins of the Earth's abundant supply of water. Peering across the Solar System, where did all of the Earth's water come from?

What if the scientists are correct about human origins? The implications are monumental if scientists are correct. One implication of this bit of scientific knowledge is this: It calls into the question the legitimacy of the very foundation on which some religious faiths are based such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Where does it leave the followers of these three religious faiths when their core beliefs are contradicted by scientific evidence? How do religious followers reconcile or come to terms with contradictions to their faiths raised by science? Nobody wants to be taught something which is not true—even something so sacred as religion. This ongoing human reconciliation between religious teachings and scientific discoveries is but one of the many tough, sensitive, uneasy, and controversial realities with which contemporary humans must contend. Humans have to weigh the scientific evidence and calibrate their belief systems based on which versions of reality make the most sense. One thing is certain, and it is this: You can rest assured that the Earth will not spinning on its axis, and the Sun will not stop shining simply because there exist some unresolved metaphysical contradictions and differences within the human family. Life will go on, and the Earth will continue in its nonstop orbit around the Sun.

From the perspective of being the first humans to appear on Earth, the Africans have had a significant evolutionary head start. It is a contemporary irony—and perhaps a sort of cruel twist of fate—for the present-day inhabitants of Africa to be among the least economically developed peoples on Earth. It is believed that one of the principal and critical drivers of differences within the human family is the occurrence of genetic mutations over long periods of time. Of course, given the dire warnings about climate change, it can be argued that the notion of slow economic development might be a good thing. It can be argued that slow economic development is one way to preserve the Earth's environment, ecology, and atmosphere in pristine condition for millions of years into the future. It can be argued that simple, hunter-gatherer types of lifestyles would less likely lead to the destruction of life on Earth, say, by the more scientifically and technologically advanced human societies unleashing some sort of human-engineered biological pandemic across Earth or by the more scientifically and technologically advanced human societies unleashing nuclear bombs across Earth.

Equally, it can be counter-argued that modernity is the savior of the human species. For instance, it can be counter-argued that the advent of scientific and technological discoveries have combated and/or eradicated many infectious diseases such as Ebola, which can rapidly spread within and decimate human populations. If it were not for scientific and technological advancements to provide humans with, say, medicines and clean drinking water, then the human lifespan would be much shorter.

The following timeline and videos represent a recap of the scientific version of the origins of life on Earth, in general, and the human story, in particular. Note the billions, millions, and thousands of years involved before reaching the more recent human story. The scientific name for humans is Homo sapiens, which means wise humans. Contemporary 21st century humans are scientifically known as Homo sapiens sapiens, which means very wise humans.

Origins Timeline

Numeral 1

Nature Timeline (via Wikimedia Commons)

Universe TimelineThe Origin of the Universe (The Scientific Perspective)
Numeral 2

Life Timeline (via Wikimedia Commons)

Life on Earth TimelineThe Origin of Life on Earth (The Scientific Perspective)
Numeral 3

Human Timeline (via Wikimedia Commons)

Human TimelineThe Origin of Humans (The Scientific Perspective)
Numeral 4

Human Evolution Timeline (via Wikimedia Commons)

Human Evolution TimelineThe Evolution of Modern Humans (The Scientific Perspective)

Watch (Great Transitions: The Origin of Humans - HHMI BioInteractive Video)


Watch (Top 10 World Empires)


Watch (Visualizing Empires Decline)


Watch (What Happened Before History? Human Origins)


Watch (Richard Dawkins: Who Was the First Human?)


Watch (Our Story In 6 Minutes)

Some additional human-related timelines can be viewed here:

  1. Timeline | African Fossils
  2. Human Evolution Timeline Interactive | The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program
  3. The Human Lineage Through Time | Becoming Human
  4. Evolution: Humans: Humankind
  5. World History : HyperHistory : Prehistory
  6. World History Timeline: 4.3 million Years Ago (YA) to 12,000 BCE (BC)

BLAME GAME

Pivoting from human origins of the distant past and fast forwarding to contemporary human life in the 21st century, I wish to conclude this page by focusing on contemporary human gender relations. The back-and-forth assertions between the sexes seem to never end. She bemoans that he mistreated her and left her with a broken heart, or he decries that she did him wrong and left him with a broken heart. The moral of the gender stories depicted in the next bloc of videos is this: When it comes trouble in romantic paradise, there is more than enough blame, heartache, and pain to go around on both the male and female side of the gender equation. It's a two-way street of give and take, so to speak. The objective always is for the sexes to reach a harmonious equilibrium, but often it turns out to be more of a tightrope-like balancing feat. When it comes to romantic love, couples sometimes find themselves facing all kinds of challenging, awkward, stressful, and taxing situations.

Watch (Marvin Gaye, Turn On Some Music)


Watch (Erick Sermon featuring Marvin Gaye, Music)


Watch (Common, The Light)


Watch (Erykah Badu, Other Side Of The Game)


Watch (Eve featuring Alicia Keys, Gangsta Lovin')


Watch (LL Cool J, Luv U Better)


Watch (Auburn featuring Iyaz, La, La, La)


Watch (Portrait, Here We Go Again)


Watch (Nivea featuring Brian Casey and Brandon Casey, Don't Mess With My Man)


Watch (Whitney Houston featuring Faith Evans and Kelly Price, Heartbreak Hotel)


Watch (Gorilla Zoe, Echo)


Watch (The Isley Brothers featuring R. Kelly and Chante Moore, Contagious)


Watch (Jill Scott, Gettin' In The Way)


Watch [Bell Biv DeVoe, Poison (Remix)]


Watch (Total featuring Missy Elliott and Timbaland, What About Us)


Watch (R.O.D. featuring Freeway, Can't Stand You)


Watch (Sparkle, Time To Move On)


Watch (Chris Brown featuring Tyga and Kevin McCall, Deuces)


Watch (LeToya Luckett featuring Ludacris, Regret)


Watch (Trey Songz, Can't Help But Wait)


Watch (Carl Thomas, I Wish)


Watch (Tyrese, How You Gonna Act Like That)


Watch (Princess, After The Love Has Gone)


Watch (Dwele, Find A Way)


Watch (Whitney Houston, Exhale)


Watch (Stevie Wonder, Ordinary Pain)


Watch (Stevie Wonder, Another Star)

INSPIRATIONAL MOMENT

To be a truly wise and civilized species, it means humans must find a way to elevate their conduct to the highest ethical plane on a day-to-day basis. Being civilized means the opposite of being barbaric or living like savages. Humans have got to overcome their seeming obsession and preoccupation with murdering one another. Humans have got to find a way to take their minds off killing. The inspirational meaning behind the following closing videos is this: As humans move forward into the future and as humans begin preparing for 22nd century living, they must abandon business as usual on Earth. Humans must find a way to pick up the pieces of a bad situation and peacefully "Turn It Into Something Good."

Ultimately, humans must transform the entirety of Earth into some type of lush and bountiful paradise for all humans to enjoy each day.

Watch (Lou Rawls, Trade Winds)


Watch (Earth, Wind & Fire, Take It To The Sky)


Watch (Stevie Wonder, I Go Sailing)


Watch (Stevie Wonder, Conversation Peace)


Watch (Stevie Wonder featuring India.Arie and Sir Paul McCartney, A Time To Love)

THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE ON EARTH

It is tempting—and perhaps a bit premature and foolhardy—for humans to declare its species as the masters of Earth. If anything, perhaps insects are the true masters of Earth. Insects have inhabited the Earth long before the humans arrived. Insects most likely will inhabit the Earth—and plants, too—long after the humans are gone.

One truth about life on Earth is this: The Universe is no more concerned about the survival of humans than it is about the survival of, say, fishes. The Universe does not care anything at all about human survival or even about Earth's survival. The destructive forces of Mother Nature throughout the Universe know not prejudice and discrimination whereby one species is favored over the other one. The destructive forces of Mother Nature, when manifested, tend to wreak all kinds of havoc and woe on affected humans and other organisms regardless of geographic location, nationality, race, age, religious affiliation, gender, species, and so forth. Another truth about life on Earth is this: Except plants, organisms must devour one another for sustenance, which is also known as the food chain.

Granted, this page is about the human story. At the same time, I would like to emphasize and make it abundantly clear to the reader that Earth is a planet where a great many organisms thrive. Humans are but one of the numerous living organisms inhabiting Earth. For, in the words of Carl Sagan, Earth teems with all kinds of life. In addition to the human story, there are plenty of other species' stories that can be told. Earth is a planet on which a diverse array of interlinked organisms co-exist. In effect, humans' fellow organisms are depending on the reigning human organism, with its repository of high science and high technology, to not destroy the Earth's fragile atmosphere or to upset the Earth's delicate ecological balance. The following slideshow provides a snapshot of the diversity of life on Earth.

Diversity of Life Slideshow

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Viruses and Bacteria | by National Science Foundation (Photo Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation) slime mold (Photo Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation) cyanobacterium called Gloeotrichia echinulata (Photo Credit: Dr. Barry Rosen, U.S. Geological Survey) ciliate T. pyriformis [protozoan] (Photo Credit: National Institute of Standards and Technology) microalgae (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy) Unidentified plankton (Photo Credit: Dr. John R. Dolan, Laboratoire d'Oceanographique de Villefranche; Observatoire Oceanologique de Villefrance-sur-Mer) seeds (Photo Credit: Ritesh Man, U.S. Department of Agriculture) Seqouia gigantea (Photo Credit: Dr. John Cloud, Historian, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Central Library) forest habitat (Photo Credit: Fundacion Natura Bolivia 02-8-BO-2274) El Yunque National Rain Forest, Puerto Rico (Photo Credit: Roy Hewitt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region) Delmarva Peninsula hardwood and pine trees (Photo Credit: Ryan Hagerty, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region) trees (Photo Credit: U.S. Geological Survey) trees (Photo Credit: Garry Tucker, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service) trees (Photo Credit: Larry Crist, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie) Indonesian Forest (Photo Credit: USAID/Danumurthi Mahendra) Cypress trees at Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge (Photo Credit: Ray Paterra, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Fruit trees (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture) Virgin Islands National Park (VINP) on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands (Photo Credit: Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; Kaitlin Kovacs, USGS) Streams and greenery (Photo Credit: Danny Hart, USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency Desert National Wildlife Refuge in southern Nevada (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region) Pines Trail at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge along the NC-VA (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters) A tree blossoms near the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washngton, D.C. on Wednesday, March 25, 2016  (Photo Credit: Lance Cheung, U.S. Department of Agriculture) Part of Siletz Bay NWR (Photo Credit: Jennifer Winston, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Still water and greenery (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region) desert brush (Photo Credit: Terry Eiler, The U.S. National Archives) Department of Agriculture People's Garden in Washington, DC (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture Wetlands and their plants (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Water in the Fields (Photo Credit: Jennifer Bunker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) plants (Photo Credit: Kelly Ramundo, USAID) grass (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture) Grass blowing in the wind (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy) Greenery at Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) mosses and flowers covering the granite Green County, Georgia (Photo Credit: Clare Callahan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region) moss-covered slopes of Unalaska Island, over Captains Bay (Photo Credit: Mr. Tom Ward NOAA Teacher at Sea Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) tree-ruffle liverwort (Photo Credit:  Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge Fern Glade (Photo Credit: Ken Sturm, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) water chestnuts (Photo Credit: Maddie List, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) flowering plants (Photo Credit: Erin Morales, USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency) flower (Photo Credit: Lance Cheung, U.S. Department of Agriculture) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service desert sunflowers (Photo Credit: Joanna Gilkeson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Lotus flower (Photo Credit:  Tim Brown, U.S. Department of State) flowers (Photo Credit: George Gentry, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) pollinator plant (Photo Credit: Lance Cheung, U.S. Department of Agriculture) salmon berries (Photo Credit: Christine McCaffery, Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) strawberry (Photo Credit: Lance Cheung, U.S. Department of Agriculture) landscape on Desert National Wildlife Refuge (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region) blue-eyed grass (Photo Credit: Tom Koener, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Slime mold (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Butt-rot fungus Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unknown dune fungus (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fungus (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy) sponge (Photo Credit: Twilight Zone Expedition Team 2007, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-OE.) nudibranch shell-less mollusk (Photo Credit: Greg McFall, NOAA's National Ocean Service) mussels (Photo Credit: Pacific Ring of Fire 2004 Expedition. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration; Dr. Bob Embley, NOAA PMEL, Chief Scientist) methane ice worms (Photo Credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition) roundworm (Photo Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) spider (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) sea spider (Photo Credit:  Scott C. France, Bahamas Deep-Sea Corals 2009 Exploration, NOAA-OER) bee on pink flower (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture) winged ant (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) wasp (Photo Credit: Jim Hudgins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region) tiger beetle (Photo Credit: Sam Droege, U.S. Geological Survey) Asian Longhorned Beetles (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture) Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Photo Credit:  Alex Galt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region) fly (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Monarch caterpillar (Photo Credit: Michelle Woodson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region) Monarch butterfly (Photo Credit: George Gentry, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) salmon eggs (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) crayfish (Photo Credit: Chris Lukhaup, U.S. Forest Service) sea urchin (Photo Credit: David Burdick, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration jellyfish (Photo Credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program) fishes (Photo Credit: Bonaire 2008 - Exploring Coral Reef Sustainability with New Technologies.; NOAA/OAR/OER) bull frog (Photo Credit: Bill Buchanan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region) tiger salamander (Photo Credit: Caitlin Smith, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region) turtle (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region) snake (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) alligator (Photo Credit: Larry Rana, U.S. Department of Agriculture) avocet birds (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters) waterfowl at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (Photo Credit: Dan Severson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) tern diving (Photo Credit: Barry Newberger, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) mallard duck (Photo Credit: Courtney Celley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region) snow geese (Photo Credit: Amanda Horvath, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie) Crested Auklet seabird in the rain (Photo Credit: R. Dugan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) short-tailed albatross chick survives major storm (Photo Credit: J. Klavitter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) cattle egret (Photo Credit: Krista Lundgren, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) chicken (Photo Credit: Peace Corps) spotted owl chicks (Photo Credit: Tom Kogutus, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Great horned owl (Photo Credit: Randolph Femmer, U.S. Geological Survey) bison (Photo Credit: Trevor Cyphers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region) dolphin (Photo Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) humpback whales (Photo Credit: Dr. Louis M. Herman, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) penguins (Photo Credit: John B. Weller, courtesy of The Pew Charitable Trusts) manatee (Photo Credit: U.S. Geological Survey - Sirenia Project) squirrel (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) elk (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) deer (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) elk (Photo Credit: Lori Iverson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) seal (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) ferret (Photo Credit: Ryan Moehring, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) river rat (Photo Credit: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) mice (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy) walrus (Photo Credit: Sarah Sonsthagen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) lion (Photo Credit: Sam Cushman, U.S. Department of Agriculture) fox (Photo Credit: Kristine Sowl, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) llama (Photo Credit: Peace Corps) mountain goats (Photo Credit: Jeff Drahota, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) moose (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) kangaroos (Photo Credit: Central Intelligence Agency - The World Factbook) cattle (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture) opossum (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) polar bear (Photo Credit: Eric Regehr, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) bear (Photo Credit: Kristine Sowl, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) camels (Photo Credit: Pact/Abraham Ali, USAID in Africa) elephants (Photo Credit: Peace Corps) monkeys (Photo Credit: Peace Corps) chimpanzees (Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher, USAID and the Wildlife Conservation Society) orangutan (Photo Credit: USAID Indonesia) mountain gorilla (Photo Credit: Richard Ruggiero, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) dog (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture) cat (Photo Credit: President Clinton, 1993-2001, White House Photograph Office) human (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture) humans (Photo Credit: Richard Nyberg, USAID) humans (Photo Credit: Peace Corps) humans (Photo Credit: NASA) Los Angeles Skyline (Photo Credit: USFS Region 5) Destructive Forces of Nature | hurricane damage (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Destructive Forces of Nature | flooding (Photo Credit: Don Becker, U.S. Geological Survey) Destructive Forces of Nature | fire (Photo Credit: Sgt. Jesica Geffre, U.S. Army) Destructive Forces of Nature | earthquake and tsunami damage (Photo Credit: Lance Cpl. Brennan O'Lowney, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Department of Defense) Destructive Forces of Nature | mudslide (Photo Credit: Susan Cannon,  U.S. Geological Survey) Destructive Forces of Nature | earthquake (Photo Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord, U.S. Navy) Destructive Forces of Nature | hurricane damage (Photo Credit: Barbara Ambrose, NOAA/NODC/NCDDC) Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: US Air Force) Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Michael B. Keller, U.S. Air Force) Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: Samuel King Jr., U.S. Air Force) Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III, U.S. Air Force) Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: National Nuclear Security Administration Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture | U.S. Forest Service) Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection) Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection) Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: US Air Force) Destruction by humans (Photo Credit: National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Health) Destruction by Nature | Sun flares (Photo Credit: NASA/SDO)






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