The world’s human population has grown over the last few hundred years, from our estimate of one billion in 1804 to seven billion in 2017. During this time, concerns have been raised that our numbers could increase our ability to produce food, leading to widespread famine. Some – the Malthusians – even took the view that as soon as the resources ran out, the population would “control” itself through the death of the population until a sustainable population came. As it happens, advances in agriculture, changes in agriculture and new agricultural technologies have given us enough food to feed 10 billion people and how food has been distributed in a way that has caused widespread famine and starvation.
As we use our resources and the climate crisis gets worse, things can change – but for now, we’ve always been able to produce more food than we need, even if we don’t have the will or ability to deliver it. The answer – according to his study – was soon cannibalism followed by an apocalypse. John B. Calhoun developed a series of experiments that basically met every need of rats and then tracked the effects of time on the population. The most infamous of the experiments was named, quite dramatically, the Universe 25.
In this study, he took four breeding rats and placed them inside a “utopia”. The environment was created to eliminate problems that could lead to wildlife deaths. They can access unlimited food through 16 food hoppers accessed through the tunnel, which can feed 25 rats together and a bottle of water just above.
Nesting material was provided. The weather was kept at 68°F (20°C), which is the temperature of the mouse among those of you who are not rats. The rats were selected for their health, obtained from the National Institutes of Health, and extreme care was taken to prevent any disease in the universe.
As well as this, no predator was present in the utopia, as its causes stand. It’s not often that anything is described as a “utopia,” but there were also lions that were picking us up one by one. The experiment began, and as you might expect, the rats used a time that was usually wasted for food and shelter for excessive sexual intercourse. After about 55 days, the population doubled as the rats filled the most desirable space in the pen, where access to the food tunnel was easy.