Study Finds People Bothered More by Zebra Extinction than Human Extinction

In October, researchers from the University of Oxford published a paper in the journal Scientific Reports on the topic of human extinction, and concluded that more people are bothered by the total extinction of zebras than the total extinction of human beings.

Researchers polled more than 2,500 people in the U.S. and the U.K. and asked them to rank three scenarios from best to worst: No major catastrophe, a catastrophe that destroys 80 percent of human life, and a catastrophe that results in the total extinction of humans.

Naturally, most of the respondents favored no major catastrophe. However, the study revealed that a majority of respondents preferred complete human extinction to losing 80 percent of humanity.
Researchers then asked the same question, substituting animal species for homo sapiens, and the majority of respondents perceived the total extinction of all zebras as being worse than the loss of 80 percent of the zebra population.

According to researchers, the explanation is that people considered how partial human extinction would impact the surviving 20 percent of humans before answering the question, whereas the same level of contemplation was not given before answering the question about animal extinction.