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Say a species of animal suddenly became intelligent or able to overthrow humans to take over the world (like planet of the apes).

What can cause an animal to suddenly evolve like this (e.g. planet of the apes it was a virus)?

How many of this species would be required to successfully overthrow humans, could they win or our military resources just too big?

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closed as too broad by Pavel Janicek, Jorge Aldo, o.m., Magic-Mouse, Frostfyre Nov 1 '15 at 15:50

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  • $\begingroup$ The qestion of what would cause the species to be intellingent seems opinion based to me... $\endgroup$ – Pavel Janicek Nov 1 '15 at 13:12
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Very unlikely. If you mean another Earth species advancing enough to overtake us. First we'd be very likely to see a species gaining in intelligence and possibly sentience.

Next we are incredibly numerous and to overwhelm us all before we retaliated with our not insignificant weapons would be almost impossible. No other species has technology worth mentioning for a conflict.

Unless you think cats/dogs are positioning themselves to become our masters (cats already believe they are, who can blame them?)

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Backing up bowlturner, you've got a lot of problems here which together mean the answer is "no, this can't happen." You can get past them by authorial fiat, but if you want anything realistic it's not happening. So, the issues:

  • Another species evolving to sapience in the near future is wildly unlikely. Dolphins, pigs, some apes, and (I think) whales are very smart animals. If anything was going to evolve to sapience, it would be these. Dolphins and whales live in water and they have no hands, so they're never going to get any sort of technology. Threat to us: zero. Apes have hands, upright posture, and the ability to make sound (and therefore conceivably language), so it's possible.
  • Anything that does evolve to sapience, it's going to be a small number of individuals that make it at first. It will take a long time (hundreds to thousands of years at a minimum) for an entire species to attain sapience. We'll see it happening.
  • This new species will be either starting with Neolithic technology (if it was an ape somewhere out in the jungle) or they'll be in a cage / zoo. Either way, not a threat.

You can get past it with sheer phlebotinum if you want -- "the aliens came and seeded the planet with a virus that made every non-human lifeform intelligent". Maybe they dump some nanotech that creates processing nodes in the brains and bodies of ants|parrots|monkeys|etc to give them self-awareness. Why did they do this?

If it was insects that became sapient, maybe we've got a problem. They massively outnumber us, they can hide in the walls, many of them are organized, they breed really fast, they have some ability to manipulate their environment, and it's hard to kill all of them. Anything roughly human size, there just aren't enough of them to be threatening and, again, they lack hands.

One thing: don't make the mistake of having super-size insects. Square-cube law means that they couldn't lift their own weight and, since they 'breathe' through spiracles instead of lungs, they couldn't get enough oxygen to survive.

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  • $\begingroup$ Among the marine life a squid or octopus would be probably the best candidates to evolve into something intelligent given that they have those arms that can do lots of things. $\endgroup$ – Maxim Umansky Dec 25 '17 at 21:47
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Very likely

Several species of bacteria or virus can kill almost all or all the human kind.

And after that, another animal can take the control of the world, or just try to live with the world that the humans have left (which means: toxic waste, unmaintained buildings, etc.)

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