Most Dangerous Animals

Ivica Miskovic has an interesting list on the Amazing Nature blog. These lists are always open to argument, but Miskovic's effort is a good starting point.

A reader of that blog notes that humans are more dangerous to humans than anything on Miskovic's list. This is one of those claims that sounds intuitively true, but it really depends on what you count. If deaths caused by environmental damage, traffic, household accidents, and other more or less non-aggressive actions count, then we humans are definitely our own worst enemies.

But if you mean deaths caused by some direct action, it's a close race. As Miskovic notes, mosquitoes cause something like 2 million deaths a year by spreading malaria. Some estimates would put this number as high as 2.7 million. There are plenty of other mosquito-borne diseases to take into account, like Dengue fever and yellow fever, though admittedly these other diseases kill far fewer people than malaria does.

By comparison, the combined human mortality from war, crime, and police action in 2000 was "only"
1,659,000. So this accounting wins us a probable second place finish.

Of course there are many other ways to look at it. For example, do we count human-borne diseases in our total? It seems only fair, since the only serious problem mosquitoes cause is to spread disease. AIDS almost always comes to its victims from other people, and that disease, in itself, would add 2.9 million annual deaths to our total.

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