Scientists have concluded that the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs created sunless days and an 18-month winter, set off earthquakes, giant tsunamis and triggered volcanoes. The impact sent clouds of debris and sulphur into Earth’s atmosphere, blocking the sun’s light and warmth for about two years. According to science journalist and TIME editor Bryan Walsh, that makes mushrooms crucial for human survival if such an apocalyptic event were to occur in the future.

Walsh’s new book,”End Times,” examines how catastrophic events, both natural and human-made, threaten our existence. In it, he points out that three types of potential catastrophes — asteroid impacts, super-volcano eruptions, and nuclear war — all have one thing in common: they could wind up blocking the sunlight needed to feed plants.

“Blot out the sun, and even the best-prepared survivalist, a master of the wilderness, will starve to death along with everyone else,” Walsh writes in the book.

In order to survive, he says, people would need to adopt sunlight-free agriculture — cultivating mushrooms, rats, and insects.

The mushroom cultivation solution in Walsh’s book comes from David Denkenberger, a civil engineer who suggested it in a 2014 book about post-apocalyptic agriculture, called “Feeding Everyone No Matter What”.

Mr Denkenberger told Mr Walsh: “Maybe when humans go extinct the world will be ruled by fungi again.

“Why don’t we just eat the mushrooms and not go extinct?”

If clouds of debris or ash were to blot out the sun and lead the climate to cool rapidly, trillions of trees would die.

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Humans wouldn’t be able to digest that dead wood, of course, but mushrooms could, they do not need photosynthesis to survive.

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Or eventually feeding the rest to themselves in a extremely nightmarish situation.

Mr Denkenberger told Mr Walsh said: ”The ground-up leaves could be made into tea to provide missing nutrients like vitamin C, or fed to ruminant animals like cows or rats.”

The fossil record shows that fungi thrived in the aftermath of the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs and created an explosion over 6,500 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that the US dropped on Hiroshima.

About 66 million years ago, an asteroid plummeted through Earth’s atmosphere and crashed into the sea floor, creating an explosion over 6,500 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima.

Incidents from the past reveal that the hell like conditions have visited humanity before.

About 74,000 years ago, the Toba supervolcano eruption sent clouds of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, cutting sunlight by as much as 90 percent.

That volcanic winter might have reduced the global human population to just 3,000 people, based on one analysis.

If enough nuclear bombs (thousands of them) were to explode, that could also bring on a nuclear winter that would reduce sunlight levels by more than 90%, according to a 1983 paper co-authored by Carl Sagan.

Without sunlight, in other words, our food system would break down.

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