So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
In the evolutionary epic that is the natural history of the world, the social insects and man have come to dominate their ecosystems in ways that were largely unprecedented. The two rapidly arrived on the scene, and changed the entire biosphere because of their existence. However, whereas the social insects changed their ecosystems over the course of tens of millions of years, still quite the achievement, humanity changed it in tens of thousands of years.
In The Social Conquest of Earth, Edward O. Wilson writes about the effects that humanity has had on the natural world compared to another quickly radiating set of species, the social insects:
The social insects, which currently rule the invertebrate land environment, mostly evolved into existence well over 100 million years ago. Estimates made by specialists are mid-Triassic, or 220 million years ago, for the termites; Late Triassic to Early Cretaceous, about 150 million years ago for the ants; and for the bumblebees and honey bees, Late Cretaceous, approximately 70-80 million years ago. Thereafter and for the remainder of the Mesozoic era, the diversity of the species in the several evolving lines increased in concert with the rise and spread of flowering plants. Still, ants and termites acquired their present spectacular dominance among the land-dwelling invertebrates only after they had been around for a long period of time. Their full power was achieved gradually, one innovation at a time, reaching its current levels between 65 and 50 million years ago.
As the swarms of ants and termites spread around the world, many other terrestrial invertebrates coevolved with them and, as a result, not only survived but prospered. Plants and animals evolved defenses against their depredations. Many became specialized to rely on ants, termites, and bees as food. These predators even included pitcher plants, sundews, and other plants able to trap and digest large numbers to add to the nutrients obtained from the soil. A vast array of plant and animal species formed intimate symbioses with the social insects, accepting them as partners. A large percentage came to depend entirely on them for survival, variously as prey, symbionts, scavengers, pollinators, or turners of the soil.
Overall, the pace of evolution of ants and termites was slow enough to be balanced by counterevolution in the rest of life. As a result, these insects were not able to tear down the rest of terrestrial biosphere by force of numbers, but became vital elements of it. The ecosystems they dominate today are not only sustainable but dependent on them.
In sharp contrast, human beings of the single species Homo sapiens emerged in the last several hundred thousand years and spread around the world only during the last sixty thousand years. There was not stime for us to coevolve with the rest of the biosphere. Other species were not prepared for the onslught. This shortfall soon had dire consequences for the rest of life (Wilson 2012, 14-15).
That being said, let's not take ourselves all too seriously: