It's happened before...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7093685.stm
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several past civilizations such as the Anastazi (sp?) in the American Southwest that failed for similar reasons. A great and somewhat scary read. What fools our leaders seem to be. EDS
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Not just *our* leaders. There's the case of Easter Island too.
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Greenland who would not change their lifestyle (cows and sheep) and died off when the climate got cooler in the 14th century and ships from Europe could not reach them. He has several example of civilizations that did change their ways and are still around (Japan in the 16th century, some Pacific islands). EDS
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Anasasi, IIRC.
Just for grins: "anastas-" is a Russian word-component referring to the Ressurection, often used as a name, esp. "Anastasia".

Compare to microbes in a Petri dish containing blood-agar. When you do a bacterial culture, you use a pre-sized loopto deliver an amount of innoculated medium onto a Petri plate, and then progressively streak it out to obtain isolated colonies that can then be used for the purposed of identification and determination of antibiotic resistance (and further study, if desired). If you leave the plates in the incubater (as opposed to sending them to the autoclave), you can see the colonies grow and grow until either all the nutrients (blood) are used up (plate turns from red, to the translucent agar color plus some discoloration due to by-products of the blood digestion), or sometimes, the colonies will spread and spread untile the surface of the plate is covered, and occasionally, creep partway up the sides of the dish.
Kid of perverse, in a way, that humans are often no smarter, en masse, than bacteria...
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