Are there examples of species that have driven themselves into extinction by being too good at what they are doing? Like a predator that evolves to hunt so efficiently that it kills all it's prey and then goes extinct itself.

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    $\begingroup$ Humans seem like they're on this course. You may be interested in predator-prey dynamics. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Mar 30 '17 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ There is evidence that lemming populations approach this in ~4-year cycles of population proliferation and crashing. They've rebounded through these cycles, so it's not quite an extinction example, but it shows that catastrophic success definitely has precedent. Here's a brief article on the relationship between predator-prey trends: vetmed.illinois.edu/wildlifeencounters/grade9_12/lesson2/…. $\endgroup$ – Harris Mar 30 '17 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ To elaborate on canadianer's comment, some groups of humans that have mysteriously "disappeared" are thought by some to have exhausted the natural resources they needed for survival. Though people still live in the Middle East, the region has changed dramatically since the days of the "Fertile Crescent," and ongoing warfare is only making things worse. Carl Sagan postulated a theory that intelligent life forms tend to evolve on various planets, then exterminate themselves. $\endgroup$ – David Blomstrom Mar 31 '17 at 2:00
  • $\begingroup$ Seems like there's a need to define "success". If a predator wipes out its own food source, is that really "success", or just a different kind of failure? If a human becomes wealthy and uses all of that money to eat McDonalds until they die, then would you say that they died from "success"? $\endgroup$ – Nat Mar 31 '17 at 3:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Nat It is a success in the species's ability to gather resources and proliferate. The failure is in both its predators and prey. I suppose it could be argued that it has a failure to adapt to starvation conditions, but in the case of lemmings at least, they evidently are adapted well enough to have some survivors and rebound. $\endgroup$ – Harris Mar 31 '17 at 13:28

yes, infectious bacteria are a good example, a highly destructive infection may often kill its host before it can spread the disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK27114/

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