Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 18: And we must not ponder the state of other beings in the world but man, since man is the center of Creation, as will be written below (item 39). And all other creatures do not have any value of their own but to the extent that they help man achieve his perfection. Hence, they rise and fall with him without any consideration of themselves.
All the creatures on the levels of the still, vegetative, and animate nature have no value of their own; they cannot correct themselves, and so they ascend and descend together with man. This means that man discovers that the whole universe, including all the flora and fauna on earth, are in man without any expectation for themselves, just as corporeal body contains all the previous stages of nature.
So to the extent that I correct my desire on the speaking level, all the desires of the levels of the still, vegetative, and animate nature are included in this correction. I actually feel that they are included in me, regardless of their external existence. After all, I have been through these desires and so they have also have been corrected and some of them have disappeared.
The dinosaurs disappeared millions of years ago and are extinct, and today different species of plants and animals are also disappearing, but scientists are discovering many new species that we didn’t know about before. This is all a projection of what is happening with our desires, so we shouldn’t panic that the human race may also become extinct. Several desires in us have simply been corrected and have been exhausted, have ended the cycle of their role and have disappeared. There is no need for them anymore, and so they “return to dust.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/11/13, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar”