99% all the plant, animal, fungi, bacteria, you name it, has gone extinct since the beginning of life.
I give roaches a fighting chance since they have been here before us, and are likely to exist after us.
*wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockroach
Like all insects, the cockroach nervous system is decentralized, with some functions distributed in the ventral ganglia. Though decentralized, the insect nervous system is fundamentally similar to that of vertebrates in terms of development, structure, and mechanisms of function. A decapitated cockroach can still walk and show responses to stimulation of its legs, as can a spinal-transected cat on a treadmill. However, a cockroach can survive complete decapitation for up to several weeks before dying of starvation or dehydration.
Cockroaches are among the hardiest insects on the planet, some species capable of remaining active for a month without food, or being able to survive on limited resources like the glue from the back of postage stamps. Some can go without air for 45 minutes or slow down their heart rate. It is popularly suggested that cockroaches will "inherit the earth" if humanity destroys itself in a nuclear war. Cockroaches do indeed have a much higher radiation resistance than vertebrates, with the lethal dose perhaps 6 to 15 times that for humans. However, they are not exceptionally radiation-resistant compared to other insects, such as the fruit fly.
The cockroach's ability to withstand radiation better than human beings can be explained in terms of the cell cycle. Cells are most vulnerable to the effects of radiation when they are dividing. A cockroach's cells divide only once each time it molts, which is weekly at most in a juvenile roach. Since not all cockroaches would be molting at the same time, many would be unaffected by an acute burst of radiation, but lingering radioactive fallout would still be harmful.
So it will be a battle of dominance between them and the fruit fly. However, roaches are more numerous, and there are isolated populations all over the world (should humanity go pop).
Also, this is great as far as potential for evolution into sentience (if they're not already plotting our downfall):
Cockroaches live in a wide range of environments around the world. Pest species of cockroaches adapt readily to a variety of environments, but prefer warm conditions found within buildings. Many tropical species prefer even warmer environments and do not fare well in the average household.
The spines on the legs were earlier considered to be sensory, but observations of their locomotion on sand and wire meshes has demonstrated that they help in locomotion on difficult terrain. The structures have been used as inspiration for robotic legs.
Cockroaches leave chemical trails in their SPORE as well as emitting airborne pheromones for swarming and mating. Other cockroaches will follow these trails to discover sources of food and water, and also discover where other cockroaches are hiding. Thus, cockroaches can exhibit emergent behavior, in which group or swarm behavior emerges from a simple set of individual interactions.
Research has shown that group-based decision-making is responsible for complex behavior such as resource allocation. In a study where 50 cockroaches were placed in a dish with three shelters with a capacity for 40 insects in each, the insects arranged themselves in two shelters with 25 insects in each, leaving the third shelter empty. When the capacity of the shelters was increased to more than 50 insects per shelter, all of the cockroaches arranged themselves in one shelter. Researchers found a balance between cooperation and competition exists in group decision-making behavior found in cockroaches. The models used in this research can also explain the group dynamics of other insects and animals.
Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal and will run away when exposed to light. A peculiar exception is the Asian cockroach, which is attracted to light. Another study tested the hypothesis that cockroaches use just two pieces of information to decide where to go under those conditions: how dark it is and how many of their friends are there. The study conducted by José Halloy and colleagues at the Free University of Brussels and other European institutions created a set of tiny robots that to the roaches appear to be other roaches and can thus alter the roaches' perception of critical mass. The robots were also specially scented so that they would be accepted by the real roaches.
Additionally, researchers at Tohoku University engaged in a Classical Conditioning experiment with cockroaches and discovered that the insects were able to associate the scent of vanilla and peppermint with a sugar treat.
They may have begun their rise already - we're just a pest to them for now.
These earliest cockroach-like fossils ("Blattopterans" or "roachids") are from the Carboniferous period between 354–295 million years ago. However, these fossils differ from modern cockroaches in having long ovipositors and are the ancestors of mantids as well as modern cockroaches. The first fossils of modern cockroaches with internal ovipositors appear in the early Cretaceous.