View Full Version : Humanities Evolution
2004-Jul-22, 04:01 AM
What do you think humans will look like in a hundred-million years? I mean what kinds of evolution do you think we will undergo?
2004-Jul-22, 05:26 AM
That's pushing it too long into the future. Try, say, five million. Or less, even. If you've seen Bicentenial Man before, you'd notice our technology doesn't start "improving" into the futuristic look often seen in most scifi movies for three generations from now. We've got a long, long way to go...
2004-Jul-22, 07:34 AM
Starlab, Im not sure you understood my topic or I dont understand your post , but Im not talking about technology; Im talking about humanity's (spelling?) evolution in the future. Of course it depends on our environment. I mean if we lived in space we'd adapt to that , but what kinds of adaptions would we undergo? Thats what Im asking.
2004-Jul-22, 11:10 AM
It's impossible to say really. Ask me in a hundred million years. :P
2004-Jul-22, 02:32 PM
That's what I'm talking about too...I'm just pointing out that it won't take that long for us to "evolve." Ask Devilmech in 100 million. Ask me in one million.
2004-Jul-22, 02:44 PM
Well, nature no longer controls our evolution thanks to modern medicine. So I'd say that what we'll look like in 100 million years depends entirely on what kinds of genetic engineering technology emerges.
2004-Jul-22, 07:38 PM
Okay, I'll take a stab at it. As we are increasing our population faster than our ability to feed our third-world countries and thus we might be faced with a severe dimunition of foodstuff availability, we might need to evolve a way to directly convert sunlight into usable food. Plants certainly do that with photosynthesis. If our bodies could do that we would be more self-sufficient than we are now.
What do we need and how long does evolution take to satisfy that need? We evolved as four-legged creatures. Many of our GI-tract problems arise due to the fact that we are now upright two-legged creatures. We need to have our innards catch up to our outards. Hm. Did I just coin a word?
We use but a small portion of our brains. (Well, with an IQ of 186, I guess my wife uses more than most.) We need to evolve brain structures that allow greater brain-usage.
2004-Jul-23, 03:02 AM
Sorry, but I don't think we're going to make it. :(
And I'm an optomist...well, at least half the time.
2004-Jul-23, 03:53 AM
Obviously our evolution will help us adapt to our environment (people on Moon or Mars colonies may look different from people on Earth in the far future). As for something that could happen in the near future, we'll probably loose things that the modern human body has no use for, such as wisdom teeth, and the appendix.
2004-Jul-23, 03:54 AM
Or they'll become useful again. ;) :lol: :) B)
2004-Jul-23, 06:53 AM
I think that we will evolve to the point where we can use an apostrophe correctly when naming threads. Call it "grammatical evolution" if you will. :D
2004-Jul-23, 03:13 PM
Well apparently, just above, I had slipped into a temporary pessimist mode. I'm still willing to try the colony on Mars thing in an effort to increase the odds in our favor. Just in case that big asteroid in 2016 doesn't miss us. :P
2004-Jul-23, 03:40 PM
Maybe we really won't be there in a 100 million years. We are just one species, and we are so spread out now, that evolution will not take place without wars, of famines. We can use our brains to tackle problems, and aid less intelligent people. So, there is no natural selection. Maybe, in a hundred million years, IF we are still here, we will have changed so much from each other ( cross-breeding) that we won't be able to identify ourselves as the same species. Like dogs now.
2004-Jul-23, 05:47 PM
There are a number of interesting turns we as a species may take in the future, and the easiest ways to imagine the possibilities might be by looking at how humans have physically and socially evolved in the past.
First, for natural physical evolution you need isolated pockets of human culture, separated from outside influence for a number of generations, giving genetics the chance to "examine" the surroundings and then adapt. The case of the Hawaiian Rock Wallaby demonstrates that significant evolution can occur in only a handful of generations given the appropriate circumstances. Mars, or any other extraterrestrial human colony may well provide this isolation, especially if we find ourselves sending out deep-space "seed" colonies as suggested in a number of sci-fi stories.
Second, knowing already that humans use our tools and brains to adapt our environments to us, rather than vice versa, you have to examine what tools would be available to future humans. The most obvious is genetic engineering. A recent documentary (on CBS I think) predicted that humans would be regularly supplanting DNA from a number of other creatures with the express purpose of controlling our evelutionary future by 2050. Owls eyes for night vision, chameleon skin that could change from near black to pure white for the purpose of heat reflection or absorbtion. Bodies streamlined for life in the water with webbed hands and feet. When we see the diversity of life on earth, its easy to imagine millions of human variants, perfectly adapted for specific environs.
When humans first expanded outward across the globe we increased the diversity of the species created by isolated adaptation. At some point, we've began melding these races back into a more homogeneous humanity, and will continue to do so as isolated spaces disappear and we are forced by sheer lack of space to intermix human variants. As humanity expands further into space, and once the barriers restricting us to our own solar system are removed, it's likely in my opinion that we'll see an explosion in diversity that will never revert back to a single distinguishable species again, but rather into who knows how many unique species decended from humans.
Who knows, maybe those aliens we're warring with in the future won't be so alien after all - they might just be cousins returning for a sniff at their roots... B)
2004-Jul-24, 12:47 AM
Maybe my question was not specific enough...
Well, in these situations what do you think well evolve into?
1 On the moon
2 On mars
3An astroid hits earth and we have to live underground for a million years (probably not that long, but it could happen)
The third one I'm most curious about; with no sun, what would evolve into. What if we lose all of our technology in the process and forget about our past. Of course no one will know unless it happens (and I hope it doesnt). I would just like to know everyones view on this.
2004-Jul-24, 04:16 AM
On the moon - little or no evolution.
On Mars - incredibly major biological change.
Underground - never gonna happen, unless we are suddenly reproducing like hell. If you are thinking in terms of the Time Machine recent movie, that may just be ONE possibility possibility...
2004-Jul-24, 05:59 PM
Yeah, Ive seen the Time Machine, though I wasnt thinking about it at the time, its probably where I got the idea...
2004-Jul-25, 04:26 PM
The average length of time a species exist for is about two to three million years; so in a hundred million years we are likely to have changed very much.
However I can only repeat what has been said before; for all intents and purposes human evolution has finished. Genetic engineering will now take centre stage, and unless humanity loses its civilisation through a mishap we will never know what humanity will evolve into.
Particularly with respect to the Moon, Mars, and other locations in space; humans are likely to require some degree of genetic modification to live anywhere except Earth; and that will affect future evolution profoundly.
2004-Jul-25, 08:59 PM
One question to ask yourself is if you wish to partake in the new technological evolution. I certainly do.
Using tools and technology, I can travel at 120km/h for hours on end (in my car). I can survive a bullet shot (with a vest). I can even see at 20/20 (with laser surgery).
I can calculate large sums almost instantly (with a calculator). Etc.
The simple truth is that biological evolution has too slow a time-frame compared to technological.
2004-Jul-26, 02:22 PM
I agree with eburacum45 that generic engineering is the new evolution. There is little selection pressure on each generation now that we don't need to compete for mates on a purely physical basis.
Evolution is based on a mutation improving the chances the an organism can transfer genes to the next generation. The longer you live, the more time you have to produce offspring. The more attractive you are to the opposite sex, the more likely it is that you will produce offspring. But these attributes are swamped by the other distractions of modern life. I think there are many more factors these days that determine the number of children, compared with our ancestors.
Genetic engineering can produce effects far faster than evolution and with more ability to control the effects that are produced. But it also generates huge ethical and moral questions. Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should.
2004-Jul-26, 10:25 PM
Alright, suppose we do genetically evolve ourselves, what would we evolve ourselves into? Or better yet, what would you evolve yourselves into? I dont know about you guys, but if everyone has the same abilities... I think that takes the "uniqueness" and "novelty" of it away.
2004-Jul-27, 07:14 PM
It would not be adviseable to overspecialise, or to bind a specialised race f humanity into too tight a genetic range; so yes, there must still be a range of abilities among the engineered races.
Some ideas here...
2004-Jul-27, 10:15 PM
I think the widespread availability of genetic technology would not lead to overspecialisation. Everyone would enhance, or add, different attributes just like we all have different hobbies.
Maybe we would be less obsessed about external appearances if they were changeable just like clothes. Then again, it's easy to change your clothes yet people still judge others on what they wear.
Would we maybe split into "norms" and "mods" i.e. normal, unmodified humans and genetically modified humans? Would there be respect for those who managed without artificial enhancement? Would there be any point having the Olympics Games for the "mods" when all you'd be testing is the quality of the enhancements?
2004-Jul-28, 01:41 AM
Can we change any of our genetic material now?
2004-Jul-28, 01:08 PM
We could do it through selective breeding but that raises tricky moral questions. We could do it at the moment in a limited way using genetic engineering but, with more research, I believe we could gain the ability to change humans in all sorts of ways. But just because we could, it doesn't mean we should.
2004-Jul-28, 05:59 PM
But just because we could, it doesn't mean we should.
Be that as it may, we can and we will. Due to the level of complexity of living organisms, and the constant churning of that part of natural (unaided by us) evolution acting in conjunction with our imperfect knowledge and ability to predict the unintended consequences of our "designer beings" and the tendency of evolutionary processes to both diverge and converge, both we and any other sentient beings will generate an as of now unimaginable zoo some of which will appear to be similar.
Within a few hundred years we will have constructed intelligent beings capable of staying alive and reproducing while free floating in interplanetary as well as interstellar space. Let's hope they remain friendly to those of us without that capability. They will be quite large and very likely radioactively powered.
2004-Jul-28, 11:48 PM
So gourdhead, your saying we will no matter what and it could end up in war between non-altered and genetically modified humans? Well, that would be like WWIII, exept it probably wont be on earth.
2004-Jul-29, 12:47 AM
B) [COLOR=green] Here it goes: I think humans have a big problem coming up in the future. War, Deseases and chance will determine a black future to poor people. As we speak, Aids is attacking strong in Africa and Asia. In the, so caled, devolped world, people are fighting against replacements rates. Their population is getting smaller, because people has less childs. With longer lifes, population growing older. I don't know... The future seems dark...
2004-Jul-29, 07:11 PM
So gourdhead, your saying we will no matter what and it could end up in war between non-altered and genetically modified humans?
Not exactly. Yes to the modifications; not necessarily to the wars. We will have to develop better communication and social skills than we frequently display, however.
2004-Jul-31, 07:02 AM
About Spike's selective breeding...greater variation means greater survival chance. I do not for one second believe SB is the solution to the human overpopulation problem.
Oh, and another thing: I agree with Spike that Ebbie's prediction - that natural human evolution is coming to a close and will soon be replaced - is reality.
2004-Aug-01, 10:15 PM
Many genetically engineered future human types will have no reason to fight with others as they will exploit different resources;
space adapted humans or Mars adapted humans would have no direct reason for conflict with the Earth population.
However some competiton for resources, and conflict, may occur in other cases where there is more overlap in habitat.
No-one said there won't be wars in the future.
2004-Aug-01, 10:35 PM
I believe that one cannot make something without a concept of what the final product will be, so I believe one cannot become something without a concept of what the end result will be. Fortunately, humans have huge imaginations and with this imagination we have created gods. Consciously we try to obey what our particular god says, but unconsciously we strive to become God. I believe the end of evolution unless it is disturbed will be Godhood in the human future. It is not that each human will become a god, but rather all humankind will become the collective God. In fact, I believe we were God long long ago, but there wasn't really very much to do, so God threw the 128 sided cosmic dice to see if it could reassemble itself after eons have gone by. In other words, it was the disbursement of the Godhood that was the big bang. What else could have done it? Okay, maybe a quantum flucuation gone wild, but I prefer to think of it as humans being an integral part of the past, present, and future. Just a thought, tribune
2004-Aug-03, 04:32 PM
one cannot make something without a concept of what the final product will be
I think this is generally true for things we create by design. But evolution works precisely the opposite way - incremental changes are made at random and only the ones that are improvements will continue to future generations. So small steps are taken with absolutely no specific end point to aim for.
This can be inefficient sometimes but it worked well enough for us to be here.
With humans, once we start dabbling with genetic engineering I doubt we'll have a fully formed plan that everyone agrees on. What we'll probably do is fiddle around here and there and in a few generations we'll have a completely new model for what we define as "human". There'll be a few surprises and probably a few problems.
When you're heading into an unknown future, you rarely have a clear endpoint to aim for; you just take small steps in the hope that you're headed roughly in the right direction.
2004-Aug-03, 11:58 PM
When we do evolve- genetically or naturally- will we still be called human?
2004-Aug-04, 03:12 AM
I remember an Anthropology class where my professor was asked what we may evolve into. He mentioned that we are in the process of losing our little toe, the appendix was practically non-functional, some people were being born without wisdom teeth, the brow ridges were receding and brain case enlarging, and that with the retreat of the glaciers and the interbreeding between cultures, the lightness of the Caucasians was blending into a creamy light chocolate color.
As a way to illustrate what we may become, he addressed a black girl in the class, and pointed out her receding brow ridges and some other evolutionary features, and mentioned very casually that she most likely represented the future of the human race. Most of the class looked at her with different eyes, and I do believe she sat taller in her chair.
2004-Aug-04, 06:36 AM
Thanks Tom. That was exactly what I was looking for when I wrote this topic. I was wanting to know what some possibilities are of qwhat wed evolve into.
2004-Aug-04, 12:18 PM
Of course, for any visible or significant changes in human physiology to occur through natural evolution, it would take hundreds of thousands of years.
We'll most probably be mucking about with our genome long before then.
2004-Aug-04, 01:57 PM
it would take hundreds of thousands of years
Or, maybe not quite so long. There was a classic observation early last century of a white moth that would hang out out on white trees. A small percent of the population of moths came out darker, and the birds would pick them off pretty quick. When the pollution from the coal burning started turning the trees darker, the white versions of the moths started standing out, and getting eaten, and the darker ones blended in and were better protected.
After a few seasons, most of the moths were of the darker variety and a small percentage were light colored. I also heard that later on, pollution was reduced, the trees were more normally colored, and the coloration (natural-selection defense mechanism) switched back and the moths are mostly white again.
Lots of examples like this out there.
We need to get people to the Moon and Mars and see what happens, and how fast it can happen.
I'll go, I'll do it!! :lol:
2004-Aug-04, 10:14 PM
Yeah Ive read about that too. How long would it take to evolve?
2004-Aug-13, 01:58 PM
Before we look too closely on how we change on the surface, that which is behind physical appearance is something that perhaps needs to be taken into account. Our perception will hopefully dramatically alter and perhaps will have to if we are going to evolve. At the end of the day, for all of our countless dicoveries we are only apes throwing rocks at one another. You might think that that is harsh, but looking on a broader picture, at the end of the day we are a spiecies very early on in our evolution. Our technology is growing at such a rate that it looks to be at the point of surpassing our current way of thinking within the next hundred years. we are struggling to get on with one another, still at war on an already dieing planet.
2004-Aug-18, 01:38 AM
didnt we stop evolving already?
2004-Aug-18, 05:33 AM
I don’t think evolution occurs within a species; rather genetic variation develops within a species. Then one or more sub-groups become reproductively isolated, which somehow leads to speciation, and—a new species arises with different characteristics and in-built reproductive isolation.
Without reproductive isolation, which exists not at all today, or some kind of purposeful direction by some means like genetic engineering, I don’t think Homo Sapiens will change significantly in the future.
2004-Aug-18, 07:53 AM
Yes, we are like gas molecules in a room. Some may attain high velocities, while others may have very low velocities. But the average velocity doesn't change too much.
Similarly, we have become too random in mating, and we may not evolve significantly.
About the toe becoming small and all that, what I feel is that until small toers have an advantage over those with bigger ones, we may not lose our little toe.
2004-Aug-18, 11:28 AM
Without reproductive isolation, which exists not at all today, or some kind of purposeful direction by some means like genetic engineering, I donít think Homo Sapiens will change significantly in the future.
Ah! but there is purposeful direction via genetic engineering. Both speciation and designed alterations within species will soon (<100 years) progress at a rate never before possible. Evolution, like the universe, is becoming aware of itself. Evolution is now less blind than it was formerly.
2004-Aug-19, 10:01 PM
Intelligance and physical strength are a given, but what other changes would we make?
2004-Aug-20, 12:34 PM
Intelligence and physical strength are a given, but what other changes would we make?
Those that enable us to possess or explore ocean depths, open space, intense radiation, extreme pressures of the atmospheres of gas giant planets, stellar atmospheres, longer lifespans, ever expanding range of temperature extremes, etc.,.
2004-Aug-20, 04:27 PM
Hi, Gourdhead. You said, “Ah! but there is purposeful direction via genetic engineering. Both speciation and designed alterations within species will soon (<100 years) progress at a rate never before possible.”
I think this assessment is rather premature. In the first place, we don’t understand the mechanisms of speciation at all. It seems a little over-optimistic to assume we’ll just figure it out and be able to do it in any definite time span.
Speculation about technological advances doesn’t mean they’ll ever happen. The most obvious example is manned space exploration, which has, for thirty five years, advanced not one kilometer.
But there are many other examples: For instance, battery technology, which has hardly kept pace with Moore’s Law. I think it’s probably true that power density has not improved by an order of magnitude in the last 400 years.
Another issue is will. Because something can be done, doesn’t mean it will be done. Thermonuclear holocaust is a good example; at least, so far.
We may be able to introduce new characteristics into our species, but I don’t think that means such characteristics, even very minor changes, will be universally, or even widely, adopted. And, I foresee very widespread and effective opposition and resistance to any species changing genetic engineering.
I don’t think the existence of genetic engineering technology will alter our species within any foreseeable future.
2004-Aug-22, 02:40 AM
I think this assessment is rather premature. In the first place, we donít understand the mechanisms of speciation at all. It seems a little over-optimistic to assume weíll just figure it out and be able to do it in any definite time span.
I agree we don't fully understand speciation as it has occurred heretofore. Within 50 years or so we will drive it to goals of our choosing. The danger lies with the unintended consequences especially from hybrids that nature without our help would not allow. Mating-free breeding and gene juggling will produce some strange critters some of which will make managing Pandora's box seem like mere child's play.
2004-Aug-22, 03:21 AM
That could be a problem.....
2004-Aug-22, 05:23 AM
Hi, Gourhead. You said, “Mating-free breeding and gene juggling will produce some strange critters some of which will make managing Pandora's box seem like mere child's play.”
I wouldn’t be so pessimistic, or maybe you underestimate the danger of Pandora’s box: When Pandora opened the box, disease, despair, malice, greed, old age, death, hatred, violence, cruelty and war flew into the world. She slammed the lid down...keeping only the spirit of hope inside.
I don’t think genetic engineering is likely to produce losses comparable to bringing disease, despair, malice, greed, old age, death, hatred, violence, cruelty and war into the world.
Also, people have been fooling with mating-free breeding and gene juggling for at least a hundred centuries with hardly any ill effects so far.
2004-Aug-23, 01:53 PM
I donít think genetic engineering is likely to produce losses comparable to bringing disease, despair, malice, greed, old age, death, hatred, violence, cruelty and war into the world.
I hope your optimism overrides my caution. My fear is that Murphy won't let us off that easy. The complexity of the system we're trying to manipulate, and we should do this, is overwhelming. Disease, old age, and death are likely first order effects; the rest will derive from errors in genetic engineering of either microbes or us directly. Nevertheless we will and we should continue. I preach caution not abstinence.
Also, people have been fooling with mating-free breeding and gene juggling for at least a hundred centuries with hardly any ill effects so far.
Compared to today's level of competency, earlier attempts in these areas were very constricted. Since the invention of the wheel and various systems to apply power to it, we are more able to smash ourselves more completely, and yet we are ahead of the game for having done it. The potential dangers from genetically modified critters, especially the microbes, are much more difficult to anticipate and avoid.
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