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Thread: Modern day human Evolution

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    Default Modern day human Evolution

    Like, as in human evolution taking place right here and now in our modernized environment.

    Evolution is slow, yes. But that doesn't mean that it's stopped completely.

    So, from an evolutionary standpoint, what do you think the benefits, or.. repercussions might be from living in such a technologically advance world are?

    Where are we going be like, or look like in the future as directly caused by the way we live now; which is unprecedented in comparison to any other species we know of? What will our biology be?

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Its been argued that those with Asperger syndrome are the next step on the evolutionary chain. What with the insane intelligence and all that.
    This is a Sig. It's horribly out of date.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Maye evolution repeats itself like history and just keeps going round in circles? The Big Bang will happen again >__>
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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by miniPhil View Post
    Its been argued that those with Asperger syndrome are the next step on the evolutionary chain. What with the insane intelligence and all that.
    Actually, my manager who's a major in biology and chemistry told me the same thing, and I do also recall Eris mentioning something similar once before. It might have some merit to it; though, as with all things, it subject is to criticism.

    What I would be interested in, though, is if that did in fact turn out to be the case, I wonder what the causes of it are, or if it's just one of those 'random genetic mutations' sort of things.

    And, of course most notably, I would be quite hesitant to say something along the lines of being "evolutionary ahead" of people, for pretty obvious reasons >>;

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicxLove View Post
    Maye evolution repeats itself like history and just keeps going round in circles?
    Well, evolution excels to achieve an altitude of which it's requirements for survival are equal to the requirements of it's environment; A sort of 'evolutionary equilibrium'.
    It's only when an organisms' environment changes that it is required to adapt to that change. (ie. Humans living in a highly technology driven world, were persons' needs for survival are altered due to the effect)

    The Big Bang will happen again >__>
    This.. depends on whether or not the amount of vacuum energywiki will be able to repel against the force of gravity.

    There are basically three possibilities here:

    1. an Open-ended universe, where the vacuum energy is greater than the force of gravity, and as such, causes the universe to expand indefinitely.

    2. A Closed-ended universe, where the vacuum energy isn't large enough to overcome the force of gravity, and will stop expanding and contract down back to a singularity.

    OR

    3. A Flat universe, where the vacuum energy is perfectly equal to the force of gravity, whereas the universe will eternally continue to expand, but forever at an increasingly smaller rate.
    Last edited by Ericgamer1; 10-03-2010 at 04:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by miniPhil View Post
    Its been argued that those with Asperger syndrome are the next step on the evolutionary chain. What with the insane intelligence and all that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ericgamer1
    Actually, my manager who's a major in biology and chemistry told me the same thing, and I do also recall Eris mentioning something similar once before. It might have some merit to it; though, as with all things, it subject is to criticism.

    What I would be interested in, though, is if that did in fact turn out to be the case, I wonder what the causes of it are, or if it's just one of those 'random genetic mutations' sort of things.

    And, of course most notably, I would be quite hesitant to say something along the lines of being "evolutionary ahead" of people, for pretty obvious reasons >>;
    This is where I come in to tell you that you've gone beyond the actual truth and implications of evolution.
    There is no evolutionary forwards. Evolution is not even a linear chain. It's a tree and it has many branches. The only thing a species can do to make itself more fit is reproduce so its members have a wider range of genes. Sure, environmental pressures can push a species to be more quick, strong, or intelligent; but in most cases survival is determined by random bull crap like the color of a butterfly's wings.

    The idea that AS is the "next step" has no merit to it. The only thing about AS that makes it even remotely relevant to evolution is that it has a genetic basis. So? What environmental pressure are people with AS more likely to survive? The chances of there being some environmental pressure which wipes out non-AS people is just as likely as there being a pressure which wipes out non-Down Syndrome people. Just because AS was discovered recently does not mean that it is anything new. In fact it could very well be that non-AS people are what's new genetically speaking, and they've come to take over. Think about it, if you want to spread your genes in a society where non-consensual sex is taboo, wouldn't good social skill be pretty important?

    In our society, having means good genes means quite little. How you were raised, those with whom you've interacted, the decisions you make, etc. are far more important. Even discriminating against someone based on genetic factors such as ethnicity is shunned.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    I think we'll kinda level off for a long while until we find Arrakis and get the spice flowin'.

    But in all seriousness, I can't see any major evolutionary changes happening in the species right now. We don't need to change to fit our environment, we're at the point where we change the environment to fit our needs.

     
    Who am I kidding, we're going to turn into six-foot long salamanders without tongues who can't breathe Earth's air.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    This is where I come in to tell you that you've gone beyond the actual truth and implications of evolution.
    There is no evolutionary forwards. Evolution is not even a linear chain. It's a tree and it has many branches. The only thing a species can do to make itself more fit is reproduce so its members have a wider range of genes. Sure, environmental pressures can push a species to be more quick, strong, or intelligent; but in most cases survival is determined by random bull crap like the color of a butterfly's wings.

    The idea that AS is the "next step" has no merit to it. The only thing about AS that makes it even remotely relevant to evolution is that it has a genetic basis. So? What environmental pressure are people with AS more likely to survive? The chances of there being some environmental pressure which wipes out non-AS people is just as likely as there being a pressure which wipes out non-Down Syndrome people. Just because AS was discovered recently does not mean that it is anything new. In fact it could very well be that non-AS people are what's new genetically speaking, and they've come to take over. Think about it, if you want to spread your genes in a society where non-consensual sex is taboo, wouldn't good social skill be pretty important?

    In our society, having means good genes means quite little. How you were raised, those with whom you've interacted, the decisions you make, etc. are far more important. Even discriminating against someone based on genetic factors such as ethnicity is shunned.
    whoa... seriously, calm down dude.

    Miniphil presented an idea, and I humored it. I've stated nothing as truth; only pure speculation in an attempt to expand on the idea to generate further discussion- nothing more.
    Last edited by Ericgamer1; 10-03-2010 at 11:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    I don't think humans will continue to evolve. I mean think about it. Though there are still environmental pressures, we have made it so that people can still survive despite that. Disease? Well there's medications. Age? There are medications along with other equipment that enable the old to live way past their days. Basically what Opinionated said, we can change our environment, so no environmental pressures.

    There is no survival of the fittest in our society, and if there is then its not so much. Everyone has an equal chance to survive. The only "survival of fittest" going on now most likely stems from Social Darwinism.

    Of course these views mostly pertain to developed societies, not talking about less developed societies.

    EDIT: I did forget to mention that the Earth's magnetic fields are shifting. It will be the first time humans are on the Earth that its actually happening (cause we weren't around for previous ones). That means a lot more solar radiation and other space junk will be able to penetrate the Earth. Meaning people will be more prone to skin cancer. Maybe the ones who are more resistant to skin cancer will survive, only if humans don't manage to find a way to prevent it.
    Last edited by SigmaSD; 10-04-2010 at 12:13 AM.
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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by シグマSD View Post
    I don't think humans will continue to evolve. I mean think about it. Though there are still environmental pressures, we have made it so that people can still survive despite that.
    I've thought about it, and I don't see the connection. How are environmental pressures necessary for evolution? So long as a species is reproducing, it's gene pool will be changing, thus it should evolve.


    Quote Originally Posted by Opinionated View Post
    But in all seriousness, I can't see any major evolutionary changes happening in the species right now. We don't need to change to fit our environment, we're at the point where we change the environment to fit our needs.
    How would you go about observing evolution in the present? For what exactly are you looking?
    Also unless you can explain otherwise, species should evolve whether or not there is a need to do so.
    Last edited by Wio; 10-04-2010 at 01:11 AM.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    I've thought about it, and I don't see the connection. How are environmental pressures necessary for evolution? So long as a species is reproducing, it's gene pool will be changing, thus it should evolve.
    Environmental pressures cause mutations in DNA, which thus aids in differentiating a species. Given enough time those small changes give rise to a change in the species due to the fact that its able to cope with the environment. Like how you mentioned earlier, it will branch out and become its own separate species.

    Since humans don't have many environmental stressors, everyone has an equal chance of reproducing. There is not one single trait that is going to pass on, but a variety of traits. So as the species keeps reproducing, there isn't going to be a new dominant trait that will differentiate the later humans as a different species.

    For example, lets say its a dominant trait for big cats to have large paws. The ones that have large paws will be able to adapt to the environment better and survive, while the ones with small paws will be less competitive and put at a disadvantage. Given enough time the species will evolve to such a way that eventually the species will all have large paws.

    But if there were no environmental stressors, both cats that have large and small paws have an equal chance to survive. Therefore each offspring has a chance of inheriting large and small paws. It doesn't matter how much time you give the species, it will continue to have a variety in paw size meaning the species will technically be the same.

    Hope my example didn't ruin my argument. Of course its not concrete and has flaws but hopefully its sufficient enough to support some of my argument.
    Last edited by SigmaSD; 10-04-2010 at 03:34 AM.
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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by シグマSD View Post
    Environmental pressures cause mutations in DNA, which thus aids in differentiating a species.
    Environmental pressures decide the terms of survival, but they don't actually cause DNA mutations. DNA mutations happen regardless of environmental pressures. Radioactivity can cause a genetic mutation on a species of which it isn't an environmental pressure.

    Quote Originally Posted by シグマSD View Post
    For example, lets say its a dominant trait for big cats to have large paws. The ones that have large paws will be able to adapt to the environment better and survive, while the ones with small paws will be less competitive and put at a disadvantage. Given enough time the species will evolve to such a way that eventually the species will all have large paws.

    But if there were no environmental stressors, both cats that have large and small paws have an equal chance to survive. Therefore each offspring has a chance of inheriting large and small paws. It doesn't matter how much time you give the species, it will continue to have a variety in paw size meaning the species will technically be the same.
    I disagree. I believe the large paw cats in your first example will still exist in the second one. The only difference between your first and second example is that environmental pressures will have plucked certain branches away.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    Environmental pressures decide the terms of survival, but they don't actually cause DNA mutations. DNA mutations happen regardless of environmental pressures. Radioactivity can cause a genetic mutation on a species of which it isn't an environmental pressure.

    By terms of survival, what do you mean? And I guess I kind of said it wrong. What I meant to say is that the environment is the cause why there are changes because it favors certain genes in the DNA and disfavors others. I think that's a better way of putting it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    I disagree. I believe the large paw cats in your first example will still exist in the second one. The only difference between your first and second example is that environmental pressures will have plucked certain branches away.
    Its true that the large paw cats exist in both, but what I'm trying to get at is that since both large paw cat and small paw cat continue to reproduce, they will still form the same species. Cause there isn't much differentiation between the two and since both would have survived, there will be cats of all different paw sizes.

    If you don't have an environment to which you need to adapt, then even if there are slight alterations in DNA, its not going to be enough to drastically change the species
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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by シグマSD View Post
    By terms of survival, what do you mean?
    By terms of survival I mean the conditions which decide lives and who dies. Environment pressures eliminate certain variations of genes, but they do not cause genes to vary. This is a key difference. Evolution require that genes vary, but it does not require that genes be eliminated.

    Quote Originally Posted by シグマSD View Post
    Its true that the large paw cats exist in both, but what I'm trying to get at is that since both large paw cat and small paw cat continue to reproduce, they will still form the same species. Cause there isn't much differentiation between the two and since both would have survived, there will be cats of all different paw sizes.

    If you don't have an environment to which you need to adapt, then even if there are slight alterations in DNA, its not going to be enough to drastically change the species
    In both examples only slight alterations occur and in both cases those slight alterations will add up to significant alterations in the future. Is there some reason why large paw cats would be less likely to exist if there were no environmental pressures?

    Take the following picture. This is my theory of what would happen. In the solid triangle there are no environmental pressures. In the other, grey areas represent DNA variations which weren't passed on because they didn't fit the environment. If I understand you right, the top triangle should be very narrow or just a straight line, right?

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    Take the following picture. This is my theory of what would happen. In the solid triangle there are no environmental pressures. In the other, grey areas represent DNA variations which weren't passed on because they didn't fit the environment. If I understand you right, the top triangle should be very narrow or just a straight line, right?
    No, the top triangle should stay as is and stay all black because every gene along with its variation is being passed down, therefore there would be no gray areas.
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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Well in that case, how is the case without environmental pressures less evolved? It has even more variety. The organisms top right corner wouldn't be the same species at the top left corner, it's just that they'd have similar origin and less gaps.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    Well in that case, how is the case without environmental pressures less evolved? It has even more variety. The organisms top right corner wouldn't be the same species at the top left corner, it's just that they'd have similar origin and less gaps.
    But if that so happens to be the case, how would one go about differentiating every single species? There would be a lot of overlapping that it would be hard to determine what's what and whether or not something belongs here or there.

    Wouldn't you just eventually lump a bunch of them together?
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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    No, you can't just lump them all together. The current definition of a species is being able to reproduce offspring which also are capable of reproduction. The top right corner organisms can't reproduce with the organisms that are too far to the left.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    as far as i know, evolution demands a population that is separated from other populations of that species. Otherwise, all the new mutations will be mixed up and covered by older phenotypes. Humans are not in separated populations anymore, gene flow happens all the time, and thus any new adaptations that could happen will be covered and mixed up, never gaining enough frequencies inside the population.
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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Desulishor View Post
    as far as i know, evolution demands a population that is separated from other populations of that species. Otherwise, all the new mutations will be mixed up and covered by older phenotypes.
    Separated populations will still carry old phenotypes. Why won't mutations just be "covered up" in their case?

    By my reasoning, so long as a mutation continues to be passed down to following generations, it will have irrevocably altered a subpopulation of the species. If you do this for dozens of generations then the descendants probably won't be able to procreate with their ancestors anymore.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    As a whole, I feel that humanity is, physically speaking, a greater deal weaker than it used to be in generations past. With all of the technological advances that have been brought on in our lifetime alone, people are simply growing too complacent and easygoing. Although I suppose that, in a sense, one could view this as a form of evolution with respect to adapting to one's environment; albeit it's not a very positive one.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Ericgamer1 View Post
    Actually, my manager who's a major in biology and chemistry told me the same thing, and I do also recall Eris mentioning something similar once before. It might have some merit to it; though, as with all things, it subject is to criticism.

    What I would be interested in, though, is if that did in fact turn out to be the case, I wonder what the causes of it are, or if it's just one of those 'random genetic mutations' sort of things.
    I think it's favorable for the human gene pool to have a certain population of AS-individuals intermixed with the neurotypical individuals, as they are quite instrumental in driving the cultural and technological development, and that's the very reason it's so persistent. Calling AS a neurological disorder or a handicap is probably unfair, unlike the related but much more debilitating autism.

    Though there is a tendency towards clustering of AS-individuals. You are more likely to see them in specific work places that favor their skills (such as academia) than interspersed with neurotypical people. This likely leads to fewer NT-AS breedings than NT-NT and AS-AS, which could lead to genetic drift and the eventual formation of an AS subspecies.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ericgamer1 View Post
    And, of course most notably, I would be quite hesitant to say something along the lines of being "evolutionary ahead" of people, for pretty obvious reasons >>;
    This would, indeed, be a misconception. Evolution just doesn't work this way. The only measure of how advanced you are genetically is how well you fit your environment.
    Last edited by Eris; 10-04-2010 at 12:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Humans can adapt to almost any enviornment, that's what makes us so successful, but what if the atmosphere slowly started to turn poison or the planet became too hot to live on because of a natural thing or something we caused? If humans don't evolve to live in those conditions then we're destined to become extinct because it's entirely possible that something like that could happen. See the movie Nausicaa, it is sci-fi but the story is a plausible thing. Humans turned the planet to poison and are slowly going extinct, that's something that's happening now.

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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    Separated populations will still carry old phenotypes. Why won't mutations just be "covered up" in their case?

    By my reasoning, so long as a mutation continues to be passed down to following generations, it will have irrevocably altered a subpopulation of the species. If you do this for dozens of generations then the descendants probably won't be able to procreate with their ancestors anymore.
    you should read some textbooks on evolution cause i think this one can be found in any one of them. A population of some species is living happily. Then the enviroment starts to change and some unpassable barrier, like a mountain, splits the population in two. On one side, evolution goes one way and mutations which favor creatures living in that enviroment pile up in them because of natural selection. Same happens on the other side where the enviroment is now different too. As enough time has passed the two populations have changed so much that they have become 2 different species. However, this couldn't have happened without the mountain, as gene flow from other areas, with other kinds of adaptations would have messed up the gene pool. With humans such isolation does not exist, people can move to live to the other side of the world, so no population of humans is isolated, and no population can gather enough genetic material for change. If they were isolated though, the new mutations would eventually overcome the old genotypes in the areas where the new ones are better. Not so, when you have all kinds of new material and not just new material suited for this enviroment coming into the gene pool. This why isolation is important, and humans cannot evolve, because their populations lack isolation. Our genes are like a mix of everythin, we might have a few new mutations that are good for our current enviroment, but then there are also a few that are not, presumably so cause one of your parents or grandparents wasn't from around here and was thus carrying other kinds of new mutations.

    Another reason why humans can't evolve anymore is that we are outside natural selection these days. Natural selection is based on populations living on a limited amount of resources, but there is no grand battle for food, living space and sexual partners in the western, modern society. Individuals with "bad genes" are only rarely eliminated from the competition and besides, humans don't even choose the genetically most suitable partners, they simply choose what they as emotional and intelligent beings think as attractive which is often different from simply choosing the fittest partner available.
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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Plain and simple, we'll be FAT and LAZY. Oh, and taken mass amounts of medication for mostly no reason.
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    Default Re: Modern day human Evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Desulishor View Post
    A population of some species is living happily. Then the enviroment starts to change and some unpassable barrier, like a mountain, splits the population in two. On one side, evolution goes one way and mutations which favor creatures living in that enviroment pile up in them because of natural selection. Same happens on the other side where the enviroment is now different too. As enough time has passed the two populations have changed so much that they have become 2 different species.
    Also known as Allopatric Speciation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desulishor View Post
    However, this couldn't have happened without the mountain
    Actually it can. It is called Sympatric Speciation. This is what, I believe, Wio is referring to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desulishor View Post
    Another reason why humans can't evolve anymore is that we are outside natural selection these days.
    Evolution does not stop, because we are continually changing and mutating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desulishor View Post
    Natural selection is based on populations living on a limited amount of resources
    Click image for larger version

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    Natural Selection is based on genetic mutations that effectively make a species more suitable for an environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desulishor View Post
    but there is no grand battle for.... sexual partners in the western, modern society.
    Click image for larger version

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desulishor View Post
    Individuals with "bad genes" are only rarely eliminated from the competition and besides, humans don't even choose the genetically most suitable partners, they simply choose what they as emotional and intelligent beings think as attractive which is often different from simply choosing the fittest partner available.
    So you're saying that the guy with the hideous malformation is more likely to get the girl than the Surfing Adonis?

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