The Future of Human Evolution

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 477
  • Published : October 8, 1999
Open Document
Text Preview
The Future of Human Evolution

Alexander R.
Prof. Kohn
Darwinism and Evolution
12-6-96

Evolution, the science of how populations of living organisms change over time in response to their environment, is the central unifying theme in biology today. Evolution was first explored in its semi-modern form in Charles Darwin 's 1859 book, Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection. In this book, Darwin laid out a strong argument for evolution. He postulated that all species have a common ancestor from which they are descended. As populations of species moved into new habitats and new parts of the world, they faced different environmental conditions. Over time, these populations accumulated modifications, or adaptations, that allowed them and their offspring to survive better in their new environments. These modifications were the key to the evolution of new species, and Darwin proposed natural selection or "survival of the fittest" as the vehicle by which that change occurs. Under Natural Selection, some individuals in a population have adaptations that allow them to survive and reproduce

more than other individuals. These adaptations become more common in the population because of this higher reproductive success. Over time, the characteristics of the population as a whole can change, sometimes even resulting in the formation of a new species. Humans have survived for thousands of years and will most like survive thousands of more. Throughout the history of the Humanoid species man has evolved from Homo Erectus to what we today call Homo Sapiens, or what we know today as modern man.. The topic of this paper is what does the future have in store for the evolution of Homo Sapiens. Of course, human beings will continue to change culturally; therefore cultural evolution will always continue; but what of physiological evolution? The cultural evolution of man will continue as long as man can think; after all it's the ideas we think up that makes up our cultures. In a thousand years man might complete a 180 degree turn culturally (not to mention physiologically) and as seen by our fellow inhabitants of earth we would in essence be different beings. One can say that this new culture has chosen its ideas based on Natural Selection. One can see this in the spread of ideas in the past history of homo sapiens, the ideas which cause man to succeed are chosen such as science and democracy (the present growth of Islam is also worthy of mention, but would be a paper in itself). Lamarck's fourth law, that is, ideas acquired by one generation are passed on to the next, describes this transfer of ideas from one generation to another.

The question is can humans evolve (physically), that is through changes of some sort to the general human gene pool, enough to be considered a different species sometime in the future. The answer to this is tricky. The answer is "yes" if there is no human intervention and "not likely" (or atleast controlled) if there is human intervention. The more interesting answer is the latter. The first answer deserves some mention. Through the subtraction or addition (that is through chance changes of some sort) of alleles (different forms of a characteristic gene) from the overall gene pool until homo sapiens are no longer is feasible. One might ask how and were this is occurring. The answer is human genes are changing all the time through radiation and spontaneous mutations (the latter more rapidly no than ever since the human population is now larger than ever) and one can see these changes to the overall gene pool in the disappearance of certain human tribes within parts of Africa and South America.. These tribes unfortunately take exclusive alleles with them. What about Natural Selection in present human culture. Some peoples are growing faster than others, for example-Chinese faster than any other in the present world, thus the large Chinese population. Therefore some group traits ae more...
tracking img