Present or next evolutionary pressures...any ideas, now or future?

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doG's picture
Present or next evolutionary pressures...any ideas, now or future?

Any Ideas as to pressures that are presently or in the near future, that are or may be affecting human evolution the most? What do you guys think?



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AccretedMinutiae's picture
I watched an interesting

I watched an interesting video recently in which a geneticist was talking about findings that, at one point, were interpreted as the male of our species possibly reaching an extinction point. In the end, it ended up being a misinterpretation of data that had the researchers following a line indicating the size of the Y-chromosome over a number of years of study down toward a y-axis intercept... that is, to a "zero" mark. But in reality, the line plateaued and the Y-chromosome saw little to no shrinkage past a certain point.

But what I felt this showed anyway was that humans were evolving. Somehow men with smaller, more compact Y chromosomes were propagating the species more efficiently, or more often, and honing the size of the Y-chromosome down to the bare minimum. And I honestly wondered (no judgment meant against anyone of any persuasion here) whether having extra, junk info in the Y-chromosome might more often lead to other sexual interests or persuasions. Like being gay or bisexual. Perhaps the males most likely to end up reproducing are those with the most male-targeted genetic make-up. I have no facts to back this up... just an interesting thing to ponder. And one that could be tested against real-world conditions.

David Killens's picture
Is our vision and hearing as

Is our vision and hearing as important as in the past? We spend more time sitting, will that affect our pelvic region?

Speculation is cool, but a wise man once told me ....

You can tell where the wind is coming from, but not where it will go.

SecularSonOfABiscuitEater's picture
Keen observation. Pelvic tilt

Keen observation. Pelvic tilt is the cause of many unfavorable conditions such as Lordosis and scoliosis, but mostly due to bad posture. Perhaps humans will develop a more enduring spine/bone structure over time?

As for sight, I read of an island which the entire population is shares one common ancestor and is Albino. They can see in pitch black darkness. It's amazing.

I think hearing will be necessary for as long as we're around. Perhaps the cochlear region will evolve to be less fragile hopefully.

Grinseed's picture
What is called the Sixth

What is called the Sixth Great Extinction appears to be an upcoming evolutionary pressure event. There has recently been a flurry of news items covering a dramatic die off in insect life globally...sorry no links at this time as I am on a bus with dodgy connection...later...
As the world's ecology is largely dependant on insects as food and pollenators and given the reported dramatic decline in populations by researchers in the field and on the ground if all this is true we could be in for a bumpy ride in what might be the next evolutionary development.
And theists please note this again nothing to do with your fictitious god.

PS All this was predicted as early as 1962 by Rachel Carson in 'Silent Spring' . The book scared me when I first read it. I still hope she was wrong.

Cognostic's picture
Starvation, over population,

Starvation, over population, depletion of fresh water resources and an eventual pandemic, all of which may lead to a global war, a one world government, and population control the likes of which no one has yet imagined. The survivors will carry on the race providing any survive, Pockets of humans will be isolated from one another into tribal communities outside of the government controlled areas and speciation may once again occur,

Algebe's picture
Hormone pollution could lead

Hormone pollution could lead to the feminization and sterilization of human males, resulting in a single-sex species that will propagate through technology-based parthenogenesis.

arakish's picture
Humans will extinct

Humans will extinct themselves. The tardigrades will take over.


Diotrephes's picture
We will evolve to eat dirt

We will evolve to eat dirt with the soles of our feet.

SecularSonOfABiscuitEater's picture
I think of when our sun

I think of when our sun supernovas. If we are able to achieve long term space travel at this time, how would we endure the cosmic radiation that we are shielded from while on earth? While in our Sun's sphere of influence? Is the answer technology? Would we evolve over time to render such technology obsolete? Would long term space travel weaken us physically?

doG's picture
I think this is a likely

I think this is a likely scenario of things to come. We better get on this quick though...not much time left. Without being in space, expect no evolutionary change in development of immunity to cosmic definitely technology. Space travel will definitely affect our muscle skeletal structure for sure, also pigmentation change will be likely. We may end up being short, grey, big brained, massive eyed, freaks, flying around in space.

LogicFTW's picture
Present evolutionary

Present evolutionary pressures?

That question answer begins and ends with humans.

Humans with the level of power humans exert over the planet is the start and end of every conversation of evolution. Humans have already presided and were the direct cause of one of the largest extinction events to ever occur on the planet, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Will humans evolve themselves? Maybe, fast enough? Maybe. So far it does not look to good, but if a few key breakthroughs are made perhaps we can buy ourselves enough time to evolve ourselves before we doom ourselves.

Space travel and colonization of other planets? Who knows what the future will bring and what technologies we will develop.

I can imagine some sort of human space travel with technology that exist today or that we are close to achieving. I think they key break through would have to be the ability to "grow" humans in an artificial womb. If we could freeze a few thousand eggs and sperm, put em on a ship, with robots that could raise the humans, then we could build a space ship that travels the huge expanses of the stars, putting the ship on a several thousand year journey. Keeping the eggs on ice so to speak until it arrived at it's destination planet, to deploy and build a new civilization.

What I don't see: is any of us making it out of this solar system within our life times, unless we were to transfer ourselves as information and is that really living? A deep philosophical question.



I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.

doG's picture
"unless we were to transfer

"unless we were to transfer ourselves as information and is that really living? A deep philosophical question."

That is an interesting thought. Why would we do that? Specifically for information...yes...but for continuation of life? would that work? Positronic brains, in a robot body...but we would have to be pretty advanced to maintain personality. Hmmmm.

LogicFTW's picture


Why would we do that?

Transfering ourselves into digital would probably be the easiest way to achieve something close to immortality and freedom from the mortal coil. I brought it up because we could potentially beam ourselves across the galaxy moving at the speed of light. What gets even more mind bender is we could also easily make unlimited copies of ourselves.

So if I wanted to travel the galaxy, I could make a million copies of myself and send it to the closest million planets that might have life on it. Then the copies of "me" experience the alien interaction, then beam themselves back. Then "combine" all the experiences. It may take a million years, but then time would be mostly meaningless to a form of ourselves that is digitized. I think much of at least current personality would be lost in the process, but perhaps evolved to a new form of personality.

All very sci fi and philosophical stuff.



I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.

AccretedMinutiae's picture
Honestly, with the level of

Honestly, with the level of relative comfort many humans these days live out their lives as compared to humans of the past, I don't see how we could see much movement in terms of evolution outside of some pretty superficial items (like the shrinkage of the "Y" chromosome I mentioned earlier)

As an example as to why I think this is, I would put forward our increase in survival rate, even when born with (what would have previously been) terminal conditions. We now have ways to combat a lot of those conditions. Even something as simple as bad eyesight would have had primitive man meeting an early death. Now we have corrections... allowing people with bad eyesight (like myself) to propagate that disadvantage to their offspring.

In other words, I feel that we're mostly in the business of sullying our gene pool at the moment. Giving birth to more and more people with what would have previously been considered defects, and those people going on to pass those "defects" on to the next generation.

We also experience no bottle-necking, which produces a plethora of differences in individuals. Combine that with our ability to traverse the globe, where literally any human could potentially mate with any other, it means that there is no specific "honing in" of a particular mutation/difference/ability to see that trait or ability becoming something "standard" or canon in the genetic makeup of humans.

In short, if we're evolving, it is going to be in superficial ways that don't necessarily help us survive. We already survive. What pressures are there that kill us off in any prolific way that we'd need to adapt to? I can't think of any. Maybe in less developed locales, but in the most developed/modern societies, we face almost no pressures whatsoever that would see us dying off before being able to reproduce. Only the very harshest of birth-defects are dodged in this manner.

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