Re: Further Evolution beyond the Human?

C. Marc Wagner @ UCS (@)
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 17:32:21 -0500

It seems that this thread has gone far afield from the original
subject. Since I am new to this thread, let me offer these thoughts...

>From what I have seen and read in this newsgroup and others, and from
what I know from my own experience, the very diversity of species, and
the fact that many species are better suited to their own environment
than we are to their environment, suggests that Evolution is ongoing.
Each species adapts or dies off.

For long peiods of time, environmental changes are gradual and the
diversity among species increases. Periodically, cataclysmic events
wipe out large numbers of species but other species always diversify to
take their place in the "chain of life." From what I understand, 2
million years is the average lifspan of a species (according to Richard
Leakey, anyway.) After that, it either dies out or has undergone changes
which make it distinct from its predecessor species.

Unlike any other species, Homo sapiens sapiens has both the knowledge
and the physical characteristics to alter its own environment. (No
matter how intelligent the whales might be, without opposable thumbs,
their ability to alter their own environment is severely limited!)

The question then is reduced to, will H.s.s. "evolve" or will we "die

It could be argued that our unqualified success as a species will mean
that we will eventually die off, simply because that success has lead,
in this century, to an alarming rate of species loss, due largely to our
encroachmant to otherwise "balanced" ecosystems, that we will destroy
the global ecosystem onwhich we rely by destroying its diversity (which
we rely on in ways beyond our comprehension). ourselves.

Further diversity of H.s.s. through natural processes seems unlikely
simply because we are everywhere on the planet and the geographical
restrictions which allowed for the huge diversity of the races within
the single species of H.s.s. has all but disappeared. There appears to
no longer be any opportunity for the isolation of breeding populations
needed for further diversification of H.s.s. through Natural Selection.

The other side of the argument, however, could be that we will learn to
change ourselves, as a species, so that we can adapt to any environment
that we want. Instead of "terraforming" Mars, we might alter H.s.s. to
be H.s.martian in order to survive the low atmospheric pressure and low
temperatures on Mars.

In any event, sooner or later, a cataclysmic event, such as that that
wiped out the dinosaurs (and 90% of all species on Earth), will happen
again, (just as it happened repeatedly BEFORE the Dinosaurs arrived.)
The question is, will H.s.s. (or whatever we become, through natural
processes, or artificial) be able to survive such a cataclysm?

C. MARC WAGNER -- UNIX Systems Specialist @ UCS
INDIANA UNIVERSITY -- Bloomington, Indiana, USA