As we all know, evolution is an ongoing process, albeit a slow moving one.  But, because it is an ongoing process we can logically conclude that humans will evolve, but most likely not by natural selection as humans have developed technology that allows reproductive choice.  In any case, it is possible that different groups of people will take on substantially different traits.  Perhaps the eye will evolve to see more of the EM spectrum, perhaps a group of people will have superior hearing, etc.  

Perhaps we are selecting for negative traits.  I have noticed that as of late, the most prolific breeders tend to be the poor, the ignorant, and the religious.  As technology, medicine, and social empathy have increased as of late, the people that aren't the most "fit" for survival can survive longer and longer.  This is beneficial to society, as only a sociopath would advocate for social Darwinism, but are the human species de-evolving?

Perhaps technology can be looked at as a key component of the evolution of mankind, or it can be looked at as a means to suppress natural selection.  What are the consequences of these outcomes?  What if a group does significantly evolve (or de-evolve) so significantly that they can no longer breed with the rest of us?  It seems to follow that humans naturally are group selectors with a history of racism, sexism, tribalism, elitism, etc.  What are the consequences of speciesism?  What will the world look like when we have more than one species of "intelligent" beings?

Tags: evolution, human, species

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I think that we are indeed incredibly arrogant to assume the human species as we know it will witness any lengthy adaptation or evolutionary process in the state in which we now reside. 

I mean, look at how we view the intellect of ancestors only a few hundred years in our past? 

Superstition believing, ignorant.. backwards and most likely inbred. 

What will our decedents think of us?

Now look at how slow the natural process is to emerge, especially retarded as it is with reverse 'natural selection' or whatever you want to call it.. brought on by boob jobs and birth control. 

To put it simply, we aren't going anywhere fast. 

At any rate, even if the species were to split and we were to have a thinking process even slightly similar but obviously different to a species different than what we are now...we  would probably do what humankind has always done. 

Exploit it. Enslave it. Dehumanize it's original characteristics and use it to our advantage. 

'Our' being relative, of course, because on the slight chance it does happen, I see it playing out this way. (And I'll be on the smart team.)

Every civilization in the world has the 'has' or the 'has not' class. 

As populations increase, the divide increases as well. 

Those that keep the divide in check have a limited population?

Why?

Because that's the only way to keep resources divided up evenly enough so that all people can survive. 

Imagine a society where the leader eats last. 

Exactly. 

Every decision would be for the good of the group as a whole. Keeping a limited population meant a higher standard of living over all. 

Unfortunately, in times before medical technology and wars of the masses, the cultures with the smallest population died first. 

That's the drawback of globalization. Your immune system gets weaker from a limited gene pool and limited exposure group. Sucks to be you. 

There is a reason that all aggressive religions teach procreation and from-birth indoctrination. They simply need more numbers. 

So here we are.

Living the script to 'Idiocracy.'

Cuz it's only going to get worse from here.

There will be an educated/intelligent ruling class that's a statistical minority overseeing a more genetically diverse but poorer, dumber, more ignorant class...a class which makes up the backbone of the work-force. 

One group -probably the ignorant but more numerous class- will survive, and go on to slowly evolve or devolve. 

The de-evolution process might take a while.. but hey, it will happen in good time.

 

Look at the entire history of the world. Examine geography and archeology and sociology and every other -olgy through the cosmos as we know them.

Name a single species that has EVER outsmarted mother nature.

Even for a microscopic slice in the history of evolution. 

Tell me what you see. 

 

We don't stand a chance.

And that's ok. 

 

 

 

 

I think society does stand a chance.  The increasing secularization of advanced societies has led to a few supporting the many, at least as it pertains to innovation..  This applies in the sciences and medicine.  It only takes a few smart people to lead society to innovation.  The rest benefit.  Even considering that profit margins come before the advancement of society in a capitalist system, there are always profitable advancements to be made.  There are also universities that will study the potentially unprofitable problems.  As freedom and secular thinking spread to more and more countries, the unchecked reproduction of the meek will dissipate, as anyone whose values point them to a reasonably comfortable life will eventually learn that a large family is prohibitive.
Sexual selection is the primary means of evolution for most species, including humans. What's considered sexy, who's children we decide to bear, and what we do to keep them alive (at least long enough to breed) are going to be key factors in human evolution. These all differ from place to place, so we may eventually see separate species coming to be if the world doesn't globalize and mix enough.

There's another interesting thing to think on too. We use thousands of chemicals created within the past century every single day. And how many of us know exactly what is being safety tested against, say, genetic damage rather than just eye irritation? The other driving factor for evolution is mutation after all, but mutation is a lot more likely to give you cancer than super powers or a better immune system. And this applies to all other life forms, whom we rely on to feed us and keep the planet environmentally stable.

We may end up needing to edit, fix, or improve our own DNA just to survive and THAT is going to branch human evolution off a whole lot more than we can even think about, and probably cause wars and fear and hate. The idea of super humans is almost always portrayed with horror. It's inherently unfair, after all.

As to other creatures becoming intelligent, we need only to look to the sea. Dolphins already have complex social structures, language, can use tools, and interact with us. And their habitat is going to change drastically which could spur their evolution along much quicker than normal, or kill them... And who knows what other species are well on the way and simply haven't been noticed yet due to lack of study? We know very little of the world yet. We better learn fast!

I surmise that before the sons of Adam, in the megafauna creation that preceded ours (and before it was destroyed by a cataclysm that left Mammoth flash frozen with food in their mouths in Siberia), the Ante-Adam age was one filled with a motley crew  of variants of humanity: Neanderthal, Cro-magnon, Hobbit man, Homo Erectus and now a new variant. All of these perished in a cataclysm, with "darkness being upon the face of the deep", prior the age of the sons of Adam, but now,  all genetically linked to a single haploid group of man. 

Mysterious Chinese Fossils May Be New Human Species

Mysterious fossils of what may be a previously unknown type of human have been uncovered in caves in China, ones that possess a highly unusual mix of bygone and modern human features, scientists reveal.

Surprisingly, the fossils are only between 11,500 and 14,500 years old. That means they would have shared the landscape with modern humans when China's earliest farmers were first appearing.

"These new fossils might be of a previously unknown species, one that survived until the very end of the ice age around 11,000 years ago," said researcher Darren Curnoe, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

"Alternatively, they might represent a very early and previously unknown migration of modern humans out of Africa, a population who may not have contributed genetically to living people," Curnoe added.

The skeletons

At least three fossil specimens were uncovered in 1989 by miners quarrying limestone at Maludong or Red Deer Cave near the city of Mengzi in southwest China. They remained unstudied until 2008. The scientists are calling them the "Red Deer Cave People," because they cooked extinct red deer in their namesake cave. [Photos of the Red Deer Cave People]

"They clearly had a taste for venison, with evidence they cooked these large deer in the cave," Curnoe said.

Carbon dating, a technique that estimates the radioactive decay of carbon in samples of charcoal found with the fossils helped establish their age. The charcoal also showed they knew how to use fire. Stone artifacts found at the Maludong site also suggest they were toolmakers.

A Chinese geologist found a fourth partial skeleton, which looks very similar to the Maludong fossils, in a cave near the village of Longlin in southwest China in 1979 while prospecting the area for oil. It stayed encased in a block of rock neglected in the basement of an archaeological research institute until 2009, when the international team of scientists rediscovered the fossils.

"In 2009, when I was in China working with co-author Professor Ji Xueping, he showed me the block of rock that contained the skull," Curnoe recalled. "After picking my own jaw up from the floor, we decided we had to make the remains a priority of our research."

Jutting jaws and flaring cheeks

The Stone Age fossils are unusual mosaics of modern and archaic human anatomical features, as well as previously unseen characteristics. This makes them difficult to classify as either a new species or an unusual type of modern human.

For instance, the Red Deer Cave people had long, broad and tall frontal lobes like modern humans. These brain lobes are located immediately behind the forehead, and are linked with personality and behavior.

However, the Red Deer Cave people differ from modernHomo sapiens in their prominent brow ridges, thick skull bones, flat upper faces with a broad nose, jutting jaws that lack a humanlike chin, brains moderate in size by ice age human standards, large molar teeth, and primitively short parietal lobes — brain lobes at the top of the head associated with sensory data. "These are primitive features seen in our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago," Curnoe said. [Learn About the Human Skeleton]

Unique features of the Red Deer Cave people seen neither in modern nor known archaic lineages of humans include a strongly curved forehead bone, very broad nose and eye sockets, and very flat cheeks that flare widely to the sides to make space for large chewing muscles. In addition, the place where the lower jaw forms a joint with the base of the skull is unusually wide and deep.

All in all, the Red Deer Cave people are the youngest population to be found anywhere in the world whose anatomy does not comfortably fit within the range of modern humans, whether they be modern humans from 150 or 150,000 years ago, the researchers noted.

"In short, they're anatomically unique among all members of the human evolutionary tree," Curnoe told LiveScience.

Mysterious population in Asia

The Red Deer Cave people lived in China at the end of the ice age. "They survived the final and one of the worst cold episodes, known as the Last Glacial Maximum, which ended around 20,000 years ago," Curnoe said.

"The period around 15,000 to 11,000 years ago when they thrived in southwest China is known as the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, and it saw a shift to climates and ecological communities the same as those of today," Curnoe added. "It also saw the demise of the megafaunain most places, including a giant deer that was exploited by the Red Deer Cave people and recovered in large numbers from the Maludong site."

"This time also saw a major shift in the behavior of modern humans in southern China, who began to make pottery for food storage and to gather wild rice — this marks some of the first steps towards full-blown farming," Curnoe said. "The Red Deer Cave people were sharing the landscape with these early pre-farming communities, but we have no idea yet how they may have interacted or whether they competed for resources." [10 Things That Make Humans Special]

Although modern-day Asia contains more than half of the world's population, researchers still know little about humans there after our ancestors settled Eurasia about 70,000 years ago, Curnoe said. No human fossils less than 100,000 years old had been found in mainland East Asia that resembled anything other than anatomically modern humans until now. These new findings are fossil evidence that this region may not have been devoid of our evolutionary cousins.

"The discovery of the Red Deer Cave People opens the next chapter in the latest stage of the human evolutionary story, the Asian chapter," Curnoe said. "It's a story that's just beginning to be told."

Defining a human

A key reason the scientists have not yet decided how to classify the Red Deer People scientifically has to do with one of the major ongoing questions for scientists investigating human evolution — "the lack of a satisfactory biological definition of our own species, Homo sapiens," Curnoe said. "We still don't have one that most of us agree upon."

"I think the evidence is slightly weighted towards the Red Deer Cave people representing a new evolutionary line," Curnoe said. "First, their skulls are anatomically unique — they look very different to all modern humans, whether alive today or in Africa 150,000 years ago. And second, the very fact they persisted until almost 11,000 years ago when we know that very modern-looking people lived at the same time immediately to the east and south suggests they must have been isolated from them. We might infer from this isolation that they either didn't interbreed or did so in a limited way."

Recent findings suggest that other, different evolutionary lines may have also lived in the region, such as the "hobbit" or Homo floresiensis on the island of Flores in Indonesia.

"This paints an amazing picture of diversity, one we had no clue about until this last decade," Curnoe said.

The Red Deer Cave people might possibly even be related to a mysterious branch of humanity known as the Denisovans only discovered in the past two years, whose DNA suggests they were neither like us nor Neanderthals.

"It is certainly possible that the Red Deer Cave people (represent)  an interbreeding event between modern humans and some other population like the Denisovans," Curnoe said.

Ultimately, to see how closely or distantly related the Red Deer Cave people are to modern humans or even the Denisovans, the scientists want to extract and test DNA from the fossils. "We've had one attempt already, but without success," Curnoe said. "We'll just have to wait and see if we're successful in our future work."

I don't see how humans can really evolve anymore, at least not through natural selection because the majority of children are growing up and having children regardless of their fitness.

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