Discussion in 'Zoo Cafe' started by Loxodonta Cobra, 28 Dec 2016.
Question is simple really. How and when will the human species go extinct?
A highly contagious virus with 100% mortality, carried by birds, airborne transmission between humans, with an eight week incubation period and symptomatic for only 24 hours before death.
It would not surprise me should a bioweapon backfire and go out of control, wiping out even its makers. But I also think - though it is politically incorrect - that genetic load will cripple the species. Civilisation is an analog of domestication, bringing the same kinds of problems, leaving people less fit for survival.
Medical and other technologies over come genetic challenges to survival. Civilization is not a good analogy to domestication.
The bioarchaeological record is marked by physical characteristics such as changes to the size of human teeth, similar to other animals under domestication. and even the decrease in average brain size during the Holocene matches the trend in domesticated species. But the trend was already present before the Holocene.
[1102.5604] Selection for smaller brains in Holocene human evolution
Comparative Genomic Evidence for Self-Domestication in Homo sapiens
As regards genetic load, people forget just how established genetic screening already is. And most people who would use the established tech to abort a Downs Syndrome baby, do not use it where genetic load is most obvious - the genetic predispositions to common modern diseases, like heart disease or certain cancers. Based on the current uptake and acceptance of existing technologies, will future techs and medical services, hopefully ones without recourse to means like abortion, be used efficiently to attack disease load as it cumulates?
If anything people seem to accept what are now everyday fatal diseases as something inevitable, simply because they became familiar, whilst things like Downs Syndrome or Tay Sachs remain rare and scary.
And then the sorts of people and communities bearing more children, are most resistent to the new technologies, because they see it as unnatural. How likely is it that future uptakes of new techs will be consistent across religious, social and cultural communities?
Climate change and the resulting chaos will do a lot of us in, but we won't go extinct.
Everything goes extinct. Anthropoids as a whole peaked in the Miocene and then took a downturn: Homo sp. peaked earlier in the Pleistocene. Just one living species, even such a numerous one, isn't going too good.
Some options are missing in this poll I thik... the main one will be "Humans never will go extinct" (reasoning why), and other could be "Humans will evolve into other species instead being extinct"
Not going extinct? Evolving?
Peter Ward "Future Evolution"
For those that want to avoid the loooooooooooooooong article linked in the post above, I let here the conclusion of it related to this thread, seen in the end of Chapter Nine:
"Although the litany of dangers facing our species seems daunting, none is an unambiguous death sentence. Each can be dealt with if our species shows foresight. These dangers must confront any race that climbs the evolutionary ladder to intelligence. As Carl Sagan says in his book Pale Blue Dot: �Some planetary civilizations see their way through, place limits on what may and what must not be done, and safely pass through the time of perils. Others, not so lucky or so prudent, perish�.
My own view is that we will successfully negotiate the hazards threatening our species. We will not kill ourselves off. We will not die off from disease. We will wax and wane in numbers as the long roll of time still facing this planet buffets our species with all manner of climate changes, asteroid impacts, runaway technology, and evil robots. We will persevere. But the animals and plants along for the ride on this planet that we have so cockily co-opted will not be so fortunate."
And I can't be more agree.
Its not an article but a complete book, made available by Pavel of the Neocene project. Unlike some other books about future evolution this one is more theoretical, than those providing a timeline or a world. The starting premise (not a final conclusion) is that humans do not go extinct, although they may modify themselves deliberately. Enjoy.
The book strikes me as a far-inferior rip-off of the excellent After Man and Man After Man, both by Dougal Dixon; the latter follows precisely the conceit you remark upon, that humanity may modify themselves genetically to fit various niches.
The former gives us many great things, including the Night Stalker:
The Ward book does not follow the same format as either Dixon book, at all. Like most people I loved After Man but the text does not stand up well nowadays, with the viviparous penguins and such. Its still a classic, and inspired later works.
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