The Evolution of Humanity...

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by superstring01, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. superstring01 Moderator

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    If a species evolves to the next level by utilizing a random mutation which just so happens to be an advantage and subplants inferior members of it's kinds (usually by killing them and/or eating all the available food-- thus causing them to die), how are we going to evolve to the next level.

    Somewhere along the way, we (thankfully) evolved morality. But, the one victim of our morality is evolution. We no longer exterminate the weak (thankfully). Since this is the case, what is the next stage?

    Licensed breading?
    Genetic engineering?

    Discuss!

    ~String
     
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  3. valich Registered Senior Member

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    Evolution is about speciation. Morality is about society. Morality is most relative only to humans - other primates - and depends on the society they grow up in. Your mixing apples with oranges. This is not relative to the subject of the thread and probably belongs on the psychology forum.
     
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  5. matthyaouw Registered Senior Member

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    Evolution is as much to do with genetic variation as selection. In the western world, most selective pressures are greatly reduced so we may accumulate genetic variation freely, which may in time turn out to be advantageous.
     
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  7. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

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    No. For some odd reason it's a very common misconception that humans are no longer evolving.

    We still are, and always have been.
     
  8. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Our moral sense evolved, and we will continue to undergo evolution into the future. Inferior species aren't necessarily pushed out of existence, they just don't succeed as well. Even today, certain human traits lead to success, and others lead to failure in terms of spreading our sets of genes in the gene pool.

    An example of recent evolution is the European ability to digest lactose, which only evolved since the widespread use of dairy, about 10,000 years ago.
     
  9. river-wind Valued Senior Member

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    ++ on Hercules, and a question:

    As populations have moved toward a more wide-spread culture (globalisation), could it be said that the process is an evolution of the societial structures? Those traits that work and allow the society to survive and continue dominate; all new ideas are "mutations" which are mostly nuetral or negative, and disappear in short order. Those few new ideas which work take root and thrive; out-competing other ideas and social methods.

    And in followwing, if one set of rules dominates all others, and creates a mono-culture, then is it that much more succeptable to the exploitation of a single fault, as a particular mold can wipe out an entire species
     
  10. Theophage Registered Member

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    Howdy Superstring,

    There are several things in your post I'd like to address:

    Two things here which are common misconceptions of evolution. First, an entire species won't necessarily change, since most species consist of many different breeding populations. Evolutionary changes in one breeding population won't necessarily show up in another. This is why we usually find new species splitting off from another species rather than simply replacing them. Two use an example in the human line, the ancestor of both modern humans and chimpanzees split into (at least) two groups, one becoming humans and one becoming chimpanzees.

    Second, when you say "next level", it sounds alot like another common misconception of evolution, that it happens in linear stages (generally) going from "less evolved" to "more evolved". The fact is that every species alive today, from redwood trees to bacteria to cats to humans is just as "evolved" as every other. I'm not sure if you meant it that way, however.

    Rarely does speciation happen due to a single mutation (though polyploidy is a good example of this). It usually occurs due to population groups becoming more and more reproductively isolated over time due to the accumulation of many such mutations.

    I don't think that the complete replacement scenario you describe above is very common at all; though we modern humans certainly did seem to replace our cousins the neanderthals.

    Also it should be noted that very few genetic changes are universally good or bad. Selection is due to particular environmental pressures, and as pressures change, what was once good may now be bad and vice versa.

    Well, I don't think we're so evolutionarily bereft as you're thinking. Remember that evolution is primarily about reproduction and particularly differential reproductive success. If a certain segment of humanity regularly outbreeds another segment, then it will pass much more of it's genes into the next generation. In contrast, if certain segments reproduce much less, less of the successive generations will contain their genes. That's evolution right there, and it happens all the time in humans.

    You don't need to exterminate anyone to stop their genes from being passed on, just take their mates.
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Humans simply await the next round of selection - we've done a fair job of variable reproduction, now comes the culling death.

    Afterwards, we will have evolved. Your guess is as good as mine, as far as what variations will prove to have been significant.
     
  12. Lote-Tree Registered Senior Member

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    Perhaps next stage is already being set - the melding of technology with humanity...that is the next step. That is the only way we can keep in step with computers or else they will surpass us...
     
  13. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

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    We don't need to "exterminate the weak" to evolve. I think we'll evolve to fit our new, artificial lifestyle. Any genetic variations of ours which aren't a detriment but aren't needed either probably won't be quick to "evolve out" of us, if at all, but the variations that are detrimental will likely do so. I can't think of any variations that are detrimental right now, but I'm sure there are some.
     
  14. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    There is some reason to believe that this may not be the case. The arguments of punctuated equilibrium, developed by Eldredge and Gould, benefit from single mutation altering the embryo development process in a significant way.
     
  15. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    hmmmrrrrggghh...grump...

    maybe maybe, but in developmental biology you can have an accumulation of mutations that don't do shit by themselves but after enough new mutated material is collected this can be used to change regulatory pathways and processes leading to novelty.

    Or gene duplications. In itself they don't do anything at first, but they make it possible to rapidly change a regulatory process leading to new form.

    or something like that.
     
  16. John99 Banned Banned

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    Can mutations make a new Genus?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation

    Only asking a question so...

    To add to that, asking question's is the biggest asset a professional doing research can have...cannot do any harm, it can only help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2007
  17. RoyLennigan Registered Senior Member

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    Nothing is ever random. What we call 'random events' are merely events that are beyond our ability to percieve what is actually happening. Mutations occur because of a specific reason, even if that reason is hard to track down or seemingly insignificant. All causes have a way of becoming more significant as time goes on; visa vi the butterfly effect.

    Human evolution appears to have come to a stop for several reasons. For one, we have a very short (relatively) time of individual perception, therefore we cannot observer firsthand any (or maybe just most) significant changes. Second, as humans, we are naturally inclined to adapt our environment to our needs, rather than adapt ourselves to our environment, as previous organisms did.

    It is my opinion that the next stage of human evolution will be an intellectual divide. Not necessarily between smarter and dumber, though it may turn out that way. It will be between cultures and/or ideologies. The biggest step in the next stage of evolution will come about when a new niche opens up, either due to a vast natural disaster that wipes out a large percentage of the population, or the ability to send masses of people into space or to other planets. These things would create a new environment in which only certain people would be attracted to. All evolutionary change starts with a population divide.
     
  18. John99 Banned Banned

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    Thanks for the response Roy. I was just wondering why the connection of mutation and human (interspecies) evolution is made when it, as far as i know, has never been shown to exist.

    Or has it and i just dont know about it?
     
  19. Theophage Registered Member

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    ???

    Mutation is the source for genetic diversity. Not a lot of evolution happens without it.
     
  20. RoyLennigan Registered Senior Member

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    We are all different from one another, aren't we? I mean to say, I don't think of the same things you do. I don't look exactly like you.

    Not all evolutionary changes are simply because of mutations. We can observe that two plants with genes for tall stems, when bred together, will more often than not generate a new plant that grows taller than either one. And that is just one attribute. There are many attributes of many variabilities within genes even without the presence of a mutation.

    A mutation is more like a short cut. It changes the DNA in places or in ways that would either have taken much longer to change otherwise, or would never have occured at all. These changes are also directly related to the cause of the mutation, such as gamma rays to a specific area of a specific tissue will cause generally the same mutation ('generally' simply because the same exact event cannot take place twice).

    But, DNA is all just a long pattern made of the same basic symbols. Think of a DNA strand like a book, in a specific language. The actual substance of the book is just the same symbols, but they are put in different orders which we translate to form ideas. The building blocks of DNA are just words; the DNA itself is the book. Your body is the idea. Because DNA is just a pattern, information can be "added" even by mistakes. A simple error in copying will change the end product depending on where the error was, what it was before, and what it is now. An error in a gene that is switched off won't have any effects. But if the error causes the unused gene to be switched on, then it will have drastic effects. But if the error switches one single symbol for another, then the effect might not even be noticable. But any minor change makes the end product different.

    In this way, it is seemingly impossible that DNA could not change or be changed to become any imaginable (or non-imaginable for that matter) organism possible.
     
  21. valich Registered Senior Member

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    Really? Oh. I didn't know that.
     
  22. valich Registered Senior Member

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    Numerous times I cited examples of novelty traits evolving in canidae evolution: curly tails, upright ears, white spots. This occurs in domesticated dogs, foxes and wolves. But I think you might be thinking of examples in other species? If so, could you share a few?
     

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