Does evolution model predict what's next for each species? What's next for humans?
If there is a new and strong evolutionary pressure, you could predict its effect, but barring that, it would be tough.
A search on evolutionary pressure points me to human's resistance to Malaria and few other diseases. Those don't seem to be strong. Since we don't have any strong evolutionary pressure right now, the prediction would be to continue the same. Right?
If brain wiring counts as evolution, it appears that each generation seems to have a greater affinity for technology. There are 3-year-old kids doing things with computers that I can't begin to understand, and gamers seem to be the talent pool of choice for modern fighter pilots.
I can also foresee a gradual darkening of light-skinned races in order to build up a better tolerance for UV.
For several thousands years people of higher intelligence were able to gather more wealth and in effect produce more offspring - thus average human got wiser. Now the trend is reversed - those intelligent cease to have kids, those stupid produce offspring like rabbits. Thus average human gets dumber.
Sure, that's oversimplified. But don't ignore the idea.
That's not evolution. Kids today are simply exposed to technology which didn't exist when we were their age; they are comfortable with it because of that early exposure. I guarantee that if you were able to go back in time and bring a human baby born 20,000 years ago back to today and raise him, he'd be just as comfortable with the tech of today as his new contemporaries.
In any case, to the larger point here: evolution is inherently unpredictable, except perhaps in the very broadest sense. It is not possible to predict the evolutionary path a given species will ultimately take, even knowing the selection pressures acting on it for the simple reason that there are a virtually unlimited number of potential solutions to filling a particular niche or dealing with a particular pressure. Evolutionary development has neither goals nor direction.
There was an area in Japan where fishermen who caught a crab that had a marking that looked like a samurai, they would throw it back. Now, every one of those critters has that marking.
In short, you could predict some short term things, but in the long run, who knows.
Check out the movie Idiocracy
This is likely a myth:
Duely noted. I only heard this in passing anyway.
But some studies that I've seen (I'm afraid that I can't cite them) indicate the their synaptic connections are fundamentally different than ours because of that exposure. Doesn't that indicate differentiation within our species?
Agreed, but it does tend overall toward improvement.
Well, we know the brain develops new connections in the face of novel stimuli, but this isn't evolution; these connections are not heritable.
Ah, right. I see your point, and concede.
How do we differentiate if a change we observe is due to evolution or not? Many of the diseases are hereditary.
We don't. At least not in real time; we have to go back through the fossil record and determine what changes led to new evolutionary paths. A change is just a change--it can be caused by any number of factors. Evolution is the result of many such changes and occurs over many hundreds of generations.
I think the next stage in human evolution is that humans are gonna evolve to become much fatter.
Humans are starting to become like Dodo's. Dodo's basically were a bird that had no preditor after them so they did not need and thus lost the ability to fly. The Dodo became fat because they're food was pretty much always just right there for them and all they had to do was wobble around everynow and then to get it.
Now compare that to humans, we mostly get around in cars and in most of our jobs we don't really have to do much physical work anymore in comparision to a 1000 years ago.
Also to play off Boreks idea i find that people who seem to have like 5 kids a year (a.k.a. Slappers) are not only dum but are usually fat.
In otherwords our great great great great great great great great great great great great great great Granchildren are gonna be Giant dum fatty monsters kept alive only by pipes leading straight from Mc Donalds .
Evolution cannot happen in the absence of selection for certain traits over others.
In most developed nations, natural selection is simply not a factor. In others, the only significant selection present would be for resilience against disease (like the abundance of sickle-cell anemia in Africa to combat malaria).
The only selection that can take place is cultural in nature, and as the present cultures of the world are so intermingled and diverse, it can hardly play a role either.
Evolution is no longer a “blind process” Humans now have the ability to selectively change DNA so soon we will be able to customize our children.
And this puts a whole new spin on Evolution, Just think of the possibilities Smarter, faster, stronger, the ability to live under water, and perform photosynthesis.
The next 1000 years or so will be very interesting for the human race and other life forms we decide to change.
I don't think we'll survive that long.
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