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Author Topic: Human evolution after the apocalypse?  (Read 1779 times)

Offline Sylak

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Human evolution after the apocalypse?
« on: 12/04/2010 13:19:36 »
I am very interested in any scientific predictions made on how nature might adapt the human body to better survive in a post nuclear war environment - taking the worst case scenario into account: High radiation, extremes in temperature, restricted/contaminated fresh food and water [add to the list all you want]?

Based on the survival of the fittest, how would future generations hundreds or even many thousands of years into the future appear different from ourselves? Body hair, skin thickness? perhaps even regression of exposed sexual organs?

I expect much speculative research may have been done during the cold war period mainly during the 50s-60s? Where do I find this on the net?

This is a serious question not an attempt to turn the forum into a Sci-Fi chat room please.  I am well aware of all the fantastic fiction written on this subject; but, I am after factually based research not George Orwell radio plays.

Kind thanks,


 

Offline Pwee

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Human evolution after the apocalypse?
« Reply #1 on: 12/04/2010 15:03:43 »
I doubt that there is any actual controlled research with vertebrates about evolution. It just would take too long to get any measurable effect. There are some observational data and some research on fruit flies and bacteria.

We (homo sapiens sapiens) did not really change genetically during the last 10 thousand years.
There is no point in making predictions about evolution of our species, as these changes take place in such a long time scale that it really doesn't matter. A hypothesis is not testable, it can't be falsified, ergo it is not science.

There are so many factors that needs to be taken into account: what is the scale of the nuclear apocalypse, how many survivors are there, how many are in the surviving groups and how close they are to eachother, in which environment are they living, how can they get essential resources, is there a competition inside the groups or between the groups, what did the nuclear apocalypse do to our planet, is there sunlight, are there any plants, wildlife left, are they struggling to survive in a day to day bases, what are the main causes of death, what timeframe are we looking at, 500 years or 10000 years...

And even if we knew all these information, there is no point of guessing. Mutations are random, so we can't guess what will arise in our genes.

If we take worst case scenario, we are all dead before evolution can get to us.
 

Offline Sylak

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Human evolution after the apocalypse?
« Reply #2 on: 12/04/2010 16:27:30 »
Thanks Pwee,

Thinking about what you said: you are probably right. It would certainly explain why I can't seem to find anything I am looking for, if it doesn't exist?

To be honest, I was rather hoping to base a short story I am currently writing a little more on good science rather than fanciful musings. ;-)

But, thanks to you, I will now place the events of the story a lot further in the future post apocalypse, and try to be careful not to over exaggerate any mutations I create.

The effects I would have expected to find may have included: a kind of natural radiation protection such as a toughened skin surface?  I also imagined shorter statures to accommodate potential food shortages; and a hairless androgynous appearance for both men and women giving them equal physical attributes and abilities for the harsh survival in a barren land?

Other suggestions would be most welcomed at this point.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Human evolution after the apocalypse?
« Reply #2 on: 12/04/2010 16:27:30 »

 

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