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Future Animal Evolution (With and Sans Human Interference)

evolution canine feline primate future evolution artificial selection natural selection speciation dogs humans

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#1
Yuli Ban

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In this thread, let's talk about evolution. Specifically, future evolution of various animals.

I want to focus mostly on evolution sans notre aide; that is, without our assistance. We've long discussed how humans may evolve in the future— whether that leads to us looking like Grays, diverging into Eloi and Morlocks, adapting to new planets, and whatnot.

 

But what about other animals? What will they look like in 50,000, 100,000, 1,000,000+ years' time?

The most obvious set of animals to start with are canines, felines, and primates.

 

For the sans notre aid scenario, let's assume humans are forever locked at a near-future level of sci-tech development.

 

Dogs today descended from wolves. We don't know what species of wolf that was, but it happened several dozen thousand years ago, and their evolution would have taken wholly different paths had humans not discovered how loyal, intelligent, and downright useful they could be if only they could be tamed.

Fast forward to 2017 AD, and there are dozens of breeds of dogs. However, despite our eugenicist attitude towards dog breeding, no one has yet managed to create a new species of canine.

What would it take? We could keep breeding and breeding them until, eventually, a subspecies emerges. However, that still isn't a new species. Speciation in long-lived mammals takes thousands of years at least, and that's including artificial selection. 

So let's fast forward again to 150,000 AD. Humans are comfortably spread about, but we're most populous on Earth, Luna, and Mars. Lo and behold, that's where dogs are most populous as well.

 

So how about it? What do you think dogs roughly 150,000 years from now will look like, taking into consideration that they can be found on Earth and elsewhere?


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#2
Alislaws

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I'm a little bit confused are we discussing with humans involved, or without humans involved? Why would humans being locked at current levels of development make any difference to the sans notre aid scenraio, where humans are not meant to be a factor?

 

I'd say with humans involved the future of dogs will depend on fashions in dog breeding we have no way to predict.

 

Without humans involved, I guess they would gradually regress towards wolves (certainly species like huskies and wolfhounds etc.), as the selective pressures on them would be similar to those from before humans showed up.

 

Its possible that some of the small dogs, if they maintained separate breeding populations could end up transitioning into a role something like a ferret? (possibly by surviving in areas where larger dogs died, they'd need less food for example) 

 

Would be interesting to see if the smarter dogs managed to be more successful than the more athletic or aggressive breeds, If there was significant survival advantage for intelligence then they could eventually end up taking over where we left off. 

 

A lot of pure bred dogs would just die, like the ones with the messed up faces that spend their whole lives struggling to breathe.


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#3
Yuli Ban

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I'm a little bit confused are we discussing with humans involved, or without humans involved? Why would humans being locked at current levels of development make any difference to the sans notre aid scenraio, where humans are not meant to be a factor?

Cybernetics and genetic engineering.

 

Sans notre aid = without our assistance in their direct evolution, meaning we don't partake in genetic engineering or cybernetic augmentation (which could lead to radical developments such as higher order sapience, speech, and the like between generations or even for a single animal in the case of the latter). The most we do is what we've been doing. That is, selective breeding, environmental alteration, and referalization (that is, sending domesticated animals back into the wild).


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#4
Yuli Ban

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I found this one image of what a future dog could look like. Not sure how I feel about it.

future_dog_by_bionicstrength.jpg


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#5
Mike the average

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Without interference, I think in the far future we leave Earth to the rest of the animals. We are on a different path to the rest of nature, one that considers outgrowing even biological needs of nature.

If we are not interfering, i suppose these are the last few centuries with dogs while canis lupus, canis dingo and all the wild dogs will remain protected and continue on as of thousands of years ago.
'Force always attracts men of low morality' - Einstein
'Great spirits always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds' - Einstein

#6
TheComrade

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Fast forward to 2017 AD, and there are dozens of breeds of dogs. However, despite our eugenicist attitude towards dog breeding, no one has yet managed to create a new species of canine.

What would it take? We could keep breeding and breeding them until, eventually, a subspecies emerges. However, that still isn't a new species.

 

That reminded me my own numberless discussions with creationists:

 

"But where are new species?"

"Just wait (millions of years) and see..."

 

First and foremost, the "specie" itself is a bit artificial, man-made concept. In the nature, you can never say: "Wow, finally! Look at these puppies! They're already belong to the new specie!". You can only notice it retrospectively, looking at long line of ancestors and descendants: differences are slowly growing and, after some point, they are enough to define the animal as a "new specie". Plus, you also need reproductive isolation (what is impossible with modern dogs).

 

As for dogs, i suspect in the distant future they will learn to speak (yes, literally). Better communication with humans will be a huge evolutionary advantage. Dogs are smart animals, even today they know the meaning of some words & sometimes trying to "say" something themselves. At least, my own dog tried many times and was really embarrased when failed, again and again.


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#7
joe00uk

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Do any of you have the book "After Man: A Zoology of the Future" by Dougal Dixon? That's really a wonderful book for speculation about the future evolution of animals.


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#8
Mike the average

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Sounds worth checking out.
'Force always attracts men of low morality' - Einstein
'Great spirits always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds' - Einstein

#9
BarkEater93

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^^^ Wow that looks like a really interesting book, I think I'll check it out. 

 

Hmmm.... thinking about future animal evolution I would maybe try to look at all the animals that have adapted well to urban environments, and see what they all have in common. An animal that's a scavenger, has a wide-ranging diet, that doesn't necessarily have to den in trees, swift-moving to evade humans and traffic... something like that maybe? Assuming there's still massive urbanization in the far future, these are the kinds of animals that may flourish 



#10
Sciencerocks

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Animals will have to become much more 1. intelligent or 2. become more like cats or dogs or 3. something we eat....We're so powerful because of our intelligence and communications abilities that "strength", speed and size no longer matters a whole lot in survival.

 

1. Intelligence...Can they reason with us and be given rights? Attempt to work with us or beg for mercy? They'll have to develop some way to communicate with us. Better yet, become more powerful then us at our own game?

2. More house pets like cats, dogs or ferrets. We love our pets and they'll most surely will survive the long term.

3. What we eat...For a short life your species will be breed by us and will surely survive as a species far into the future...Cows, pigs, etc.

 

I predict most animals that are heavier then 20 ibs will become extinct within the next 200 years that aint within one of the top 3 above. They're dying right in front of us as I type this post....Tigers, lions, wolfs, etc....


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#11
Sciencerocks

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I found this one image of what a future dog could look like. Not sure how I feel about it.

future_dog_by_bionicstrength.jpg

 

Humans would wipe those ugly things out in a few weeks. Dog evolution will be for friendly and cuddly dogs in the future.


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#12
BarkEater93

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Animals will have to become much more 1. intelligent or 2. become more like cats or dogs or 3. something we eat....We're so powerful because of our intelligence and communications abilities that "strength", speed and size no longer matters a whole lot in survival.

 

1. Intelligence...Can they reason with us and be given rights? Attempt to work with us or beg for mercy? They'll have to develop some way to communicate with us. Better yet, become more powerful us at our own game?

2. More house pets like cats, dogs or ferrets. We love our pets and they'll most surely will survive the long term.

3. What we eat...For a short life your species will be breed by us and will surely survive as a species far into the future...Cows, pigs, etc.

 

I predict most animals that are heavier then 20 ibs will become extinct within the next 200 years that aint within one of the top 3 above. They're dying right in front of us as I type this post....Tigers, lions, wolfs, etc....

 

Nature always finds a niche. Given how conservation savvy society is becoming I don't think it would be too far-fetched to see humans and other animals coexisting more, they already do in cities. And even if most of them are considered pests, most have been very difficult to get rid of (read about the raccoon problem Toronto has), and many could be very beneficial for humans. 

 

I think of cities as an ecosystem too. They're new, so not many animals have adapted to them yet. But give some time, and they will diversify. Humans might exterminate the ones that are pests, but some will ingrain themselves and be an essential part of the urban environment. 


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#13
TheComrade

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Animals will have to become much more 1. intelligent or 2. become more like cats or dogs or 3. something we eat....We're so powerful because of our intelligence and communications abilities that "strength", speed and size no longer matters a whole lot in survival.

 

1. Intelligence...Can they reason with us and be given rights? Attempt to work with us or beg for mercy? They'll have to develop some way to communicate with us. Better yet, become more powerful then us at our own game?

2. More house pets like cats, dogs or ferrets. We love our pets and they'll most surely will survive the long term.

3. What we eat...For a short life your species will be breed by us and will surely survive as a species far into the future...Cows, pigs, etc.

 

I predict most animals that are heavier then 20 ibs will become extinct within the next 200 years that aint within one of the top 3 above. They're dying right in front of us as I type this post....Tigers, lions, wolfs, etc....

 

Yes, very true. The whole meaning of evolution is adaptation to environment, and the key factor of current / future environment will be humans (or post-human derivative species). Be friendly and useful to humans will be a better strategy than to be hostile and irritating.


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#14
Alislaws

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Yes, very true. The whole meaning of evolution is adaptation to environment, and the key factor of current / future environment will be humans (or post-human derivative species). Be friendly and useful to humans will be a better strategy than to be hostile and irritating.

 

This is why there are now approximately 19 billion chickens in the world. Their genius strategy of tasting awesome has paid off big time

 

(in evolutionary terms, obvs. most of them probably don't have the nicest lives)

 

EDIT: till we master growing meat, once we do that then tasting amazing might no longer be a workable strategy. 



#15
Yuli Ban

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Here's another way to keep evolving in a world dominated by humans: be closely related to humans. Close enough to generate a smidgeon of familial sympathy in us for you.

 

future_lifeforms_17.jpg


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: evolution, canine, feline, primate, future evolution, artificial selection, natural selection, speciation, dogs, humans

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