Technology has changed our lives for the better. We often think of where we would be if it weren’t for technology. I’m not talking just about the modern technology like electricity, mobile phones and the internet but in general, like heated well built homes, cars and industries that mass produce items for daily consumption. In midst of all this, we often forget and also often realize how comfortable and spoiled we have become.
Some of this technological advancement has affected our own evolution. Ever since we’ve discovered fire and farming, we’ve been eating cooked meals, rendering the consumption of cellulose, and by extension the organ used to digest it, the appendix, redundant. This made me wonder, would the marvelous feats that we have achieved over the past 200-300 years affect our path of evolution and how exactly would we be physically and mentally, say, 5000 years from now?
The answer definitely isn’t certain as it is too far fetched a timeline to make accurate predictions, and anyway, I am not going to survive for another 5000 years, but maybe this blog will. 😉
Another thing that intrigued me about this topic is how the interference of technology would affect the evolution of domestic animals such as cats, dogs or even the organisms that tend to stay near human settlements, like rats, flies, mosquitoes etc. It is a known fact that modern day mosquitoes are much smaller than their menacingly large ancestors. They evolved this way to as to become more sneaky and avoid identification.
Take an example. Almost all of us have seen dead bodies of dogs lying on highways. The poor canine was probably just crossing the road in hurry to mate with that one bitch or to make a feast of the latest garbage dump from the roadside diner joint, but unfortunately met his sad demise. Since cars have only been regularly around for the past 60-70 years, they have not evolved the instinct of better traffic crossing. Perhaps they would develop a sneakily fast reflex mechanism to avoid these beasts we call machines in a few thousand years. It might happen, who knows.
One of the latest technological feats of the human species is the advent of nuclear power. And with great nuclear power come great amounts of toxic, radioactive nuclear waste. It is a well known sci-fi trope that reactions with nuclear elements might give one superpowers. While this is far fetched in the real world, nuclear toxins do interfere with basic functionalities of both the flora and fauna. In a future world where nuclear power (and nuclear wars and subsequent nuclear winters) is commonplace, it might be interesting to see how garbage dump dwellers like rats and cockroaches react and adapt to them.
But of course evolution is a very long process and takes many many millenia to happen and the fact that the possibility of total annihilation due to war is much more probable than radioactive cockroaches making us all our slaves makes this discussion even more far fetched. Yet still, there is no bound to one’s imagination and the number of possibilities of what could happen in the world. One has got to admit, the future holds a lot many more mysteries than we could possibly even imagine.
Of course I won’t be around to witness those mysteries, but maybe in another life.
What is your take on this? How do you think modern technology will affect evolution? Do let me know in the comments section below. Do follow me on Twitter and if you want to connect, you can always contact me. Perhaps we can write something together.