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Steve_A's avatar

What would evolution do to humans?

Asked by Steve_A (5120points) March 12th, 2010 from iPhone

Let’s say we were to take 2 groups of people does not matter the race or background.

But we put the 2 groups in very specific enviornments.

Like for example Group one lives in a very wet,damp, cold but not freezing enviornment and often is known for swimming.

Group 2 is very dry, hot borderlines acceptable for human living.

How many years would it be before we see any serious changes?

What kind of changes would you think happen skin made better for cooling or even gills or body changes for swimming?

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14 Answers

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Steve_A's avatar

@rekincoles I do not understand your answer. I think it was spam.

lizzyluckbox's avatar

generations…lifetimes. but im sure you are already aware…if you look at geographical location and peoples attributes/characteristics that live there, or should i say where they originate from for centuries…..they have already adapted/evolved for that particular climate.

shf84's avatar

I suppose it could depend on the severity of the pressure to evolve but in any event I think it would take a very long time.

lizzyluckbox's avatar

i dont think we will ever generate gills tho. but anythings possible, i guess! once all the ice melts and this is a water planet again…we’ll see!

Steve_A's avatar

Yes you are right people already have signs showing adoptation.

I was thinking in more extreme enviorments that are always constant.

shf84's avatar

Actually with an animal that has evolved a brain sophisticated enough to decipher the genetic code all bets are off. Nature may very well have placed the evolutionary process in the hands of the animal it’s self.

johnny0313x's avatar

I have wondered this same question before! I think for us to evolve, not only would it take an insane amount of time but we would have to be put in a situation where we could barely survive the current area we are in. Then start dying off before our bodies would fight to live in it’s current environment. That is just my most logical take on it, now sure if there is any accuracy to this though.

gorillapaws's avatar

Evolution doesn’t occur at a constant speed. Basically when a population is really big and there aren’t selective pressures on survival and reproduction then the population won’t really change much over time. However, if the group population gets much smaller, then the attributes that aid survival/reproduction will become more pronounced and in a relatively quick timeframe I believe.

Also, not all traits we evolve will always aid survival and reproduction. Because of how genetics works, one trait may be paired up with another that actually is beneficial for selective pressures and the first trait “comes along for the ride.” Evolution is actually a fairly complex subject, and I’m certainly no expert. You should take a look at Steven J. Gould’s books if you’re interested in a more sophisticated and accurate explanation.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I think the answer depends upon when you start your clock. If you start it today humans are smart enough to buy, build, or borrow the tools they need to survive so there would be very little physical difference. The people living in the wet climate would all have some kind of gotex clothing and carry tubes of A+D Ointment. The ones without would eventually die off.
If you are talking about doing the experiment 100,000 years ago that is a different story. We have already done the experiment. Dry hot – think Hopi, Wet hot -think African, Cold, dry -think Sweden or Finland. Cold wet -think red headed Irish. It takes several thousand generations.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

God wouldn’t allow it ;)) lol

Coloma's avatar

Yes, my thoughts exactly worriedguy…and…what about instant adaptability?

I just spent 2 weeks in Taiwan. Adapted immediatly to the 8 hour time dif. going from cold north american temps to 80 degrees and high humidity. The return has been more of an adjustment…maybe we can adapt quickly but it;s the devolving that causes issues? lol

Like ‘they’ say, always easier for the higher level to fall than the lower level to rise! hahaha

SeventhSense's avatar

We can adapt to our environment easier than having to rely on physical changes to our bodies so there is little need to evolve major physiological transformations. Our greatest adaptation has been our capacity to use advanced tools more successfully then any other species. With rapid environmental change it would be interesting to see how fast adaptive traits would emerge but I imagine that there would be massive mortality and some with certain biological traits most suited for the new climate would survive and start to pass on the best of these genes. Whether it be an Ice Age- those more able to store fat or Extreme Heat- those with lean frames and darker skin for example.

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