A Brief Thought Experiment on Evolution
The process by which modern organisms descended from our ancient ancestors is stunning. In a billion years, our ancestors have evolved from micro organisms into every form of life we know today.
What might that mean for the next billion years?
The short answer is we have no idea. Who could have predicted that humans, cats, dogs, bears, trees, plants, grass, insects, or any life form could have evolved from bodies of water filled with microorganisms.
When you add in the impact of technology where future humans may be able to rewire themselves or reprogram their own DNA, its clear that any predictions about what's possible are futile.
Yet there are some intriguing patterns that arise if you look far enough back in history. Let's take a quick look through some of the basic stages.The history of life
Somewhere between 500 million and 1 billion years ago multicellular complex lifeforms began crawling around the ocean floors. To them, the floor was their entire universe, and crawling permitted new ways to explore.
Then some time millions of years later, the ability to swim arose. The proto-amphibians were able to leave the ocean floor and traverse through the water, examining an entirely new environment. The universe had suddenly expanded.
But these proto-amphibians could not leave the ocean. They could not breathe in what lay outside the waters. They may have been aware that something existed beyond the water, and some may have even momentarily left the ocean, but they were still limited.
Then something interesting happened. After a tremendously large number of mutations over several hundred million years, these lifeforms were able to adapt
. Suddenly a new environment existed open to exploitation and wonder.
In time amphibians begin crawling on the land, repeating the process of investigation that itheir ancestors did on the ocean floor millions of years prior.
The mutating continued for several hundred millions of years, eventually producing humans.
Humans developed the ability to leave the floor of the earth and traverse through the air. But we cannot breath in what lay outside the atmosphere. We are aware that something exists beyond the planet, some of us even having left it momentarily, but we are still limited.
And thus the cycle repeats. Crawl, Traverse, Adapt, Crawl, Traverse...
If this pattern is able to continue, the logical conclusion is that humans will eventually adapt to space. They will they be able to live in a new environment, traversing through it with the same ease that early fish once swam the oceans.
If such an adaption occurs, and whatever species arises is able to reach the edges of the universe, what new environment might this future species peek in to?
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