My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

My ebook
Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
and Sumba, Indonesia
" is available at
this link

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Will Fish become Fish again?

How will man evolve going forward? I am talking of say 5 million years from now. Will our index finger evolve into mobile phones? Will hips get mutated into i-pods? Will legs become shorter to allow more comfortable economy-class flights? Will the male organ become dotted or crocodile-ribbed?

Now evolution and selection of features through survival of the fittest is limited to biological organs and processes; and increasingly many of our functions are being carried out by machines. So I am pretty sure that hands won't become mobile phones.

But now, it's not the physically strong who are the fittest: largely it's the economically strong ones. And I don't know how evolution can work on economic parameters - because economic well being can't be coded in the genes. So is it the end of evolution for human species? Will other related species catch-up with us?

And finally, will fish become fish again as shown in the cartoon by John Stegmann above?


Thomas said...

If you are interested in evolution, you might like to read the books Stephen Jay Gould has written on the subject. Start with Ever since Darwin. SJG was a paleontology professor at Harvard (maybe Yale, one of those two), and the books are collections of essays on the subject he had published in "Nature" magazine.

Your statement that evolution is limited to biological processes isn't quite right. Often a change in behavior happens first, and the biological change happens second.

Can fish become fish again? Yes. Dolphins evolved from a horse-like creature, so it's already happened once. Cool, huh?

Shivaji said...

I have avoided Gould's book so far...I have basically read reviews that his theories are not well validated...

Nice to know about the dolphin story

Thomas said...

Gould's theory that evolution happens in little bursts, "punctuated equilibrium," has been challenged, but his books are mostly about evolution in general. I think he does a good job making a complicated subject accessible.

Ashu M said...

Well, we already know (thanks to Douglas Adams) that Dolphins are the superior, more evolved residents of our planet. So who knows - perhaps we can evolve into fish again! Although the current biking stage is rather cool, at least as far as I'm concerned ;)

And dotted? I can understand ribbed ... but dotted? Ick!