let me start off by saying this isn’t one of the prophetic or religious cry-for-help.
Rather a set of observations and consequent deductions made purely by logic on the writer’s part.
If there are parts which may appear offensive, and though the offense is not intentional your forgiveness isn’t sought. I’m an atheist but I respect all forms of faith even if I don’t relate to them.
There are exactly 100 Darwin’s Mangrove finches in Galapagos islands. All of them on one tiny island, Isabela. The population is divided in two community, one of 80 on the west coast and other of 20 on the eastern side. The populations are separated by 40 miles of volcanic plain and lava deserts, as effective a geographical barrier as an evolutionary biologist could ask for. The biologists are pretty sure the two communities have not interacted with each for at least a century. Recent observation showed slight deviations in appearance between the two populations more interestingly, however, is the behavior study showed the females on the west no longer respond to songs of the eastern males and vice versa; a pre-mating reproductive barrier, how the Biologists call it. A tactic evolved by animals to avoid crossbreeding and the consequent waste of effort in raising progeny. The populations on the west and east side of the same island have been away from each other so long that their calls have had time to evolve differently and the evolution is so thorough that the two populations can no longer recognize each other.
Normally that’s a good thing, divergence and genetic drift are few of the reasons why there’s such a diversity of life on planet earth, however, one important factor that always plays a role in speciation by genetic drift is the size of gene pool which is the total genetic diversity available within a community of interbreeding individuals and time. In the case of moderate size populations, long time and a little bit of luck (read mutations) work the magic and we end up with a subspecies or a whole new species, usually a sub-species. But here’s what happens otherwise:
A Smaller number of effective breeders=smaller number of possible genetic combinations that could be inherited=increased in-breeding with the passage of time=increased congenital defects/ increased susceptibility to diseases/lesser overall fitness=increased mortality and eventually extinction. You can look it up, this has happened all over the world over the years. Even though in the case of Mangrove Finches the evolutionary dead-end came due to anthropogenic factors as well as natural ones there are others where logging, hunting or sometimes sheer carelessness on part of humans have driven species to extinction.
Back in 80s FAO determined we were removing the rainforests at the rate of 170,000 km2 , annually. Lake Victoria cichlids, pretty fishes all having evolved from a common ancestor 200,000 years ago were out-competed by Nile Perch introduced to the water body by Ugandan officials in 1920s. Imagine that 200,000 years worth of trial and error; survival of the fittest; blood, sweat, and tears all gone in less than hundred years.
But this isn’t about the harm humans have done to others, you’ll find plenty of better-suited people telling you more about that. This is about how humanity is doing the same to itself.
The quality of medical services has improved exponentially in last one hundred years but at the same time so has the case of cancers and other serious ailments.
Yes, the quality of life has improved, education is more easily accessible, we’re raising awareness but at the same time, there are countries where population growth is rampant.
Yes, there hasn’t been a WW3, but ever since 1945, almost an equivalent number of people have died in Geopolitical and community-related violence if not more.
Yes, Apartheid and Slavery has been abolished and abhorred but racism and casteism is still a major cause of global violence.
Humanity has reached a dead-end of evolution because there’s nothing more for us to do. Evolution in nature happens to make the organism more adept to its habitat, to increase the likelihood of their survival. Humanity with its nasty habit of homogenizing their habitats have ruled out the necessity of new adaptations, the only “adapting” we do these days is when we don’t have WiFi and have used our own data to check social networks.
As millennial, We’re a generation of boys and girls pampered and raised with best of both worlds, perhaps the last kids to play outdoors and have real-life experiences. We’re the decision-makers of the today, we have seen enough of the world… we ought to be responsible enough to be trusted to take a right decision and what exactly do we do?
We google “Brexit” on google after voting for it.
We whine and cry as homeless refugees try to bring some resemblance of order back in their lives on the expense of our comfort.
And we choose racists, homophobes, and bigots into power. But, here’s the thing, we can’t blame the people in power for them being racists, homophobes, and bigots! We knew exactly who they were before we gave power into their hands so the fault lies in us.
Humanity has reached the dead-end of evolution because even in humans we have established a mating barrier, only these barriers are purely psychological. Sometimes castes, other times social status and even based on as trivial as the total concentration of Melanin in one’s skin humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) or at least some of them have tried to segregate themselves into smaller groups. One reasoning suggests the practice offers them a sense of supremacy over the other so-assumed inferior races. However, here’s the deal Mother Nature is as benevolent as you might think; rules of genetic drift applies to humans just as they do to Mangrove finches and inbreeding and assorted defects are much more plausible results than the supremacy of race over longer periods of time.
We’re in a world today where Television and the internet mold us like clay, our opinions shape and change sometimes quicker than our clothes. To love and to sacrifice oneself comes naturally to us, however, we must learn to hate and sadly enough learning hate is much too easy these days. So
- homogenized environments leading to the lesser necessity of survival-promoting adaptations
- shrinking gene pool due to sociocultural perspectives.
- sociocultural barriers effectively analogous to geographical barriers.
All three conditions that effectively ensured the eventual extinction of any species.
And if you ask me, that might not be a bad thing for mother nature after all.
(the case study of Mangrove finches is available online if one feels inclined to read about them. The data about deforestation and example of Lake Victoria cichlids is taken from exceptionally informative book by Edward O Wilson, an ecologist, taxonomist and prolific writer called “Diversity of Life”)