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Thread: Scenario on Evolution

  1. #1 Scenario on Evolution 
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    May 2009
    South Africa
    Hi All,

    Me and a friend were discussing evolution on a life time scale vs. a generational scale and we were trying to figure out the differences and factors involved in affecting our genetic makeup. He came up with an interesting scenario and I couldn’t come up with a decent reason as to why they we would change in that specific environment.

    So here is the Scenario " a giant tent that is completely enclosed and protected, sort of like one of those completely sealed hospital rooms, there are 1000 people in this giant tent and a 2 fountains, one for water and 1 for liquid food that meets all their nutritional needs. “

    The debate we were having is would any changes occur in this hypothetical scenario particularly would they lose their teeth as they are no longer needing them. So even in 10 million or 100 million years would there be any changes on Humanity if there was never any evolutionary or selective pressures over the time span?



    Assume there are no other factors affecting the population and yes there is unlimited food and unlimited resources, everyone also stays healthy. I.E. assume there are no other evolutionary factors besides the fact that people currently have teeth and now they no longer need teeth. We know that in space for example people instantly start losing muscle mass simply because there is no longer a need. The question is: Is the simple lack of a need any more enough to permanently change the genetics of a human. If that is the case, what is the "evolutionary force" that would remove the teeth?

    Last edited by Always.Asking; February 1st, 2012 at 04:58 PM.
    Just here to Learn =)

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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Your scenario is not free of evolutionary and selective pressures. Indeed it is loaded with them, they are just different from the pressures currently experienced. You have also failed to take account of the fact that the one thousand population are different in genetics and character and their resultant behaviour constitutes a key element of their environment.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Some selection pressures that might be operating in this hypothetical scenario:

    i. If the water and 'liquid' food is not unlimited, then those who manage to obtain the most will probably fare better. I imagine that such a set-up might favour selfishness and greed, or perhaps there would be social consequences for such behaviour (exclusion from the social group). And so co-operation might be favoured.
    ii. Sexual selection

    Plus other inherent phenotypes would affect chances of survival and reproduction e.g. ability to give birth safely, fertility, etc.
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  5. #4  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Okay I get it: No other factors means no other factors.

    Then no, they would keep their teeth since "no other factor" makes teeth help or hinder these people.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  6. #5  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Humans use their teeth in social signaling, smiles, threats etc. Even if the teeth were no longer needed for their primary function of grinding food they would still be needed for these secondary functions. There would be evolutonary pressure to have whiter, brighter, more visible teeth. Indeed, even now there is no real need for teeth for grinding food. We could all live quite well on pureed foods, yet there is a vast industry devoted to dentistry, orthodontics, false teeth, and dental hygiene products.
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