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Thread: How would humans develop with nuclear mutations over thousands of years?

  1. #1 How would humans develop with nuclear mutations over thousands of years? 
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    I'm just curious how humans might look 5 million years in the future where the world is very polluted (so maybe lungs would somehow adapt?) and if there was a nuclear war that affected the whole population (mutated them) about 100 years from our present day?

    Would they all look different with a huge variety of mutations? Or would over those many years somehow develop a constant mutation that is the same with everyone? What are possible effects of all the polluted air and nuclear radiation?

    Edit: and if there wasn't a nuclear war, but rather continually more and more radiation and pollution and just overall bad condition of the earth. If it was all a gradual change, would humans adapt to it all, somehow? But sure maybe eventually they might get infertility, and horrible horrible conditions and such, but how would their skin/lungs/etc adapt to such conditions?


    Last edited by Spirals; June 24th, 2012 at 07:00 PM.
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    Forum Freshman Saturn's Avatar
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    Good questions on a very interesting topic! It is reasonable to predict that the lungs might adapt to pollution in the timeframe you specified. You might also find adaptations in other organs, systems, or structures throughout the body - such as the kidneys, or the blood-brain barrier - that appear to help protect the body from the higher volume of toxins. It's hard to say what percentage of the population these mutations would express themselves in, since humanity has been subverting (conventional/biological) natural selection through technology and may very well continue to do so in the future such that whatever advantage a beneficial genetic mutation might provide could also be achieved through technology in individuals who lack the mutation.

    To address your question on a nuclear war that affected the entire population of the Earth, instances of cancer, sterility, miscarriages, still-born babies, and birth defects would dramatically increase within the first 100 years after the nuclear event. It's highly unlikely that the mutations caused by the radiation will provide humans with many (if any) beneficial mutations and will most likely just interfere with the ability of cells to regulate themselves, since the levels will presumably be dangerously high and will prevent many people from reproducing. You would be more likely to see mutations expressing themselves in organisms like bacteria, which reproduce far more quickly than larger organisms like mammals, but unfortunately, they are all random and there is no way to predict which mutations will occur.

    A nuclear event that is severe enough to destroy (or significantly weaken) humanity and other creatures that are vulnerable to radiation may give rise to the evolution of creatures which have natural defenses against radiation (animals with exoskeletons, for example), or live in environments that are less affected, such as marine life, since water provides decent radiation shielding. In the event that a portion of humanity survives AND does not subvert natural selection through technology, it's very possible that the descendants of the survivors will begin to develop adaptations to the increased levels of radiation in the environment (perhaps hardening of the skin, or something to that effect).


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    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    In 100.000 years, we will most likely adapt by moving to other planets. And if other intelligent life exists, we will have to battle them for dominance of the remaining planets.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    In the last 50,000 years: human that first looks like a tall European guys transformed into a modern Japanese guy. I think we can use the past to try predict how much & how fast we changes. -(Based on theory that modern human spread out from some one place) we have walked from the west to the east for the last 50,000 years & has been evolving/adapting as we go.

    Answer to OP... maybe being exposed to alot of radiation make you turn black?
    eg: being exposed to Malaria made African people has irregular shape blood cell (sickle cell).
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    Radiation is not going to cause people to mutate, even if there is a nuclear war. You have been watching too many old Japanese horror films.
    Why do you assume the air will be polluted?
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Answer to OP... maybe being exposed to alot of radiation make you turn black? eg: being exposed to Malaria made African people has irregular shape blood cell (sickle cell).
    I don't think that's right. Malaria and Sickle cell anemia are related but for the reason SCA provides *resistance to* malaria. To say malaria causes it is a far-reached twist of the fact. But I think sickle cells are purely a hereditary condition, though I'm not qualified to verify such. Anyway that would imply that a pathogen would create an aquired trait that could be passed down successfully, which I'm not sure is evolutionary possible. Insights?
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    Quote Originally Posted by halorealm View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    ...eg: being exposed to Malaria made African people has irregular shape blood cell (sickle cell) [that give immunity to malaria].
    I don't think that's right. Malaria and Sickle cell anemia are related but for the reason SCA provides *resistance to* malaria. To say malaria causes it is a far-reached twist of the fact. But I think sickle cells are purely a hereditary condition, though I'm not qualified to verify such. Anyway that would imply that a pathogen would create an aquired trait that could be passed down successfully, which I'm not sure is evolutionary possible. Insights?
    Really hard for me to find this: T Cell 'Brakes' Lost During Human Evolution

    It says that modern homo-sapien lack a certain key feature of an immune system commonly found in other ape-like species (because there was a plague in ancient time that favour individuals lacking those immune feature). So I ask: what is the difference between "having a sickle-cell that allow immunity to Malaria" and, "lacking a certain feature of immunity that allow immune to disease-X"? (both is a disadvantageous mutation that can cause health issues. eg: anemia, bronchial asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes). -Evolution thru such mutation seems to allow you to adapt to your current environment but also have disadvantage/benefit thing....

    I think if we are to adapt to certain environment (eg: radioactive, plague, ect) we might instead be 'sicker' as individual even tho we survive it as a species...
    Last edited by msafwan; June 23rd, 2012 at 03:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Radiation is not going to cause people to mutate, even if there is a nuclear war. You have been watching too many old Japanese horror films.
    Why do you assume the air will be polluted?
    XDD actually, I am not assuming anything here. Just out of curiosity, I am wondering how we would adapt or change biologically and physically under those circumstances.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post

    Really hard for me to find this: T Cell 'Brakes' Lost During Human Evolution

    It says that modern homo-sapien lack a certain key feature of an immune system commonly found in other ape-like species (because there was a plague in ancient time that favour individuals lacking those immune feature). So I ask: what is the difference between "having a sickle-cell that allow immunity to Malaria" and, "lacking a certain feature of immunity that allow immune to disease-X"? (both is a disadvantageous mutation that can cause health issues. eg: anemia, bronchial asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes). -Evolution thru such mutation seems to allow you to adapt to your current environment but also have disadvantage/benefit thing....

    I think if we are to adapt to certain environment (eg: radioactive, plague, ect) we might instead be 'sicker' as individual even tho we survive it as a species...
    I'm not sure what you're trying to say. How do you properly compare species survival and individual health?
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    Quote Originally Posted by halorealm View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post

    Really hard for me to find this: T Cell 'Brakes' Lost During Human Evolution

    It says that modern homo-sapien lack a certain key feature of an immune system commonly found in other ape-like species (because there was a plague in ancient time that favour individuals lacking those immune feature). So I ask: what is the difference between "having a sickle-cell that allow immunity to Malaria" and, "lacking a certain feature of immunity that allow immune to disease-X"? (both is a disadvantageous mutation that can cause health issues. eg: anemia, bronchial asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes). -Evolution thru such mutation seems to allow you to adapt to your current environment but also have disadvantage/benefit thing....

    I think if we are to adapt to certain environment (eg: radioactive, plague, ect) we might instead be 'sicker' as individual even tho we survive it as a species...
    I'm not sure what you're trying to say. How do you properly compare species survival and individual health?
    I'm not saying we can measure the individual health vs species survival, I'm just saying that we won't have disease like diabetes or arthritis if we didn't adapt to the plague at all. Monkeys looks ok having the same type of gene that we loose, so does the gene offer disadvantageus today? no, so why do we loose it? because the thing that almost killed us changed us permanently. eg: do bulldog able to free from heart disease? no, bulldog can't revert back to wolf, but wolf exist, and wolf adapted to its new environment (became dog) and they got sicker (we can measure the difference).
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    Quote Originally Posted by halorealm View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Answer to OP... maybe being exposed to alot of radiation make you turn black? eg: being exposed to Malaria made African people has irregular shape blood cell (sickle cell).
    I don't think that's right. Malaria and Sickle cell anemia are related but for the reason SCA provides *resistance to* malaria. To say malaria causes it is a far-reached twist of the fact. But I think sickle cells are purely a hereditary condition, though I'm not qualified to verify such. Anyway that would imply that a pathogen would create an aquired trait that could be passed down successfully, which I'm not sure is evolutionary possible. Insights?
    Basically, the sickle cell trait emerged as a random mutation. The mutation gave that individual and his offspring a better chance of surviving malaria, so this mutation gradually radiated through the population. While the mutation brings disadvantages with it, it evidentially brought a net benefit. So, malaria had no say in the creation of the initial mutation, but aided its spreading. That is how evolution works (in part); random variations that get selected for by the environment.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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