Speaking of species extinction

A_Nony_Mouse
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Speaking of species extinction

What if evolution is a game of Highlander?

Seriously speaking we can talk about certain aspects of evolution but what if the end game of this arbitrary system always trends towards a few dominant species? And then that is unstable and speciation starts all over again?

For whatever reason the pattern of life appears to be a speciation event followed by a selection of a much smaller number of dominant species and then another speciation event and reduction of species. We have had at least three of these and maybe a fourth.

In analogous models the narrowed range of options results in a chaotic collapse into a large number of unstable states. It will be 50 to 60 years before we can model the Earth's genome and play out options but just for the eastwhile SF authors among us what if the rules of evolution do result in "There can be only one" as the result? Eventually, should a star last long enough that could be the result of evolution. That would be the appearance of a single species for an entire planet.

What this might be like I have no idea. I would guess it to be something like Brian Aldis's banyon tree without the other species intruding.

 

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Vastet
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Everything I've seen about

Everything I've seen about evolution says thats impossible.

If there were only a single species, that species would have to fill every niche of the ecology. There would have to be no available resources for any other life form, else the species would diversify to fill the niche(s). Resulting in multiple species after a few generations.

Holes in the ecology are a driving force of evolution. If a food source becomes available, things will begin to consume it, which drives the process further as the species then begins to adapt to its new food source, and that food source begins to adapt to its new predator.

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EXC
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But there has never before

But there has never before been a species that can understand how life and evolution work. Never before been a species that can manipulate it's environment and genetically engineering life, creating new species. Never before has there been a species that can willfully or unintentionally cause the extinction of other species. Humans with their science are a game changer. In fact we have the capacity to invent our own game with our own rules. So who knows?

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There is no reason to

There is no reason to believe science can change the nature of the universe, which is the only way to stop diversification in the absence of diversity.

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EXC wrote:But there has

EXC wrote:

But there has never before been a species that can understand how life and evolution work. Never before been a species that can manipulate it's environment and genetically engineering life, creating new species. Never before has there been a species that can willfully or unintentionally cause the extinction of other species. Humans with their science are a game changer. In fact we have the capacity to invent our own game with our own rules. So who knows?

Even as such, and that is what is exciting and positive about our species, I am still aware that we are NOT above evolution and we ARE part of nature.

If we do not accept that and merely see ourselves above it, we will lean toward shortening our finite ride.  I fear our own narcissism is doing just that.

 

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...

EXC wrote:

But there has never before been a species that can understand how life and evolution work. Never before been a species that can manipulate it's environment and genetically engineering life, creating new species. Never before has there been a species that can willfully or unintentionally cause the extinction of other species. Humans with their science are a game changer. In fact we have the capacity to invent our own game with our own rules. So who knows?

 

Humans have the best shot, if we can get over our religious and political differences.  That could easily make us extinct.  Look at the bacteria, they don't even have intelligence and they're thriving; so intelligence isn't necessary for survival.  After scientists master genetic engineering we still have to worry about natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, asteroid impacts, etc.  The laws of physics are what worry me in the long run!  Maybe engineers can eventually come up with protection against the beast of nature.

 

 

 

 


EXC
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Vastet wrote:There is no

Vastet wrote:
There is no reason to believe science can change the nature of the universe, which is the only way to stop diversification in the absence of diversity.

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2007/06/playing-god-sci.html

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2009/03/juggling-the-ge.html

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Philosophicus wrote:Look at

Philosophicus wrote:

Look at the bacteria, they don't even have intelligence and they're thriving; so intelligence isn't necessary for survival.

But if one day humans could completely master genetic engineering and biology, the only species that would be those we find to be a net benefit. We have medicines not to kill off the harmful bacteria while letting the beneficial ones live.

Philosophicus wrote:

  After scientists master genetic engineering we still have to worry about natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, asteroid impacts, etc.  The laws of physics are what worry me in the long run!  Maybe engineers can eventually come up with protection against the beast of nature.

 

I think for the most part, we can already prevent these disasters. We can make structures to withstand nearly any earthquake or hurricane. The problem is money to build things properly. The problem is too many resources go just to basic survival, there's not much left for safety concerns.

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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:... the

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

... the appearance of a single species for an entire planet....

 

Hmm, interesting concept. The Selfish Gene Grand Prize Winner.

A species which eats itself, defecates, then eats itself again with no other biological inputs.

 

I bet such a species would come up with some taxonomy which "defined" some of their own as being more edible than others.

I bet they would have euphemisms for the "inferior" cohort they euthanized in order to eat.

I bet they would modify the 8 characteristics of life and the definition of the word "species".

  

 


Vastet
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Neither of those links

Neither of those links indicates a potential end of evolution. We would have to start cloning ourselves, and all the life inside us as well, and end reproduction completely. All those links talk about is designer life forms and genetic manipulation. Insufficient to prevent diversification.

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It would be quite a challenge for biotechnologists to stop the mutation process.  That would probably involve controlling the laws of physics to some extent.  It's a long shot, but hard to tell if it's impossible.

 

 


A_Nony_Mouse
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Vastet wrote:
Everything I've seen about evolution says thats impossible. If there were only a single species, that species would have to fill every niche of the ecology. There would have to be no available resources for any other life form, else the species would diversify to fill the niche(s). Resulting in multiple species after a few generations. Holes in the ecology are a driving force of evolution. If a food source becomes available, things will begin to consume it, which drives the process further as the species then begins to adapt to its new food source, and that food source begins to adapt to its new predator.

Do not forget this is no more than an odd idea that popped in my head one day. I am not proposing it. I named it Highlander but I described the number of species decreasing to the point the system is unstable which might be what happened in the pre-cambrian.

That said I know of  nothing that says "has to" fill every niche. It just says specialization leads to speciation. There are birds that prey on mammals and birds that burrow. No bird chase mammals into their burrows. (I have seen up to five neighborhood cats hanging around a turtle burrow. They might have been saying to each other, You first. But weasels will go down burrows.)

For example the niches of invasive species such as rabbits in Oz was not filled by any marsupial. Nothing has replaced Mammoths and Mastadons even though in the US avocados and osage orange trees were still around as a niche but dying out for lack of propagators.

As for filling niches humans quite success as omnivores eating the foods of entire ranges of other species and also good at killing off competitors for those foods. When we replant forests it is with useful trees. If we ever get cellulose to oil practical huge arees of scrub are going to be replaced with oil producing scrub -- switchgrass is the main contender these days. But if solar technology wins out everything under the panels dies for lack of sunlight.

It doesn't take brains to be an efficient omnivore or to have a narrow range of far from human predators and prey.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml