A caustic look at humankind’s possible future evolutionary state.
The future evolution of man is portrayed from two stereotypical viewpoints: the first of the human species locked in a life or death struggle in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The second is a Roddenberry-esque man as a peaceful race of knowledge seekers. The characteristic that both viewpoints share is that though often the conflict is individual in nature the result is for the betterment of the entire species of man. Psychologically the human species is seen as having a group or herding preference, using as proof, the fact that over the past several hundred centuries, man has kept an oral and written record of its progression. However, what if it is erroneous to base the possibilities of man’s future on the benchmarks of the past?
There is a theory that at one point there were two races of man; homo-sapiens and homo-erectus. The evidence of this is found in a series of caves in France with one side containing the remains of a homo-sapient settlement while on the other side are the remains of a homo-erectus settlement. While there is no concrete evidence, the hypothesis is that the two sides were in conflict, resulting in the homo-sapiens wiping out the homo-erectus settlement, thereby securing the survival of this species while causing the extinction of the homo-erectus species of man.
There are several beliefs about the homo-erectus species. Firstly they are thought to have been nomadic, living in small groups. The second is that they are situated in the middle between Neanderthal man and modern man in terms of brain and brawn. It is also thought that they were spur of the moment hunters; not formulating complicated traps for their prey, but relying on using their surrounding and what was on hand as their advantage. This would lead to the belief that homo-erectus were opportunistic in nature, with little forethought into the future needs of that group. The skeletal remains show that homo-erectus had a lower center of gravity with a smaller cranial cavity that to scientists suggest that they would have had denser muscle mass with lesser capacity of creative thought than the homo-sapien species of man. If one leans towards temperament as being a genetic component then it could be extrapolated that the homo-erectus’s temperament would have been one of impatience and no regard to consequences as long as they did not have a direct affect on their survival.
There are a few assumptions about the early homo-sapient species. Firstly, they were thought to be semi-nomadic within larger groups. They are thought to have had an organizational structure large enough to include hunting parties. They liked prey that followed the migration patterns on a annual basis. Another characteristic attributed to this group was that they relied much more on pre-planned traps before engaging their prey. It is also suggested that the early homo-sapiens, by keeping to the migration patterns, would be considering long term situations and conditions, along with what was happening at that particular moment, season or annum. The homo-sapien species would have a more even temperament, genetically programmed to adjust the satisfaction of their immediate needs over the long term ones that were better suited for their survival.
The assumption of our physiological model is that of the homo-sapien physiological model. Evolution is successful adaptation to the environment that makes minute changes to the organism over a multitude of generations to suit the environmental factors. Mankind has relied less and less on environmental conditions as it alters the environment to suit its requirements. The benchmarks of evolutionary progression are primarily based on the physical alterations to the organisms yet one has to recognize that success in any environment, natural or artificially maintained, requires a change in the baseline behavioural patterns of that organism as well. Is it not reasonable to assume that in the conditions that man lives of adapting the environment over adapting our bodies, that our evolution would not be the physical characteristics but the psychological?
Would it not be logical to assume that the extinction of the homo-erectus would not have been immediate but over a lengthy time period? Though the homo-sapien species are thought to be superior in their thought processes, one cannot eliminate the brawn factor in overcoming the first attempts at genocide that the homo-sapiens would have tried. It could be thought as well that perhaps at first, there could have been an attempt to co-exist before food supplies on both sides would have been sufficiently depleted to the point where both sides would have to concede that ‘live and let live’ of the two competing species could no longer adequately provide for both settlements. Would it not be logical therefore to include a high probability that there were incidents of mating, whether forced or consensual, to have taken place? If forced it would be more on the part of the stronger male gender of the homo-erectus species to take homo-sapient females and impregnate them with the homo-erectus chromosomes than the smaller homo-sapient male attempting to overpower the more resilient homo-erectus female.
The question that hasn’t been explored is the possibility that homo-erectus were not eradicated but absorbed into the homo-sapient species. Looking at the genetic model of ascension that our modern geneticists have presented, if true, indicates it would be more than likely that the genes that were not as suited for the environment or the genetic preposition to adopt more of the female’s genetic material to facilitate a stronger womb induced bond over the male’s genetic characteristics would become recessive in a coupling of two similar genus’s. An example of this would be the liger, a hybrid of the tigress and lion which the offspring exhibit the characteristics of both species yet the tigress’s are often more pronounced than the lion’s.
From this genetic standpoint, an offspring of a homo-erectus male and a homo-sapient female would be physically more representative of the mother over the father. If the evolutionary superiority that is claimed of the homo-sapient species over the homo-erectus species is true, then based on a survival of the fittest scenario, the offspring would be at a disadvantage to have any overt characteristics of the homo-erectus genetic material. Over several generations it would be reasonable to assume that the genetic components of the homo-erectus, while still in the genetic material, would become a recessive gene even if breeding continued with homo-sapien couplings. What this theory would bring forth is that modern man are not homo-sapiens but another genus, homo-predicae.
The genus homo-predicae has the physical characteristics of the homo-sapient species, with the skeletal structure indistinguishable between the two. The difference would be in the temperament of the homo-predicae; the species would be more ego centric and reactive to stimuli in the immediate situation rather than the long term consequences of the behavioral actions. These reactions would be interpreted as being brutal by others though rational to the person exhibiting those behaviours.
To support such a theory of the existence of the homo-predicae, one has to simply look at the beliefs of societal structure of homo-sapient in the oral and written records of modern man. Cave drawings often depict early man as battling with animals; celebrating the successes of their hunting parties; yet once permanent settlements were created and man no longer were as nomadic in nature, the behaviours of man were that of the conquest or destruction of neighbouring clans or settlements. When one looks in terms of cities or nations, one could hypothesize that these groupings are smaller in terms of the territory they cover with an accent on maintaining and expanding that territory whether the materials needed for survival were there or not. Written and oral records show that if something was depleted in an area, there was no movement from that area to another, but an acquisition of the need while maintaining a central focus point that was defended from other tribes or settlements.
When one looks at the history of those that stand out as conquerors or monsters, depending on the record keeper’s opinion, there is always a difference in the methodology of that person. Historically for example the early Romans: the orgies, the coliseum games, the expansion of territories far beyond their gates. The Hun empire: expansion, the slaying of whole settlements for nothing more than being there. Hitler, who looked at world domination to secure himself as a god; all these examples were for the good and immediate satisfaction of the few over the long term survival of the many. Could the expansion of the homo-predicae species be a factor in these civilizations and people? It takes two recessive genes to activate the gene; could the homo-erectus temperament be the genetic factor that allowed these to occur?
Through out history there have always been spattered examples of men, women or children exhibiting a temperament counter to the temperament that their environments would have created. Today, there seems to be an explosion of what is termed as anti-social behaviours. Whether it is because of a more media based knowledge or societal breakdown can not be established. However, what if it is not because of the overpopulation of man or the pressures of a higher standard of living lifestyle that the majority of the Western World now expects for itself, but that the recessive homo-predicae component of our chromosomes is becoming more assertive because the stressors of modern life have made the even temperament of the homo-sapien a disadvantage to the survival of the species?
It could be argued that the survival of the fittest, with the technological advances that mankind has made over the past few centuries, is no longer about man as a whole but more individualistic. Man does not need the numbers such as gazelles, zebras, lions or wolves need to ensure the survival of the species; the artificial environments of man are conducive to solitary hunters such as bears or coyotes where more means competition for the few resources that are available. The homo-erectus temperament in the electronic, instant communication and wheel powered society would seem to provide an advantage over the whole of the good concept. Man’s focus is not necessarily on survival, but on the style of survival and the parameters that society has pronounced for itself on what makes a person successful. Homo-sapiens are an endangered species, possibly no longer exist. Perhaps they have not existed for hundreds of centuries. Perhaps the deviances in behaviour being reported at a higher frequency are not necessarily deviant, but becoming the norm as homo-predicae begins the climb up the food chain to take the spot at the top .
Perhaps as the 22nd century begins, this evolution of the human species will be complete. Could now be the swan song of man as a herding animal? In a thousand years could the scions of our generation’s generations be hypothesizing, much as we do now about dinosaurs, what caused the extinction of the homo-sapiens? Is the violence that our society is experiencing on an individualistic level simply the egocentric expression of deviant behaviour or has the genetic disposition of the homo-predicae begun asserting itself?