While migrating over the Earth, humans needed to adapt to the new land they found. Human varieties adapted to different climates, though defining a number of human races is flawed due to the gradualness of evolution (just like there are controversies of what constitutes a species or subspecies. But what will happen if we move to outer space? We will need to adapt the new conditions and fast. New races will form.
About human and animal genetics Edit
Human DNA shares the same principles with animal DNA, but there are a few important factors that limit human diversification and evolution.
Major limitations Edit
Time between generations. Very important is the fact that humans have very long timeframes between generations. This automatically means that in many cases, in order to see differences, you have to wait for hundreds of years.
Low birth rate. A family of humans creates only a few children and usually along a certain period of life. As human civilization evolves, the birth rate decreases. Even in the poorest areas of Africa, an average family 7 children, still too small compared to animals.
Trend for diversification. A third consideration is that some species posses a higher trend for diversification. For example, among the dog family, we have from the tiny Chihuahua that you can take in a pocket to the huge Tibetan Dog, which weights 100 kg. Also, we have dogs able to resist in the Arctic tundra and hairless dogs that cannot support the cold. Cats possess a lower diversification trend. There is no cat weighting over 40 kg or at the size of a mouse. Horses have been living along humans for the same time as dogs, but still the horse family does not share the same diversity as dogs. On the other hand, there are only 3 human races, with very small differences between them.
Genetic pool. It is well known that the human DNA has very small variations, compared to animals. The differences are so small, that in many cases, two puppies born from the same dog and the same bitch might have more different DNA then a black African and a Chinese. Scientists believe this is because humans appeared much earlier then animals and had no time to develop significant mutations. The genetic pool is an important factor. Genetic mutations appear in one of a few thousands or even millions of new individuals. Why there are so many dog species compared to other species? The reason might be that the first animals (wolves that became dogs) had a huge genetic variation. There were many genes and humans selected only a few, to form everyone of the current dog breeds.
These four arguments show why there is impossible to create a superior race from humans. During the Nazi period, in Germany, it was tried to create the superior race by controlled reproduction. However, the pure Arians were found later to have a lower coefficient of intelligence then other Germans . Their failed experiments and the knowledge we have today about human DNA clearly shows that controlled reproduction is not the way to create a future race.
Major advantages Edit
However, humans do have some great advantages that no animal has: adaptation, improvisation. Humans invented fire and made clothes to survive the cold. It is very interesting that the Amerindians, when they came to the plains of the Amazon, gave-up their clothes and walked naked in the heat. Some of them, the Yaghan, arrived to the Southernmost part of America, where temperatures are extremely cold. They had no idea about clothing, instead they covered their body with animal fat and made fire anywhere they lived, even in their boats.
Another incredible adaptation we see in the Philippines. When tobacco was introduced there, everybody started to smoke, including the smallest children. Still, the percentage of lung cancer in the Philippines is smaller then in China , because somehow they have adapted.
The incredible ability of humans to adapt to their environments is the key in forming many future races. As new planets will be terraformed, the new conditions will offer people new challenges and they will need to adapt. The formation of natural races (see below) will happen without any intervention or selection.
Natural races Edit
The following human races are expected to form by natural changes. No external force will be needed. In some cases, changes are expected to appear fast. Settlers will live in their new worlds. Sooner or later, they will adapt to the new conditions. Their children and grandchildren will find these new worlds as the best home.
Gravitational races Edit
Gravity has a strong influence on human body. But, since each celestial body has a different gravity, people living all their life there, will suffer massive changes. The most visible changes will be seen at children that grew in different gravitational environments.
1. Heavy race is expected to appear where gravity is much higher then what we see on Earth, like on a Super-Earth. Adults will need time to adapt to these new worlds, but children born there will be already adapted. In a world where gravity is twice as much as on Earth, bones will need to be stronger, muscles will be more developed and residents will not grow tall. Aged people will face bone diseases. Arterial and heart diseases will be more frequent, because blood pressure will be higher in blood vessels on your feet then it is on Earth. Also, the heart will need to pump harder. The brain will get less oxygen for the same reason. On the other hand, on such a planet it is expected that air has a higher pressure. That means that your lungs will need to work less.
2. Earth-like race will be found on an Earth - like planet. People from this race will look similar to us.
3. Small Earth race is what we might expect to see on Mars, Mercury, Moon, Jovian Galilean moons and on Titan. People from this race will have less strong bones, less muscular tissue and will be taller then us. Still, they will look similar to us. Bones will not get thinner, only that they will have less strength. These people will behave very similar to us. They will walk, they will eat and drink in the same way we do. Their society will look very similar to our. Also, they will, in most of their worlds, be able to live in open air, compared with other lighter races, who will not have this opportunity. Compared to us, they will be more healthy. Reduced gravity will result in less stress to the heart and blood vessels. Also, they will have less broken legs, even if their bones will have less calcium. Their worlds will have a thinner atmosphere, so their lungs will need to work harder. This might not be a problem, since the lack of gravity will result in less effort.
4. Cosmic race will form on bodies where gravity is too low to keep a natural atmosphere (for example the moons of Uranus and the largest asteroids). These bodies, even if they will have an artificial atmosphere, it will not be a classic one (see Atmosphere around small bodies for details). First of all, these people will experience a gravity of less then 10% of what we see on Earth. So, they will weight less then 8 kg. They will still notice the existence of up and down, but they will not be able to move like we do. At such a low gravity, they will face strong inertia. Such people will fly through their passage ways instead of walking. They will tend to move by touching and pushing in the walls and objects on the way. It will be far more easy then trying to walk. Also, since they will probably have no open spaces, except for some domes, there will be no reason to walk. These people will not know how to walk, because they never practiced it. About their overall look, they will be taller then us. Their muscles will be less developed, their bones will be smaller, but their joints will remain at the same size, since this is how the joints are developed. Their feet might be somehow useless for traveling. These people will have very thin arms and extremely thin legs, but with normal joints, that will look strangely oversized. Their bones will be fragile Their blood vessels will also be more fragile and their hearts will work less. Since the air is expected to have similar pressure to what we see on Earth, their lungs will look like ours. Other small changes will come from the way they will eat, drink and go to toilette. Food will jump from a plate. Liquids will flow over a glass, because of superficial tension. So, people will serve their food in bags and will suck the food and liquids. not all the food is suitable for this kind of eating. So, the stomach will need to adapt to this new food.
5. Super cosmic race must appear where gravity is extremely small or does not exist. The best examples are the two small moons surrounding Mars. People from this race will look even thinner then those from cosmic race, but not much thinner. The major difference will be a psychological one. The sense of gravity will not exist for them. They will have only a theoretical idea of up and down. They will find natural to behave this way. In this world, you will see people moving near the floor or near the roof and they will find all this very natural. Also, we will see many things like this: one person with the feet on 'ground' talking to a person with the feet on 'walls'. Even lovers will stay in positions that we never imagined. On Earth, we are so used with gravity and the notions of up and down, that it will be a surprising experience to visit the super cosmic race. One other possible outcome is that people will less need their feet. They will use their hands to pull and push themselves on the way and for long distances they will use a pocket fan or something similar. So, feet will become somehow useless and will be smaller and thinner then hands. I don't expect that at some point people will simply want to get read of their feet. Some may use them as fashion accessories, while others may turn them into more practical extra hands.
Radiation races Edit
One of the most important difference between Earth and other planets, inside and outside Solar System, is the radiation level. People will need to adapt to this.
1. Pitch dark worlds exist for sure, but artificial light will always be present where humans are. We might find people more adapted to less light, even with implants on the cornea (like Riddick) or with different kinds of eyes, but all of them will also need to be able to see on artificial light. So, it is less probable there will be a pitch dark race.
2. Obscure race should form where natural light is too dim, like on an Outer Planet. For example, on terraformed Titan. Ultraviolet light is needed also by human body, to produce D vitamins. And not only. We need certain doses of various radiations in order to survive. Artificial radiation sources will be provided for new settlements. When humans moved from Africa to the Caucasus, they transformed. The black skin became white, to allow more radiation to reach the body. This is how the white (Caucasian) race is supposed to have been made. With doses of UV radiation less then 100 times to those on Earth, we will need to adapt again. Also, since outer planets have small winds, their air will be less ionized. We will also have to adapt to this. The third problem is that air on outer planets has 100% moisture. First settlers will feel sick on these kind of worlds, but slowly, their children will adapt to the new conditions.
3. Earth-like race is expected to be found on planets with similar radiations like on Earth.
4. UV race will form on planets encircling A - type stars or B - type stars. Since these stars have an excess of ultraviolet light, people will suffer from this. The first generations will cover all their skin with clothes or will paint their skin to create a protective layer. But, at some point, people will start to get used to this. Will this be a returning to black (African) race? Because the doses of radiation are far greater then those on Africa, these people will need a far stronger protection.
5. Radiation bombardment race needs to be formed in places with huge radiation belts, on planets with radioactive ground and in places where deadly radiations exist (other then UV). We know that nuclear radiation causes cancer. However, if people that will be forced to stay forever under the thread of this danger will need to find a way to adapt to this. Our history showed that we are able to adapt to less or more UV. There is also evidence that many animals, including as diverse mammalian groups as mice, bears and deer and so probably by extension humans, have enzymes that repair damage caused by ionizing radiation. These enzymes increase during long-term exposure to gradually increasing levels of radiation, and evolution can probably enhance their function even beyond individual acclimatization.
Climate adaptation races Edit
We know from Earth that black people will adapt faster in hot environment, while people from near the arctic circle will find more comfortable colder environments. When there are 15 degrees Celsius in Norway, people go to beach and take a bath, while at the same temperature in Egypt, people will dress with warm, woolen clothes. Also, humidity is important. Someone who lived all its life in Arabia will find hard to adapt to India's wet monsoon. Based on this, we might see:
- Warm environment sub-race
- Temperate environment sub-race
- Cold environment sub-race
- Wet climate sub-race
- Average moisture sub-race
- Desert sub-race.
Harsh climate sub-race could be form on planets with extreme weather changes, like on a Low - spinning planet. There, people will experience the most extreme challenges. This will result in very resistant races, like Frank Herbert's Fremen.
Natural chemistry - generated races Edit
Each planet has a different amount of minerals and microelements then Earth. Terraforming process will try to make an equilibrium more suitable for human life, but the resulting chemistry will not be the same as on Earth. Let's take a single example, Selenium. Life needs a certain amount of this element. If it is found in smaller or larger amounts, it will create problems, diseases. People will try to add a supply of selenium in their food (or to add something that counters the excess of selenium). But, after a few generations, their children will be more adapted to this. The number of races and sub-races that could result this way cannot be determined.
Limited artificial races Edit
The following races might be created by limited artificial influence. They don't involve massive DNA manipulation and are not against majority of moral laws.
Races resulted from our ways of life Edit
The way we live and the way we eat influences our races. Let's take a single example, milk. In Europe, not many people have problems while drinking milk. In some places, like Northern Caucasus, lactose intolerance is extremely rare. Far more different is the situation in China, where one of four people have lactose intolerance. This is the natural result of the fact that European people use to drink milk. They had to adapt to it.
We might see people in future colonies using different types of food. The Chlorella algae have been proposed as a food for astronauts and was long tested by the Soviets (see Plants on new worlds for details). But, after a few generations feed on Chlorella, what will happen? People will get adapted to it and will be less adapted to other kinds of food. This was seen in the case of people living close to Arctic Circle. their natural food is based on animal fat. When these people moved to towns and changed their diet mainly to vegetables, they were found with anemia.
People entered a lot of substances in their life, like coffee, tobacco and even drugs, that are not needed. Humans can live without them. Some sci-fi authors theorized the idea that using a drug for many generations will make that drug essential and needed for survive. This theory was disproven. For example, alcohol was used in large amounts in ancient Arabia for many generations, but when Arabs converted to Islam (where alcohol is strictly forbidden), it was not a major problem.
Personally, I would love to see a smoker race, where nicotine is as important as air or food and where everybody smokes, from little children to aged people. Maybe, I belong to that race without knowing.
Medical improvement Edit
There already exists a technology that enables a virus to enter the human body and bring into our DNA an entire (or part of) a missing gene. In future, this technology will get more improved. Using a more advanced version of this technology, we are able to cleanup genetic diseases and prevent our children from having genetic problems. Also, we can insert genes of immunity, to protect us and our children from getting sick. Some scientists argue that this might be the way to prevent us from getting cancer. It could be a way to fight against flu and aids.
By limited use of genetic improvement, there will not be created super-humans, but more healthy individuals. As long as the technology has limited medical use, it will not harm anyone. Still, since it will result a group of people immune to diseases, it can be considered as the birth of a new race.
Variable gravity race Edit
Some humans could be genetically engineered to readapt to gravity, even heavy gravity, after long periods in zero gravity. Bears are already known to retain their muscle and bone mass during months of hibernation. Female bears also give birth and suckle their offspring during hibernation, so obviously their genetic constitution allows muscle and bone to be retained without the side effects of traditional anabolic steroids. Moving the right bear genes to humans by genetic engineering is a recipe for a variable gravity race.
Long term evolution Edit
Let's take into consideration this scenario: Two groups of people have split. One, remained on their terraformed planet. The other group wandered through the Universe, moving from place to place. After thousands of years, the two groups meet again, but are unrecognizable. What happened? Each one tried to adapt to the conditions they encountered.
Average artificial races Edit
The average artificial races still look and behave like humans and can adapt to natural human races. They can be created by genetic manipulation.
It is now time to come to all the races we seen on Star Trek and other sci-fi movies. Diversification (which is the most correct term for Evolution here) has some limits. It will create a human able to live on a planet with low gravity and high radiations, but it will never create a human able to breath in water, like a fish. There are certain limits, that can be passed only with genetic manipulation. However, there will be two major problems. The first one is that people from the race will find hard to adapt to an Earth - like planet. They will be specialized for their own environment. And the second problem is that some means of genetic manipulation may be extremely risky and the technology should be improved. It can have unknown consequences, though "mainstream" radiation hypermutation in plant breeding may have too. With specific genetic engineering, at least you know what pieces you get.
Cyborg races Edit
Main article: Technoforming
There is a high possibility that people will try to increase their powers with the help of a machine. On this list, we can see everything up to individuals with powers like those of Superman. The main advantage of a cyborg race is that the human body can be less modified. People from today Earth can become future cyborgs with adapted technology.
Cyborgs might not be considered a race as their own, since they are born as humans and transformed by other ways then biochemistry and genetic manipulation.
A special kind of cyborg is that where the brain is of computer origin and human parts are only used to camouflage (like the Terminator). They cannot be considered as a human race, but as something else, outside of human race family tree.
Symbiotic races Edit
With some DNA changes, people can live in symbioses with plants. This way, we will never need to eat. For this process to happen, the following changes are needed:
- Create a genetically-modified algae, able to survive in human body.
- Insert some genes in human DNA, making our body to tolerate the algae.
- Insert the algae in our body. Something must control their number and their position.
- Create an internal source of light (for example nanobots circling through our blood stream and our organs).
Races with extended powers Edit
By genetic engineering, a few races can be created. Despite their unusual powers, they are still humans and are not far away from the average human:
- The intelligent race - is created by increasing he number of brain cells and the power to concentrate
- The powerful race - is obtained by developing more powerful muscles
- The long-life race - is possible by avoiding and delaying the Apoptosis
- The toxic environment race - is able to survive in areas with large mineral disequilibrium
- Low oxygen race - If experiments creating a full anaerobic race fails to retain intelligence, it is still possible to keep only the brain aerobic, reduces oxygen need by 80%
- The radiation race - is designed to survive close to radiation belts and B - type stars
- Short term vacuum race - Cannot live permanently in vacuum but can survive shorter periods of vacuum enough to repair domes and produce new air, resistent to sudden decompression
- The precision race - is equipped with high sensorial powers, like the ability to see through dark or in invisible light, to smell, taste or hear beyond average human powers and to have extreme precision in hands
- The harsh climate race - is something needed for extreme weather
- The hibernating race - is adapted for long interstellar traveling
- The warrior race - is good for soldiers, with an inherent cold blood, a problem with this scenario is the fact that not only do even animals discriminate between situations good enough to be "caring" in some situations and "cruel" in others but also we know since Pavlov that humans pass discrimination tests animals fail, precluding any generalizable "mechanism" for cold blood
Extreme artificial races Edit
An extreme artificial race can survive in conditions where no classic human will survive. They can be created by genetic manipulation. The major difference between them and the average artificial races is that they will find hard to adapt to Earth-like ecosystem and live a human life.
- Amphibian race - able to live in water
- Vacuum race - able to live in worlds without air, oxygen is extracted from a chemical compound swallowed in the lungs
- Anaerobic race - With an anaerobic metabolism surviving without oxygen, may still retain the ability to resist oxygen poisoning (facultatively anaerobic)
- Telepathic race - with powers on others' minds, problem is that no evidence for telepathy or even possibility thereof exists
- Ascended race - they have left their matter bodies and entered a superior state of organization (replaced matter with what?)
- Decended Race - They decended into something worse
- Extreme climate race - able to survive extreme conditions, like -150 C and +300 C
- Desert race - expected to survive in deserts, like reptiles
- Warrior race - soldiers, created to serve their master with their lives
- Suboid race - created to serve as slaves, without significant personality
- Sex toy race - made for their owners' pleasures
A highly advanced society might consider useless to practice classic reproduction and will prefer to have a full control on birth rate and born individuals. Individuals are expected to be sterile, since classic reproduction is useless for them. By genetic engineering, the new individuals can be identical copies or advanced prototypes of their parents.
Beyond the limits Edit
It looks impossible with current technology, but in a far future it might become reality. We can imagine future humanoids able to naturally exist in conditions where life can simply not exist: for example on similar planets and moons like Venus, Mercury, an asteroid, Titan or Pluto. They will have their entire biochemistry changed. Their organisms might no longer be based on carbon-oriented biochemistry, but on silicon or a metal. Also, they might no longer use water as a cellular solvent and replace it with methane, ammonia, alcohol (or other organics) or even liquid metals.
It was seen on abandoned dogs, that even if they come from a noble breed, they try to adapt as street dogs, eating from the little they find. Sometimes, the survivals are individuals that are not expected to survive: smaller dogs, able to enter the trash pits, less aggressive dogs, tolerated by people around them and dogs that throw-up toxins they accidentally eaten. This scenario can be repeated also with human races in the future.
Genetic breakdown Edit
Mutations can occur on natural or artificial genes. Some think that artificial genes will be more affected, though there is no evidence of that and if there was it would of course just be a flaw in specific means of genetic engineering adressable by inventing better means. The result will be sick individuals. Depending on available technology and other factors, the problem can be solved or limited (or it can affect more and more people and destroy the population).
In some cases, the DNA sequence can be defective from the beginning, resulting in a dormant disease that needs to be activated by a violent event.
Genetic bomb Edit
It is possible to see genetic wars, where someone will send a virus able to extract and remove DNA sequences from human DNA, without killing the person.
The melting pot Edit
It is possible that people from various races can come together and have children. It will result in a number of hybrids. After many generations, there will result a new race, with lower performances then all initial races. This is what you get when you place together dogs from various breeds and allow them to freely reproduce.
This is what happens when close relatives become parents (like brother with sister, mother with son, father with daughter). Sooner or later, children will suffer from genetic diseases, unless they are either genetically engineered to remove genetic defects, or there is minor amount of gene flow between mostly isolated populations providing both selection for inbreeding resistence and "injects" the necessary outside genes.
Animal decay Edit
It is possible that an advanced genetic manipulation will create human - animal hybrids. Also, it is possible that humans can decay to animal status.
While it is possible to incorporate animal (or plant, fungal or microbial) DNA that do not adversely affect intelligence, using selective genetic engineering that do not emulate traditional hybridization, other selective genetic engineering techniques can be used precisely to destroy intelligence.
Social pressure to destroy intelligence is present already in today's society, in the form of moral values (and adjectant laws) that judge conscious choices more harshly than things that just happen like natural disasters. If cavemen had those moral values they would have selectively bred against intelligence so humans never would have evolved, so those moral values cannot be natural. If those moral values are combined with some future technology to efficiently detect lies so that pretended stupidity no longer works to prevent condemnation, a strong pressure for stupidization will ensue. The stupidization can take place not only by genetic engineering, but also by other means such as combined punitive and sexual selection, and/or by forcibly prescribed brain-damaging drugs.
Unconventional races Edit
Races on demand Edit
Take a look at this scenario: In one remote solar system, far away from our galaxy, a dictator takes power. He will start genetic manipulation, experimenting on a wide series of people. We knew this from past, both Hitler and Stalin tried this. With a cutting-edge technology, this new dictator can create races we never imagined. Not all of them should be super-humans. There will be a lot of failed experiments. And there will be many strange humanoids, not necessary superior to an average human. A mad dictator might want to create people with the skin having its favorite color. Or, he might want women with four breasts... or he will want people with no toes... or sex toys... or people that will tolerate his favorite drug up to unlimited quantities... or people with horns, to show that human race evolved from cows. He might colonize entire planets with his creations.
And now, take a look at this second scenario: In another state (this time, a democratic one), there was adopted a law: that parents can order genetically-modified children by their own will. There will exist a few unconventional parents that will ask for children looking like animals, children with wings or with glowing skin. We see today inside gene banks, that you can chose what kind of child you like. So, even if it sounds weird, this scenario is plausible.
There is also a third scenario: In another state, people received full permission to transform their bodies, including by genetic manipulation. This will certainly affect their children.
These scenarios are against many moral laws, but are plausible. So, what will happen? Sooner or later, the dictator will die, but the race will survive. We see here on Earth that all minorities (ethnic, cultural, sexual) are looking for their rights. This is what is most expected to see in future. If a large number of individuals are created, they will form an entity on their own and will want to be recognized and to have rights.
A fourth scenario that transcends such moral laws is an anarcho-something technologically progressive civilization without formalized definitions of personhood, most likely supported by inexpensive space travel allowing anyone to leave (by a quantum gravity theory allowing warp drives+wormholes and/or life extension allowing individuals to survive space trips that would otherwise be generational). They would of course use genetic engineering to adapt to different environments, like all space colonists, but if persecuted by space fleets from bureaucratic civilizations they may use genetic engineering for the purpose of confusing any definitions of personhood too. Many engineered varieties from other civilizations may find adopting such a lifestyle an easier way than demanding rights within the civilizations that oppresses them, if they find access to space travel.
Superior vs. inferior races Edit
It is impossible to say that one race is strictly superior to another. Even in case of animals (let's take for example cows), each race is better in a specified domain. Some cows produce more milk, others are made for meat, others produce both meat and milk, but in lower amounts. some cows have low productions, but are resistant to diseases. There are races with extreme productivity, but have birth problems or require a strict diet.
Humans are far more important then cows, but even with the strongest racial diversification, there will still be no superior and no inferior race.
However, some people will consider themselves superior to others. We have seen this before and will always see this scenario. First, white people considered themselves superior to Africans and native Americans The superior race theory peaked inside Nazi Germany. Even today, racial discrimination exists. It will exist forever, on a higher or lower level.
We, humans, have adapted to all conditions we encountered. We are adapting right now for the challenges we meet. Most of sure we will adapt for whatever challenges we will see in the near and far future.