How Might Animals Evolve in the Next Million Years?

Some scientists believe we are now in the beginning stages of a mass extinction event. The earth is losing species at an alarming rate, due to human activity and climate change. But the earth has already seen at least five mass extinction events in its history. While a large percentage of existing species died out each time, there were always survivors that adapted and evolved to live in a new kind of environment. While we are learning about the past, looking to the future can be quite interesting. Mandy Nguyen at Vox asked various scientists to indulge in some speculative biology and imagine how species may evolve into something new in the relatively distant future.

First, they had to imagine which species will survive the earth's current woes, and the absence of the ones that won't, and how those absences will affect the ecosystem. Which species will fill the future gaps in the food chain? One must also imagine what challenges a post-extinction event environment will present to surviving animals. Another factor to consider is whether humans will be around a million years from now, or how long we will have been gone by then.

Read about the possibilities of aquatic rats with flippers, predatory pigeons, and giant praying mantises, among other evolved animals, at Vox. -via Metafilter ā€‹

(Image credit: Amanda Northrop/Vox)

#evolution #species #speculativebiology

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