The Origin of the Future

By Carl Zimmer | December 4, 2009 12:36 am

Over the course of the year, Science has published a series of essays in honor of Charles Darwin. I’ve had the pleasure of writing several of them (on the origin of life, the origin of eukaryotes, and the origin of sex). And now I’ve had the pleasure of writing the final one in the series, on the origin of the future–in other words, where evolution goes from here. Check it out. (Plus, if you’re interested, you can listen to a conversation I had about the future of life on Science’s podcast.)

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution, Writing Elsewhere

Comments (3)

  1. gregorylent

    structuralists vs. functionalists is the interesting place in the evolution dance .. where is it going? yogis know, because they are structuralists to the max

  2. Gabe

    I’m glad you mentioned health care as blunting human evolution. I always seem to be mentioning that to friends. Now I’ll have a scholarly article to point to! Excellent read.

  3. Earlier this year this story caught my eye: Evolution faster when it’s warmer. It does seem reasonable that if global temperatures continue to rise, the overall rate of germ cell division will increase, leading to a corresponding increase in the background rate of mutations.

    Also on human impacts to evolution: RNA Silencer Shows Promise for Hepatitis C. I think it’s fascinating that we might cure some diseases by modifying our own RNA so that it is no longer useful to the virus.

    On a slightly different but still related note, earlier today I noticed this story: Iron Curtain kept out alien birds. It is interesting that arbitrary political divisions might create large enough barriers that, if maintained long enough, might ultimately lead to isolation and the evolution of new species. It sure seems counter-intuitive that a wall would keep out birds. I contrast that to the blame that some fans of Shakespeare had for introducing Starlings to the U.S.

    I’m probably over link quota…


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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