I have seen this a few different times and have not put up a post about it. The main reason being that I know very little about genetics and how everything works. But there is evidence that the X chromosome (the gene that makes males male) is shrinking. Still even further is that within the next 5 million years the X chromosome could disappear completely. Which if you cannot connect the dots, would be extremely bad for the species.
First, let’s start with the obvious, 5 million years is a long long time. This is not going to happen for a while. Now stating the obvious, I think there are quite a few things that could happen before this could come into play. I also want to make note that there is some evidence that despite its shrinking, it may never disappear completely so all the uproar may be for nothing. Then there is the elephant in the room of will we even survive that long as a species to see what will happen.
In regards to the last question I will say that I doubt it. There is little to no chance, I believe, that we, as humans, will make it that far into the future. Let me also say that there are a few different reasons for my thinking this. First, let’s state the obvious, we will die out one way or the other, either through global warming, or we will destroy ourselves, or perhaps a natural or cosmic disaster. Given enough time the law of averages comes into play, and I am fairly certain that there is another asteroid out there with our name on it. Now, by the time it comes around we may have the technology to save ourselves and the planet. Still though, I am of the sentiment that for, insert reason, we will not make it that far into the future.
There is also an alternative view as to why we will not make it to this far future date, we will have evolved into something else. Yes, perhaps in the next million years or so we will have evolved into the next stage of our evolution, whatever that may be. We will be as far beyond humans as humans are beyond apes. This would solve not only the problem of us, as in humans, not making it to the future, but also solve the problem of the shrinking X chromosome. Although, I am not entirely sure that, should we evolve into whatever is next, we may or may not have the same problem with the X chromosome. But if at some point if a line could be drawn and the last human was born and the first, we will call it human +, was born, then I doubt the new species of human + would have the same issues humans do. What would be interesting is that interbreeding would certainly occur and would thus diversify the generic pool even more, which could help the X chromosome as well.
While the idea of the shrinking X chromosome is certainly interesting, I think what is more fascinating is the idea of how humans could evolve in the future, and what we could evolve into. I did find quite a bit of information about this topic. I am not really sure or know much about these. Honestly some of them make sense, others I think are a little silly. Although, I am sure there is some sort of scientific evidence to suggest the ideas on the list above. This article I think makes more sense for a variety of reasons.
What I think is most fascinating is that a lot of the changes that are mentioned in the second article seems not take into account economic and or social changes.
In the US, just one per cent of first children were born to women over the age of 35 in 1970. By 2012, that figure rose to 15 per cent.
As the article states, because we are living longer, and will continue to do so because of technological advancements, we will put other aspects of our lives on hold such as having children. For the most part I will not argue with this sentiment, but being in that age group, I would also argue that there is a very large economic portion of this idea that is not taken into account. I would argue that the hardest hit by the financial crisis is the 25-35 age group. And because of this, these individuals are waiting to become financially stable to have children. Believe it or not children are expensive both financially and resource wise. So I think this factor plays a large portion in this decision as well. The longer life span argument is interesting, and I think that could play a large part in many of the life decisions one makes.
Back in the day people got married early and had children earlier, mainly because they did not live as long. So the mindset was to get married and have children then die by age 50 or so. Now if you know that you will live well into your 80’s or even longer, would that change how early in life you get married or have children. To me, I think it certainly would play a small part, but I think there is still a social and economic portion. Again I think there are a lot of people in the 25-35 age group that want to have a successful career before setting down and starting a family.
If that is the case I wonder if many of these decisions are more social than biological. I think the article factors in too many biological factors. While they are certainly important and at the end of the day are the ultimate decision makers, (waiting too long to have children could result in no children) they take way too long to change. Meaning that I do not think that our lifespan will increase by 50 years by 2050. But I can almost guarantee that society as a whole will be very different in that same timeframe. My point is that social changes could change in a matter of a few years, sometimes even months. Look at the social upheaval with the war on terror how society views Muslims now. Just a few years ago, there was a totally different sentiment, but because of the attacks in California and Paris, they totally changed the world view. I am not saying that this will have an effect on what is mentioned in the article, but I think it will play a part. There could very well be things that happen in the next 30 years that could drastically influence a variety of social decisions, including a all out war and or economic collapse. I would imagine that both of these would certainly influence many life decisions, and certainly quicker that any biological ones could act.
Regardless of which you believe in, I think there will be many different things, both social and biological, that will influence us as humans in the coming years. I believe that both are equally important, but I suppose time will tell.