"The Martian colonists would experience a phenomenon known as the founder effect."

The little green men of Mars will be human

#Space

Thu, Nov 10th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Nautilus, people settling on Mars will experience "some of the most dramatic evolutionary changes in the human lineage" since the development of our oversized brain, which "could eventually lead to the evolution of an entirely new human species." From solar radiation to low gravity, Scott Solomon explores all the possibilities that will impact the colonists settling on the red planet.

Take this all together—no sex between Earthlings and Martians, founder effects, changes to the microbiome, natural selection in the harsh Martian environment, and low gravity—and the message is clear: Settling Mars could eventually lead to the evolution of an entirely new human species. This happens routinely to animals and plants isolated on islands—think of Darwin’s famous finches. But while speciation on islands can take thousands of years, the accelerated mutation rate on Mars and the stark contrasts between conditions on Mars and Earth, would likely speed up the process. In just a few hundred generations—perhaps as little as 6,000 years—a new type of human might emerge.

In 1950, Ray Bradbury published a series of linked short stories called “The Martian Chronicles” that imagined a distant future in which Mars had been long ago colonized by humans, who have subsequently lost all interest in and connection to Earth. The Martians have brown skin and yellow eyes. “Do you ever wonder if—well, if there are people living on the third planet?” asks one Martian. “The third planet is incapable of supporting life,” states her husband. “Our scientists have said there’s far too much oxygen in their atmosphere.”

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