Walking trees and swimming spiders: Why evolution on Earth could travel ‘some truly mind-boggling paths’

elder ent by moonxels
Tree-like Ent from J.R.R.Tolkien's Middle Earth.

What creatures could develop in, say, 100 million years, given what we know about life on Earth and the principles of evolution?

If humans thrive for millions of years, they will have a marked effect on future evolution, and natural selection will produce new varieties of life to deal with the altered, and probably polluted, environments that we create. “We may well see the evolution of a bird beak specialised for feeding out of tin cans, or rats developing oily fur to slough off toxic wastewater,” writes [paleontologist] Peter Ward.

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So, if humans die off, how wild and sophisticated could things get 100 million years from now? Could we see trees starting to walk, or feasting on animals after killing them with toxic fumes or poisonous darts? Could sea life change, with spiders taking to the water, using their webs to net sardines, while fish learn to fly so they can feed on insects and birds? 

But if the weirdness of present-day life is a guide, we should not discount the possibility that future evolution could go down some truly mind-boggling paths. And a great deal of current natural creativity and diversity remains unexplored.

Read full, original post: Strange evolution: The weird future of life on earth

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