Reprinted from Thom Hartmann Blog
And while we used to hear about the warnings as dangers far off in the future -- now we know that the effects of climate change are happening today.
And that the effects are more extreme than we originally predicted even two or three years ago.
According to new research -- it could actually accelerate evolution on Earth!
New research from the University of Texas at Austin used simulated robot brains that were programmed to improve at a task from one generation to the next.
For the robots in the study -- the task was to walk on two legs.
After several robot "generations" -- a number of different robot behaviors had evolved to achieve the goal of walking.
But not all of those behaviors were useful to the goal of walking.
So the researchers "killed" 90% of the robot populations to simulate a mass extinction.
And they found that the robot brain survivors began adapting and evolving much quicker than any groups had before the event.
You see -- Charles Darwin described evolution as what happens when creatures mutate and adapt very slowly over generations of time to best adjust to their surroundings and their environment.
But he was looking at the Galapagos Islands -- which had been relatively unchanged for thousands of years -- and he most famously described evolution using the island's many finches as his example of what we call "divergent evolution."