The Bio-Evolutionary Anthropocene Hypothesis: Rethinking the Role of Human-Induced Novel Organisms in Evolution
Anthropogenic changes in the biosphere, driven mainly by human cultural habits and technological advances, are altering the direction of evolution on Earth, with ongoing and permanent changes modifying uncountable interactions between organisms, the environment, and humankind itself. While numerous species may go extinct, others will be favored due to strong human influences. The Bio-Evolutionary Anthropocene hypothesizes that directly or indirectly human-driven organisms, including alien species, hybrids, and genetically modified organisms, will have major roles in the evolution of life on Earth, shifting the evolutionary pathways of all organisms through novel biological interactions in all habitats. We anticipate that, in future scenarios, novel organisms will be continuously created, and contemporary native organisms with no obvious economic use will decline—while anthropogenic-favored and novel organisms will spread. The Bio-Evolutionary Anthropocene hypothesis therefore predicts that humankind and novel organisms will interact within a strong evolutionary bias that will lead to unexpected, and probably irreversible, outcomes for the evolution of life on our planet.
KeywordsAlien species Evolutionary pathways Genetically modified organisms Human hyper-dominance Hybrids
Financial support was provided by the Ministério do Meio Ambiente/PROBIO II. We thank Professor Stuart A. Newman, Deborah Klosky, and one anonymous reviewer for comments on the manuscript, and Mr. Roy Funch for linguistic advice.
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