Carnivorous plants have always fascinated me, from the “pet” Venus Fly Trap that I’d feed ground beef, to the pitcher plants I found growing around a woodland pond in New Hampshire. Things like this always make me regret my own mortality, because I’d love to see what kind of weird life evolves ten thousand years from now.
Great American Satan says
About the only thing that could make me get tired of being alive is suffering becoming too great. If that wasn’t inevitable, sign me up for a million years, babey! Just let me see a little of this stuff happen, I wanna know what’s next. Evolution is so interesting when it isn’t specifically killing us.
Meh. My understanding suggests ten thousand years is an eyeblink. The best you could hope for is something like one colour of hummingbird becoming slightly more prevalent than another, or something equally dull and practically imperceptible. To be interesting, I’d suggest you need at least ten million years. Then you’re talking.
For example: per Wikipedia, there’s really not much of interest to note about the Danian age – the five million years immediately post K-T extinction. You have to get into the Selandian before anything new of much note appears. Depends what you consider notable, I guess…
Me, I’d want to give it long enough for something like the evolution of the whale from something like Pakicetus to happen. Which is maybe not as long as you’d think, but still multiple millions.
Abe Drayton says
I mean sure – millions of years would be good too, but even in my immortality, I’m not that ambitious.
And there are an impressive number of changes that can happen in a few thousand years, especially with plants hybridizing and the like. That, and if I had that much time to see changes, I’d probably get to know the wildlife well enough to watch them happening.
Oh, and I’d almost certainly be trying to breed weird things into existence, just to see if I could.
If I knew I’d have millions of years, I might try to make a plant that could walk.
Alan G. Humphrey says
You can see real change in plants, and probably animals too, because of global warming. I have been hiking in the Rocky Mountains for decades and I have noticed that the spruce trees just above the older timberline have started to grow more upright and timber-like instead of squat and bushy. I remember specific low growing spruces at a particular rocky outcropping that now have a proper spruce tree growing from the top. Counting the branches show the changes started over twenty years ago. These are not genetic changes, but different genes responding to changed conditions.
Brian Drayton says
Yes, ecological time scales are usually shorter than evolutionary ones, though it depends on the organism, but ecology is where evolution is happening, so having a very long time to watch lets trends emerge– and if you take notes all along the way, you can trace big trends back to where they started.