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|Future of The World|
|This is a part of Future of The World: a collaborative project about our planet's future|
What is the fate of life after the present day? What forms will meet evolution, and which will meet extinction? Such is one of the most discussed subjects of speculative evolution, and evolution in general; there are many documentaries showing future evolution, such as The Future is Wild and After Man: A Zoology of the Future. This is a prediction of what will happen to the fauna of the world, from various million years from the future. This project might not be believable in your eyes, but such is the nature of speculative evolution and evolution itself.
Five Million Years LaterEdit
The world is gripped by a global ice age. The ice from the poles reach as far south as Paris and, as a result, the climate is similar to the Pleistocene.
It's the dawn of a brand new ice age. Humanity's population has greatly declined over the years, and here are huge existing societies that are surviving pockets of large cities, such as New York or Paris. Intertwined successions of glaciation and heightened volcanic activity have reduced out civilisation to bands of people focused around these megacities and others. Presently, the earth is largely glaciated, similar to the late Pleistocene.
The fauna of this time is fairly similar to that of our present day, but due to the extinction that wiped out many species, several major groups have drastically declined or gone extinct – examples include Proboscidea, forest adapted species in the Amazon, and the largest species of the order Carnivora. For the most part, hoofed mammals have replaced pachyderms, resulting in them evolving to much larger sizes.
Ten Million Years LaterEdit
The earth has finally began to warm in ten million years time, after the ice age that wrecked the world five million years ago. Creatures from the old ages have to adapt to the warmer climate. The human's natural range has reached its maximum, as well as their ecological impact. Earth's climate is generally warming up, it's only now that it has reached a stage that is similar to modern day Earth's climate. With this, animals will face another challenge soon.
Together with the humans thriving, their cities have greatly increased their size, though some cities that're small and less important have turned into hills of falling debris. The Earth's climate at this age is continental, ranging to a never before seen array of habitats. Yet change is in the air - a subtle but sudden increase in volcanic eruptions pours greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the planet begins to warm up to a temperature like today, and the melting ice creates massive, devastating floods in parts of the northern hemisphere.
Due to the time it takes tectonic plates to move, the earth is still very recognisable, but several changes have occurred, such as the beginning of a new subduction zone running southwest of Australia into the south-central Indian Ocean, the flooding of part the East African Rift Valley to form a narrow seaway, and the collision of both Australia and Africa with Eurasia.
The fauna of this time is fairly similar to ours. But the Earth's diversity of lifeforms have increased, specially, the avians and the mammals. Amphibians are recovering rapidly from previous times, and are filling insectivorous and semi-aquatic niches fast. Fishes are thriving, though only a few number of species have changed and evolved into new species, though a number of sub-species have evolved from present day fishes. The reptiles hadn't changed that much, but two groups -- the New Mosasaurs, are thriving and are replacing many marine mammals in the southern hemisphere, though most of the clade's species are restricted in South East Asia and Oceania. In Australia, the ultimate ancestors of the Gubernatoroidea, a lineage of arboreal monitors with long fingers and flexible wrists, have evolved, and are found in forests in Australia and South East Asia, eating small vertebrates.
Thirty-Two Million Years LaterEdit
This time in Earth's history, the collision of Africa and Eurasia, Australia and North America, the full opening of the African Rift Valley to the rest of the ocean, and a flood basalt eruption in central Asia, has caused a significant increase in the levels of volcanic/greenhouse gases, as well as severe climate change, resulting in an extinction event similar to the Permian extinction, albeit on a less destructive scale, with roughly 40-50% of the Earth's species at the time becoming extinct. Casualties include all large mammalian megafauna, all large marine mammals, around 70% of bird species, and ancestral New Mosasaurs.
Forty-Five Million Years LaterEdit
The earth is well into the new age of reptiles, with the Lepidosaurs being the most successful group. Some groups of reptiles include giant endothermic, erect limbed monitor descendants, hyena-like crocodilians and rhino sized lizards. In the skies, the largest things to take to the air since the Wright Brother's first flight now dominate the sky, with some forms even larger than the largest pterosaurs. The seas have been fully conquered by the New Mosasaurs, with only a few aquatic carnivorans and a species of dolphin marking the former dominance of the marine mammals. The African Rift Valley has formed into a large shallow sea, similar to the modern Red Sea, which itself is now a small ocean basin connecting the forming Mediterranean Mountains to the African Rift Ocean. The Atlantic and Southern Ocean are the largest seas at the time, and a new plate boundary has formed along the Atlantic edge of South America, with a separate new boundary running from India to New Zealand, running south of Australia.
Seventy Million Years LaterEdit
The climate at this time is similar to what it was 25 million years earlier, and is slightly warmer than today. The fauna, however, is now quite different. Lepidosaurs dominate, but the groups are much more similar to derived terrestrial archosaurs in metabolic rate and limb morphology, enabling them to become actively efficient predators, much more so than their predecessors, which were still rather generic lizards. Some of these lizards, the Theriosauria, are the largest terrestrial predators of their time in the world. The Aquavaranids fared better than marine mammals, possibly because most were rather poor swimmers compared to marine mammals, restricting them to shelf seas, and pelagic ecosystems fared worse than shelf seas in this extinction. Now, they dominate the oceans, with everything from shark-like predators to giants like the Ryvena. However, the diversification of reptiles in Borealia has produced a rival, the first of a new and advanced marine reptilian lineage, the venenosuchia, have taken to the seas, evolving into the first of a new order, the Halilycosauria. There, some of these very derived venomous squamates are outcompeting the Aquavaranoidea, and are likely to drive them into extinction in the shelf seas they once thrived in.
Snakes, the other great group of squamates, are still rather similar to what they are today, but there are at least a third more species than what exist in the Holocene. Some of these species, like their limbed relatives, are endothermic.
Although they aren't nearly as diverse as the Lepidosaurs, Archosaurs- crocodiles and birds -have remained largely successful, even with the extinction event 38 million years before, with the latter recovering faster than mammals during the rise of reptilian diversity. Even though many groups have gone extinct in the past, birds have begun to regain the diversity they had during the Holocene. Some have even grown large enough to compete with Gubernatoroids, the main aerial creatures, which have started to decline.
The Pacific ocean is now no longer the largest ocean on Earth, with the still growing Atlantic being almost 50% wider than it is today, and the combined Southern/African Rift Ocean covering the southern two fifths of the globe, with Antarctica being an island continent in the South Pacific just south of the latitude and location of modern New Zealand.
The northern supercontinent of Borealia, composed of Eurasia, Africa, Australia and North America, has taken shape mostly in the northern hemisphere, with North America centered on the north pole. South America and Antarctica are isolated, and neither has much of the reptilian diversity of Borealia.
Unless you are part of the team please put your animals and other ideas here; they will be reviewed by a team member (Marcello27, Myotragus, KaptainWombat) soon. Note that more then one member may state their opinion before acceptance, though this isn't necessary. It will be a few days before acceptance for this reason. Accepted suggestions will be deleted after a few days.